The Bare Soul - February 22, 2009
Crowd Control

Mark 3:9 - And He told His disciples that a boat should stand ready for Him because of the crowd, so that they would not crowd Him;

We have all experienced the feeling of being jostled and driven through a crowd. It can be unnerving, as a feeling of losing control is every bit a "loss" or deficit in our ability to be our own master of any given situation. As with any type of loss, there can be a number of various emotions -- fear, anger, or mistrust in a variety of degrees. While Jesus never succumbed to any of these emotions in a sinful way, He obviously took steps to minimize or to mitigate the fallout that a pressing crowd might engender. In so doing, He not only took control of the situation at hand but He also instructed His disciples to do likewise for future crowd control. (The disciples with Jesus could not have foreseen nor fathomed that  in the first few weeks after the day of Pentecost the adding of 8000 believers to the Jerusalem church [Acts 2:41; Acts 4:4].)

Mark 3:9 tells of a scene by the seashore in preparation for the Lord's teachings. Jesus could have easily controlled the crowds by a wave of his hand as he stilled the raging sea (see Mark 4:37-39). Yet, He gave His disciples a simple command to avert the need for His interceding in a miraculous way. Jesus Christ was not a conjuror that manipulated the minds of his hearers. (If that was the case, He would have never been murdered as they cried out "Crucify Him".) The Son of God understood the need for order and tranquility on the shores of Galilee. He knew that an excited mob, friendly or not, would only seek to gain control away from Jesus and seize the moment. When the Lord gave the order to His disciples to "stand ready" this was merely Him stating that His time had not yet come and that his power and authority would continue to be evident throughout His short ministry.

While scripture points out that Jesus and His disciples knew how to control the crowds, it is evident that He had a different attitude toward selected individuals that might try to force their way into His presence. On several occasions, Jesus made it clear who were the privileged to "crowd Him". These were souls with an intense need and a determination that would not be turned aside merely because others frowned upon their insistence to reach Jesus. Two such examples are in the fifth chapter of Mark. Jairus, a synagogue official presses through the crowd and throws himself at the feet of our Savior, beseeching Him to come heal his daughter who is near death (Mark 5:21-23). While Jesus is on His way to heal the young girl (and ultimately raise her from the dead), a woman who has suffered from internal bleeding pushes through the crowd to "but touch the hem of His garment" in order to be healed (Mark 5:25-34). These and many others throughout the Gospels are instances where Jesus looked beyond the masses to touch the individual life and heart. What is true in first century Palestine is also true today. Many who seek are defined by the "spirit" in which they seek.

The difference between the masses crowding Him and those who ignored the crowds and sought His presence was simply motive. Jesus fed the five-thousand in John 6, yet afterward they sought Him on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. He responded to them thus: ..."Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled." (John 6:25-26). Of the five-thousand we can surmise that only a remnant pursued Jesus to the other side of Galilee. Whatever the size of these seemingly earnest followers, Jesus saw through their selfish motives and confronted them accordingly. It is not enough to put on a "show" -- to be part of a whole that seeks to "show" their support for the Lord Jesus Christ by following Him over land or water. It is quite another thing to be struck by the lack of godlessness in one's life rather than the lack of provision as was the case with those who sought Him.

Appropriately, we should all ask ourselves: Who am I in this great crowd of souls that is seeking and searching out the Lord? Am I content to merely hear His word, to be sustained for a season on His goodness and then to go my own way? Or, am I like those who might follow the Savior resolutely -- until one day when He confronts me that I have been pursuing Him merely to provision my own life with the good things He gives? Or, am I like those who have come to the end of themselves and have thrown their lives at His feet not caring what the crowd might whisper or voice openly in disdain over my "foolish" abandon to Him. Beloved, Jesus is looking, He's searching and scanning the crowds of those who would attempt to clamor to His throne. Even now, the eyes of our Lord are searching "to and fro" throughout the earth for those whom He might strongly support" (II Chronicles 16:9). To be lost in a sea of "crowd control" is not the heritage for those who seek to press in to Him. On the contrary, He has called us to press through the crowd, humble ourselves before Him and to follow Him wherever He might lead REGARDLESS of the what others might think or say.

Lord, give us hearts of desperate love toward you. Hearts that would defy the masses, that would ignore the crowds of those who look for you in a nominal way. Lord God, help us to press through and to live with humble abandon at Your feet. In Jesus Christ's Precious Name, Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

 

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