Jesus went off with his disciples to the sea to get away. But a huge crowd from Galilee trailed after them—also from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, across the Jordan, and around Tyre and Sidon—swarms of people who had heard the reports and had come to see for themselves. He told his disciples to get a boat ready so he wouldn’t be trampled by the crowd. He had healed many people, and now everyone who had something wrong was pushing and shoving to get near and touch him.
–Mark 3:7-10 MSG
I’m just trying to picture swarms of people coming from as far away as 40ish miles. That’s about 3 days of walking depending on strength, endurance, weather, and stops. I bet while they’re walking, thoughts jostle and wrestle around in their heads. Hopes. Desperate measures. Speculations. Nervous excitement. What ifs? “What will it be like to see Jesus? Can he help me? What will my life look like after He’s made everything right? Will the line be long to see Him? What if he doesn’t help me?”
Isn’t it true that when we want something so desperately, we will do just about anything to get it? In all the effort to get what we want; don’t we rehearse what it will be like? Our focus, which may have started out with simple hope and desire, can so easily distort into an emphasis on things coming right. Being made whole. Righting our world. This shift in gaze shifts our desires as well. How Jesus longs for us to know him…love him. How we long for Him to heal us…make our world better.
Take a minute and imagine the scene. Desperate people. Tired people. Fed-up-to-the-gills people. People fighting to find their place, their moment of healing…all wanting a piece of Jesus and His abilities. What piece of Him do I want?
Do pictures come to your mind? What is it like in old Galilee as you imagine it? What’s it been like to field that kind of expectation in your life?
You might want to draw a picture or put marks on a page, or even just colors that represent that kind of cacophony in your world or in Jesus’ world. How do you imagine it? Selah.
Imagine being one of his followers. By now he has many. Some he invited. Some just joined up to see and hear what Jesus did with their own eyes.
Over the noise of the crowd, he catches your eye. “This is getting out of control. Go get a boat ready. We might need to put out into the water.”
How many should the boat hold?
When the crowds clear out late at night and there are still many standing around Jesus waiting to see where he will go next, what do you wonder about? What do you wish for?
ACTION: What will it be like to sit in this open question? What rises in you as you take a small break from the story and just let this part speak?