Thursday, April 26, 2012

Would You Brave the Crowds to See Jesus?

As I have been reading through the Bible, using a new method suggested by a friend, I have attempted to put on my concentration cap and really get something new from scripture.  

One thing that came to me today was that Jesus was a man beleaguered by crowds; multitudes of people, namely!  Everywhere he went there were throngs of people gathered around him.  Some, I'm sure were there out of curiosity (isn't that always the case?) wondering "who is this guy" or what's he going to do this time.  Some were there because they had been waiting and watching for Messiah to come (aren't we doing the same thing now?) and wanted to see for themselves if Jesus measured up to what they had gleaned from scriptures about the Messiah.  Many, many, many of them were there in hopes of an opportunity to reach out and touch this man who had healed so many of so much.

I hate crowds, and I know that my husband hates crowds.  We do just about anything to avoid being in crowds.  Jesus, being a man, surely had to sometimes just wish he had some peace and quiet, don't you think?  He often got up early to go out and pray alone, he often tried to just slip away from the hands that were reaching out to him just to revive himself - to energize himself.   This was a man (yes, He was and is God, but He was also 100% human) who could tell when "power" had gone "out from" him.  Luke 8:43-46 tells the story of the woman with an issue of blood who touched his garment and was healed.  He was so in tune with God's power working within him that if someone touched His garment and was healed; he knew it and felt it.  Keeping abreast of all that energy flowing would be very tiresome. 

Crowds, in an of themselves, are very tiring - at least they are if you're like me and don't care to be in them.  All that shuffling, and pushing and waiting and trying to hang onto your child's hand so he or she doesn't get lost in the melee.  That's enough to make you stay home for a long time! 

But Our Lord and Savior, day in and day out, for three and a half years, went out into the masses to serve and to love and to befriend those who believed in Him and to teach and convict and stand up to those who were against Him.  And it stretches my imagination to think that those who were against Him and were trying to find a reason so that they could kill Him, He LOVED them and died for them, too.

That makes me think about those verses in Romans 5: 7 and 8

Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.  But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Do you know very many "especially good" people?  Luke 18:19 says:
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, [that is], God.

Yet, still, knowing the very heart of men (read John 2:24) that He could not trust anyone, He went out daily amongst them so that they might know Him and His heart for them.  He cared about them then, and He cares about us today.  He took all our wretchedness upon himself and literally "became" sin for us so that we might become the "righteousness of God" when we are "in Him".

I couldn't help but think as I closed my Bible today, that to be in the presence of someone who cared about me that much, someone whose heart was for all men and women; who wanted the best for them and would give everything He had so that they had an opportunity to have that best, well, I would have braved the crowds to see Him, too.

I encourage you to pick up your Bible today if you don't already, and read the New Testament.  Concentrate on Jesus, the things He says and the things He does.  Read slowly and look deeply into what's being said.  You will see His heart there and you will see that the life He wants us to lead is not one that is filled with the day-to-day miserable dog-eat-dog world where we live today.  He is not all about success.  He is not all about having everything you want.  He is not about riches or blessing you with stuff and seeing that you are entertained 24 hours a day.  But He IS all about wanting you to have a life that is rich with love from Him to you and you to others.  He IS all about wanting us to be fulfilled in serving others.  He IS all about redeeming our lives from the gutter and setting us free from the things we are in bondage to.

He IS kind and loving and patient and his peace is one that is hard to understand.  He is good, and He is a Master at teaching us self-control.  (I always longed for self- control until He began to call me to it.  Then I was not so ready to put it into effect.  Self-control is a way cool characteristic to have, though.  When I started listening to Him and exercising self-control, I lost 25 pounds.)   He is ALWAYS about what is best for us.  I pray that you know Him or come to know Him.  One's life is never the same after a true "Come-to-Jesus-Meeting", and for that we can all be thankful.

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