Now when Jesus saw the crowd, he ordered his disciples to go over to the other side of the lake. A legal expert came and said to him, “Teacher, I’ll follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens, and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Human One has no place to lay his head.” Another man, one of his disciples, said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead” (Matthew 8:18-22, Common English Bible).
Large crowds seemed to follow Jesus and the disciples wherever they went during the entire Gospel narrative. Some came to seek healing. Who can blame them. If you have been suffering for many years or perhaps your entire life why wouldn’t you come to a man who could fix your problems with only a touch or a spoken word.
Others came for a glimpse of Jesus’ power. We are still a few chapters away (Matthew 14) from Jesus feeding the 5000. But perhaps at least some of those who gathered that day wanted to see what they could get from the miraculous man from Galilee.
Still others came for the show. In an era when entertainment opportunities were very limited, particularly for those without wealth, this was a chance to see someone do great feats. It was time to be amazed.
Others came to learn from this teacher who taught unlike the scribes and keepers of the law. They wanted to hear one who taught with authority. If you are going to listen to someone, wouldn’t it be the one you believed actually knew what he/she was talking about?
When Jesus tells the disciples to go to the other side of the lake, at least in part, it is to get away from the crowds. Think about it. If you are trying to teach a few people how to do something, is it easier to teach with a few people looking on or a large crowd. I think it safe to say the smaller crowd the easier it is to teach. That is the environment Jesus was seeking at the Sea (or Lake depending on your translation) of Galilee.
There were two would-be disciples who weren’t ready for the cost of discipleship. The first is an expert in the law. He tells Jesus he will follow him anywhere. I think that his problem was, he was seeking an easy way to power. He saw himself as Jesus’ number 2. He would be ( in his own mind) a kind of crown prince. Jesus saw through this and essentially turned the man down flat. Jesus was looking for people who would serve, not those seeking their own power.
Jesus still seeks disciples who aren’t looking at him as a source of entertainment. He doesn’t need people who are after whatever power they might get.
What Jesus still needs, what Jesus still calls for is, people who will go to serve. That is our call. That is the call for all of us and throughout all of history.
If Jesus looked at you, what would he see? Would he see a servant?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved