Sundays – First Service 8:45a | Formation Hour 10:10a | Second Service 11:15a

praying bible
Today’s Scripture Reading: Psalm 56, 57, 64, 65; Genesis 41:46-57; I Corinthians 4:8-20; Mark 3:7-19a

Today’s Writer: Kim Henry

What would I do?

In today’s gospel passage (Mark 3: 7-19a),  Jesus has already healed the man with the withered hand in the synagogue.  The Pharisees have confronted Jesus and have started plotting against him.  Jesus and his disciples then withdraw to the Sea of Galilee and a huge crown of people converged to the sea.  People came from as far away as Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, Tyre, and Sidon as well as all the towns and villages surrounding the sea.  Mark 9 tells us that Jesus told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him.

Whenever I read the stories of the gospels my mind is flooded with questions.  I believe each story, parable, word and action of Jesus is packed full of meaning.  I wonder if the people surrounding Jesus represented the full range of human emotion: love, despair, pain, hope, jealousy, anger.  Were there people in the crowd plotting against him or spying for the Pharisees?  How did all those people hear about Jesus?  I wonder if many of them postponed jobs or chores to go hear him speak.  Did they have friends who had been healed by him?  Were they desperate to be healed or had they heard about his teaching?

It fascinates me that in a time in history before automobiles, telephones, internet, and US mail, such large crowds followed Jesus wherever he went.  In the story the people were not numbered but the area mentioned almost covers the whole country of current day Israel.  Some of the towns around the Galilee had as many  as 5000 people.  I am also fascinated about how the Sea of Galilee’s topography is similar to an arena with people sounding on the hillside as Jesus teaches from below on the shore.  Did he lead them there so they could all see and hear?

As I wonder about the feelings, thoughts, and actions of the people in the crowd, I can’t help but examine my own heart.  I have the advantage of knowing how the story plays out.  I know who Jesus is.  I also have the luxury of modern conveniences.  I can learn current news in just a few minutes and appliances to help me prepare meals and do chores quickly.  So why do I struggle to walk just 10 feet to my prayer chair to meet with Jesus some days?  If I had lived around the Sea of Galilee during those times would I have put aside my chores to go listen to him?  What blessings and transformation would I miss if I  didn’t make the right choice?