When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard He was. And wherever He went — into villages, towns or countryside — they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged Him to let them touch even the edge of His cloak, and all who touched it were healed. (Mark 6:53-56, NIV)
- - - - -
This story happens right after Jesus and Peter walked on water together. They pull up to shore and everyone knows who He is.
I wonder if any along the shore were able to witness the miracle that had happened out at sea. Regardless, they recognized Jesus and knew that He was a Healer. I love that they knew Him. His renown was so wide they didn’t even stop to ask or confirm, they immediately went to find those they knew that needed His help.
Jesus had proven Himself to be trustworthy and available. The crowds believed in His ability and in His willingness to see anyone, regardless of the disease. Jesus was not afraid to touch lepers or to free the demon-possessed. They had heard that He had done it all! So whatever the ailment or wherever He was, they came close.
The people also believed greatly in His power. Perhaps they had heard the story of the bleeding woman. All they asked was for the sick to be able to touch His cloak. Their faith in His power had been solidified through the many stories they heard of His miracles.
Though Jesus did not stay in the place very long, we read that wherever He went across that region people followed and brought their sick. Even as He was “passing through,” He performed miracles. He knew that even just a little time spent with someone was worth it. Jesus did not waste His opportunities to show the mercy of God to the people.
I find it curious, however, that it is not recorded that Jesus spent time teaching them during this set of miracles.
From what we can tell through this passage, people came for their healing and left. And Jesus didn’t mind. The people did not care that He was the Son of God. And they were not looking for reconciliation with God.
But regardless of their intent, Jesus allowed His power to flow out and heal those who came in contact with Him.
So what can we learn from this small and yet powerful passage?
1. People will recognize Jesus. They may not know what it is, but when we are living in the power of Christ, others can tell there is something peculiar about us. It is our responsibility to make known His power so others will come looking for it. We must speak and act authentically, leading those around us to a correct understanding of who Jesus is.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere…Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God. (2 Corinthians 2:14;17, NIV)
2. We need to believe in His miraculous power as the crowds did. We don’t seem to believe in miracles very much anymore. We don’t trust that just an ounce of faith can change reality. These people just wanted to touch His cloak. Just an encounter with Jesus can transform our lives. Just as we were able to meet Him, we owe it to others to give them the opportunity to experience Him, trusting that He can transform.
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us this very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Peter 1:3-4, NIV)
3. Make the most of every opportunity. Jesus did not stay in Gennesaret very long. But He chose to use His time there to show God’s mercy. Many times, we find ourselves not wanting to help someone because we don’t think we have enough time to make a difference. Someone at the grocery store or in a restaurant. Someone at a camp or retreat that we won’t see again. We limit the power of Christ when we think that little time produces little change.
Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. (Colossians 4:5, NIV)
4. Jesus met the needs of those who were not interested in His true healing. He knew they were not coming with repentant hearts seeking forgiveness. They simply wanted something from Him. Though He did not always do this, here, He freely gave without asking of their faith in God and Who He was.
Sometimes we don’t meet the needs of others because we know they will not change the habits that created their situation. We don’t want to be taken advantage of. But meeting physical needs are such a beautiful way to share Christ. It can open a door in the future.
Later on in chapter 7 of Matthew, Jesus taught a crowd before leaving for the next region. It’s possible that some of those He had healed may have wanted to listen to what He had to say. It’s our responsibility to be the hands and feet of Jesus, even if it may not seem worth it at first. We can’t know what eternal impact a simple act could do.
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to the, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 1:15-17, NIV)
We pray that these small principles will change your week. If you enjoyed today's devotion, please help us by sharing it with others! As always, pick up the printed version today at our online shop.
Kate, Declare Glory