Mark 3:7-12, “But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea, (8) And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him. (9) And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him. (10) For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues. (11) And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. (12) And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known.”
Often Jesus and the disciples were followed by a multitude of people. Just who were the people following? Many followed Him because of what He could do. Jesus had some character qualities that are conduits, drawing people to Himself. I have had the privilege over the years to labor with some men who have and had some of those characteristics that just bring a following behind them. In the passage, I am reminded of three groups that often are seen following Jesus.
First, we see the committed following Him. These were the disciples like Peter, John, Andrew, and others who followed Him. They answered the call to follow Him. I am even reminded of one such follower named Matthew, a tax collector. He was sitting at the receipt of customs when Jesus approached him about following. Think of that; He was indulging in his addiction (love of money) when the Savior sought him and entreated him to follow. I like that!
Secondly, we see the curious following Him. These were represented by the multitudes. Some of these were just swept up in the moment of miracles being performed. Others were following to ask for a miracle for them or someone they loved. Some of the “curious” crowd will become the “committed” crowd. Don’t overlook them.
Thirdly, I see the condemned following Him. These were they who were of unclean spirits. They knew who Jesus was, but had no desire to be a follower. They would often follow to mock. The condemned crowd today would represent those who persist in their sin and refuse to repent. (Hebrews 10:26) Often you find them mocking those in the crowd wanting to follow Him. (2 Peter 4:3-4)
Friends, where are you in this multitude? Are you a committed, faithful disciple of our Lord? Or, are you just along for the ride and curious? Interested as you may be, you have not desired to change your way of thinking to His ways. Or, have you grown calloused and cold, and choose rather to live in condemnation than in victory?
Curiosity will soon give way to trust or doubt. Which will it be for you today?
Come, every soul by sin oppressed,
There’s mercy with the Lord,
And He will surely give you rest,
By trusting in His word. Refrain: Only trust Him, only trust Him,
Only trust Him now.
He will save you, He will save you,
He will save you now.
John H. Stockton