“… lest they crush him.” v. 9
It was a crowd control nightmare. Jesus popularity was at a fever pitch. Literally thousands of people from miles around converged on the man from Nazareth. He and his disciples tried to find some rest by the sea, but it wasn’t long before the cries and cheers resounded across the hills. From every direction they came; broken, sick, demonically oppressed men, women and children rushed upon Jesus and his disciples. They all wanted to touch him and be touched by him. Jesus told his disciples to get a boat ready, so he could get out to sea before the waves of humanity stampeded over him. In their desperation and zeal for him they unknowingly became a threat to his physical safety. Jesus had to create some space to keep from being crushed. Sometimes he has to do the same thing today. He has to create some seeming distance to keep from being crushed. Here’s what I mean.
Just as the crowds were so intent on getting something from Jesus, that they threatened to run right over him, like a mall stampede on Black Friday, so we often run right over him to get what we want from him. I don’t know about you, but I frequently find myself running to Jesus with my needs, which is a good thing, but I become so focused on what I want from him that I forget to just be with him. What I need from him has become more important, in my mind, than my need of him. When that happens I run the danger of creating an idol-something that eclipses Jesus. I want healing so badly, that I no longer care for the healer. I want provision to the neglect of the provider. I want eternal life without the giver of life. Jesus loves you too much to allow you to live like that for long. He won’t let you crush him on your way to something else.
This is why he, at times, will be silent, or hard to find. I begin to panic, “Oh lord, where are you? why aren’t you helping me? Why am I not hearing your voice? Why do you seem so distant when I need you the most?” What I don’t realize, is that I have become so desperate about what I need from Jesus that I have begun to trample him in my mad pursuit of his blessings. So he creates some space, to slow me down and get me refocused on him. Are you desperate for the Lord or just for his blessings? Are you running over him on your way to heaven? Preacher, are you so busy trying to wrench a sermon out of his hands for next Sunday that you can’t just sit with him? Many of us enter worship like pre-dawn shoppers on Black Friday. We crash through the door of his temple and start looking for bargains. Never mind the Lord, just give me the goods. I need prayer, a word from the Lord, a miracle, something to pump me up and get me through. So desperate I am for a touch that I threaten to smother his voice. Are you feeling a little distance from the Lord? Are you desperate for a touch? Wondering why he seems far away at your time of need? It just may be that he’s trying to slow you down, and get you focused on him because He is really all you need.