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April 11, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him.”—Mark 3:7–8 (NKJV)
The effects of God’s Son living and ministering alongside humanity continued to ripple out. If one thing was certain in that place and time, it was that Jesus of Nazareth was worth every effort to see and hear. He was nothing that humanity would have expected yet everything humanity needed. What He said and did all made a seismic impression that endures to this day.
Imagine the buzz in the air, then, as we read about waves of people from every region thronging to be in His presence. Based on the number of followers alone, one would have to say Christ’s ministry was an uncontested success! Yet despite all of this, we need to zoom in and take note of an important detail in all this: “For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him” (Mark 3:10 NKJV).
There was a great following, for sure. But notice the motivation for most of those following was based on what Jesus did. They were prompted by what they heard and saw that He was doing. Those who were in pain and affliction were drawn to Jesus in the hopes that He would heal them. We can’t really blame them for this, and we can’t say that this is a bad thing . . . because it isn’t. The problem; however, is that for the most part their attraction to what Jesus did never progressed past that to who He was.
Although many were healed by the hand of God on that day, the healing was only temporary. Bodies would eventually wear out and perish. But the one form of healing that’s eternal is the spiritual reconciliation between man and God by knowing, trusting, and loving who Jesus is—the Son of God who died for our sins (1 John 5:13). We need to let this truth sink into the deepest depth of our being as the real healing in our lives happens when we desire Jesus for who He is, not for what He does.
That’s a spiritual reality we can’t hear enough because the great temptation in our spiritual sojourn here on the earth is to become preoccupied with the work of Jesus (what He does for us) at the exclusion of focusing on His person. That’s why worship is so important. It keeps us focused on who He is, which is the source of our ultimate healing. And it’s out of our deep love of who He is, as we keep first things first, that we come to trust in what He does in our lives.
PAUSE: What was the major flaw in those who followed after Jesus here?
PRACTICE: Approach worship with a fresh agenda to be preoccupied with who the Lord is.
PRAY: Lord, we ask Your help in keeping first things first. May we always desire You for who You are, not for what You do. Amen.