Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. Mark 3, verses 7-10.
It must have been a shock to Jesus to see how people react. Here He was God incarnate, possessing all His power and majesty as the God of the universe yet actively putting that aside to live fully as a real man. So when He sees how crowds are thronging to Him, asking for His help, asking to hear Him speak, He must have been shocked. Do I really mean that the Son of God could be shocked by throngs of humanity? Yes, that’s what I mean. Disappointed, leveled, shocked.
Yet Jesus kept His eye on the ball through all of this. He was overwhelmed by the outpouring of the people, by their needs and their desire for more of what He offered. With so many people crowding Him, Jesus couldn’t effectively minister the way He intended. So he arranged for other practical means to continue with that ministry. Jesus convinced the disciples to have a boat ready so that He could get away from the crowd and speak to them from the water. It would be like a natural microphone, with His voice carrying over the water.
We need to keep our eye on the ball as well. Too often, in my prayers I’m imploring God to do X, Y or Z. Right now, my wife and I are in the process of trying to buy property to plant a vineyard. Many things have to line up for this to happen, and if it does happen, the credit must indeed go to God for making it work. The particular property we’re attempting to buy has everything we could want. So it is that these days I find myself praying for God’s work to do those things so that they go my way. I’m trying to not get my hopes up, to remember that, no matter what happens and no matter how things turn out, God will be active in all of it. Yet I find myself, more and more, acting like one of the crowd pressing on Jesus to do something for them. It becomes too easy for me to lose sight of the fact that He is about more than stuff, more than farms, or vineyards, or qualifying for loans, or my plans. If this plan doesn’t work out, Jesus has others in store for me. That isn’t just some platitude or rationalization: it’s the truth.
Do you think Jesus is shocked by my prayers, or yours, or the attitude of our hearts? In eternity, He is still fully God and fully man. Knowing that, do you think He is aghast that we would want, ask for, or do the things we do? Or do you think He knows us better than that? As one year ends and another begins, let us pray for His peace either way.
Lord, I’ve fallen so short in using the talents you give me. Forgive me for how I neglect all the good You do in my life. Help me to keep my eyes only on You..
Read ahead in Mark 3, verses 7-12.