Mark 6:53-56

When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was.

And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed. Mark 6:53-56

Do you want to know what I see when I imagine this text in my mind? I see a world full of desperate people. Hurting people. Despairing people. And, in that, the world back then looks a whole lot like the world today. If we have the eyes to see.

Jesus had the eyes to see.

Wherever he went, the crowds followed. But these weren’t like the crowds of crazed teenagers chasing down Elvis or the Beatles. These weren’t like the crowds of people filling football stadiums or political rallies. So don’t think for a minute that these crowds were all about the cult of celebrity. They weren’t there to be thrilled or entertained or manipulated or used.

Imagine a father and mother discovering that their child is unconscious in the back yard. They pick her up, rush to the car, and speed to the hospital for help. Now imagine a traffic jam with parents and children all rushing to the same hospital at once. Mark wants us to appreciate that this was the nature of the crowds following Jesus.

The cult of celebrity wasn’t something new to the Roman world which occupied Israel. Leaders constantly tried to out-do whoever had gone before with bigger and more spectacular parades, with evermore horrific violent games. Raw meat to the multitudes. And always, the crowds turned out in force.

The crowds turned out for Jesus too. He saw them. Wherever he went. And in his wake he left people whole.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, often it is so hard to see the brokenness in people. Sometimes because they hide it. Sometimes because we simply can’t or won’t see. Your love heals us from the inside out. Fill us with that love today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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