7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. 8 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. 9 Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. 10 For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. 11 Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 But he gave them strict orders not to tell others about him.
By this time in his ministry, Jesus is being followed everywhere he goes by large crowds of people, some of whom have travelled from many different regions to see Him. The crowds were there because they had heard of the different things Jesus was doing – healing the sick, delivering people from evil spirits, and challenging the laws of the Pharisees. Jesus’ reputation had preceded him, and so the people did not care about who he was or his title (at this point he would have been known mainly as the son of a carpenter). Rather the people were interested in what he was doing, and how Jesus could impact their own lives. They wanted to be healed, to be delivered, to experience Jesus for themselves. Jesus was not interested in boosting his own popularity or manipulating the needs of others for his own self-importance. Rather he showed compassion and even humility in his dealings with the people, while still displaying his God-given power.
This is not unlike the people who we are surrounded by everyday, who all have different needs of their own. As Christians we are the hands & feet of Jesus. The same power that was in Jesus is in us today. Are we able to respond to the needs of those around us the same way that Jesus did? Forgetting our own need for title, or self-importance, and showing compassion and humility to those around us? Are we living in a manner that allows our reputation as followers of Christ to precede us? May we continue to look to the example Jesus has set for us, that we too may love people as Jesus does.
Jesus, thank you that you have provided a perfect example for us in every way. Help us to respond to the needs of those around us in the same compassionate & authentic way that you have, and may we have a reputation as people who reflect your love.
Written by Madelaine Tarasenko