When Jesus walked the Earth around 2000 years ago, large crowds followed him. Many came to Jesus because they wanted to be healed of a sickness, and others wanted to hear what this man had to say. If Jesus had not raised the dead, healed the sick, made the blind to see and lame to walk, would he have had as many people following him? I would guess that he would not have had as many followers. Some were looking for healing of some sort while others were curious as to who this man was with his claims that he was the Son of God.
The outward signs manifested by Jesus in using his power were alluring to many, because they had great needs. When those needs were satisfied, some quickly forgot about the healer and the message he had to say. They went about their ways and did not bother to come back and thank him for such a great service done for them. In Luke 17:19 we read about the ten lepers who cried to Jesus at a distance for healing. They could not get close to him for it was forbidden of lepers to be near those who were well because they might have contaminated the healthy. If the lepers had violated this, then the crowds probably would have thrown rocks and stones at them or worse. During this time period, lepers were confined to what some called leper colonies. These colonies were away from the main roads and cities so there would be less chance of the lepers infecting those that were well. Family and friends would lay food out for them at a distance and the lepers would later retrieve that food put before them after the family members were gone.
|Will found the dragonfly's wings on side of the road.|
(Again in Luke 17:19) Jesus healed many individuals of their illnesses, but it was impossible for lepers in that day to get close enough to touch Jesus’ cloak or even to speak to him as the other sick had done. In this one instance, Jesus heard the ten lepers at a far distance hollering at him. They begged for mercy to be made well and that’s what he did, he healed them. In the events recorded in Luke, only one man returned to give thanks and praise to Jesus. Jesus brought this to the attention of the crowd, that this one man was a foreigner and not a Jew, a Samaritan. The disappointment of Jesus was evident, and to the crowd some perhaps were ashamed since it was the other nine who were Jews. The nine lepers who were God’s chosen elect, (Jews) should have recognized Jesus and honored him for what he had done and who he was.
Earlier I spoke of the crowd and why perhaps some of them followed Jesus, some for healing and for others, to watch Jesus manifest his powers. Others that came to Jesus though were hungry, not in the sense of bodily hunger, but spiritual. They were the ones that did not need to see or hear about Jesus’ great powers in order to believe and follow him. Like the ten lepers and of those nine that did not return, I imagine there were many others that were more concerned about their own health and once healed, forgot who it was that healed them. Their concerns only went as far as their own needs and nothing more. Their lives were wrapped up in themselves and they could not be bothered with a conscious.
|Wild daisies that Abby asked me to photograph while|
going for a walk with her last night.
If you had lived during the time that Jesus walked the Earth, which crowd do you think you would have been in? It is easy for us to say that we would have been like the one leper that returned and, we would have followed Jesus for his teachings. Again, it is easy for us to say what we would have done, that is to follow after Jesus.
Perhaps a realistic perspective would be to look at our lives today. Think of the time that you spend in prayer each day. Does it consist of more than talking to God at the dinner table when saying grace? Do we address him only when we have great needs, and perhaps go another way when things are going well? How much time do we talk to Jesus at work or during our leisure periods?
Do we want to know him more by reading his word each day? Do we ask for God’s grace in dealing with our family, fellow workers or for that matter, those that offend us or hurt us? If you can answer yes to all of the above, then I am sure you would have been in the crowd that followed Jesus because you believed he was the Son of God, and that you desired to follow him because you wanted to get to know him better and he you. You would have followed him because you recognized your sinfulness and knew that only the man before you could release you of this unbearable existence.
|Playing house at the Menard's Park yesterday.|
Many times while teaching history, I have heard students say, “If I had lived in that time, I would have done it differently!” But, would we have? We have to examine ourselves honestly and look at our lives today and compare it to those people that walked with Jesus. Which group would you fall into? If it is not the group that you want, then perhaps a change is in order. If you cannot find the strength to make the changes, ask Jesus and he will give you that strength. If you lack the desire, ask Jesus for it and he will give it to you.
In order for our walk to be inline with that of the Savior, we need to follow him with our complete being, not leaving any part of our life vacant without him. When Christ addressed the Christians at Laodicea, he said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in. . .” (Rev. 3:20)
Jesus was addressing Christians, he wanted them to listen to him and learn from him. He did not break down their door, he gently knocked. He waits for us to open the door to our hearts, so that we can give to him those things that keep us from knowing him better, and walking with him in every aspect of our lives.