Experience or Encounter
Read Mark 3:7
The crowd had grown significantly larger, not by the hundreds, but by the thousands. Some say there were tens of thousands, plus others who had traveled a hundred miles or more on foot. There were waves upon waves of people demanding Jesus’ attention. The crowd was crushing in on Jesus to the point that His life was in danger. You get the picture, it was a massive response. They would not be denied having their needs met.
The reality is, the words of Jesus held little attraction for the multitudes. What they wanted to experience, were His miracles that would benefit them personally. They were consumers of Jesus. Also, the Pharisees were looking to experience the defeat of Jesus’ ministry. Ironically, the religiously astute missed it all together. Their ideology got in the way of the knowledge of the living God. The crowds saw it and the clever missed. Both missed that there was much more to the meaning of His ministry than anything they had experienced.
It was an open, honest and intimate disclosure of Jesus Himself. This verse in Mark is here to press home the point that the most important thing about Jesus wasn’t His popularity or His performance, but an obedient acceptance of the way of the cross, which is the way of discipleship. Truly, Jesus attracted crowds and met their needs, but this alone wouldn’t provide an understanding of what it meant to follow Him. Experience is momentary, an encounter is life-altering. Jesus wants to lead us in the way of tenderness, the place where we are so united with His heart, true friendship takes place. A place where He reveals His joy and His will.
Are you a consumer of Jesus or consumed by Jesus?