Thursday 07 March 2013

Bible Book:

" After Jesus had left that place, he passed along the Sea of Galilee, and he went up the mountain, where he sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the mute, and many others. They put them at his feet, and he cured them, so that the crowd was amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel." (vv. 29-31)

Matthew 15:29-31 Thursday 7 March 2013


The best crowd I've been in was last summer's Paralymic Games. Ihad the opportunity of being in the stadium on the day that DavidWeir won his third gold medal - and the third gold for GreatBritain that evening. It was a noisy, passionate and exhilaratingexperience.

Less enthusiastic crowds are those that I face every morning asI pile onto over-full train carriages on the London Undergroundsystem, hoping to find a small space of solace untouched by anotherhuman being. And on really bad days this is incredibly difficult tofind.

In this passage, we see Jesus surrounded by crowds of people. Heis sat on a mountainside overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Unlikeother retreats Jesus takes up the mountain, this is a business tripof sorts. All around him are people in desperate need; people whoare supported on their journey by carers, friends and family, alllooking for hope and healing.

This crowd responds loudly and passionately as they begin to seeJesus heal one person after the next. We are told that they areamazed and that "they praised the God of Israel" (v. 31). There aretwo things worthy of note here:

  • They praised God. This would have been a very noisy mountainparty.
  • The crowds of people were probably not Jews - they were afterall, praising the God of Israel.

Somewhat unusually for Matthew's Gospel (which is normally seenasbeing a Jewish gospel for Jewish people), it is clearlysignalling that there is an openness and a universality to thepeople God is interested in. Everyone seems to be welcome, nomatter what their ability - and through their encounter with Jesusthey are able to catch enough of a glimpse of the God of Israelthat they are stirred to worship.

To Ponder

  • How do you feel in a crowd?
  • How do you think Jesus might have treated all the people in thecrowd?
  • How do imagine the disciples might have behaved? Why?
  • What miracles have you seen today? What is your response tothis?
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