Short Meditations in Mark’s Gospel: 199. Seekers?
Mk 10:1 Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.
We, all of us, have mixed motives. Is that why the prophet wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things”? (Jer 17:9) Now I say this because in this verses we have crowds coming to Jesus and him teaching them, and we might assume that the two things are linked by the seeking hearts of the people and I simply wonder if that is true?
Were the crowds flocking to Jesus to hear his teaching or for some other reason? It does seem that whenever they came in large numbers he did teach them, so it must have been something they had come to expect. These are just simple wonderings that I find I have when confronted by such a simple verse, a factual verse with no explanation built into it.
Certainly when Jesus first started teaching, the people had been amazed at the authority with which he spoke and acted (e.g. Mt7:29) and without doubt it is good listening to someone who is able to speak with authority (which is so often lacking even in our own day).
It may have also been true that, as we have noted a number of times in other meditations, the signs were that until John the Baptist came, Israel was at a spiritual low with sickness and demonic activity prevailing, and so the people had a hunger for something different, which is why they seemed to initially flock to John the Baptist and then Jesus. They had been through four hundred years of spiritual darkness since the prophets last spoke and yet still believed that they were God’s people.
Yet I have this slight nagging wonder in the back of my mind. Is that all there was to it? Again, when large crowds came to Jesus he seemed to heal large numbers (if not all) of them, and that particularly seemed to draw people. After the feeding of the five thousand we find, “Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.” (Jn 6:15) That large crowd had realised that here was someone who could look after them, someone with miraculous powers.
So here is my question: did these people come to Jesus, and do we come to Jesus, for what we can get from him, or do we come to him with open seeking hearts that yearns to know and do God’s will and wants Jesus to instruct us and guide us and bring us understanding so that we can more fully walk in that will? Do we come for what we can get to make us feel good by healing us up, or to be brought into God’s goodness through doing His will. Both would be good!