The Journey

The Journey Readings: Week 149… and… the crowds on the outskirts of the gospel…

This week… reading through Luke… the crowds around Jesus… caught my attention…

He had His twelve… very close…
then there were the seventy-two…
and then there were the crowds…

On their return the apostles told him all that they had done.
And [Jesus] took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida.
When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them
and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing.
Luke 9:10-11 ESV

The crowds reveal something about themselves along the road to Jerusalem…
Jesus’s final walk to the city…

As [Jesus] drew near Jericho, a blind man was sitting
by the roadside begging. And hearing a crowd going by,
he inquired what this meant. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth
is passing by.” And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David,
have mercy on me!” And those who were in front rebuked him,
telling him to be silent. But he cried all the more,
“Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Luke 18:35-39 ESV
Now Jesus had been healing people all throughout His ministry…
and I wonder…
Why did this crowd…? those on the outskirts…? discourage this blind beggar…?

It seems the blind beggar knew Jesus better than those crowded around…
he saw Him for who He was… Son of David… the Messiah…
and cried out for healing…
The crowds… those in the front… on the outskirts…
shushed him… told him to keep quiet…
Why…?
Maybe they had no real need… like the blind beggar…
maybe they missed the whole point of the good news…
Then in Jericho… Jesus invited Himself to dinner…
[Jesus] entered Jericho and was passing through.
And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief
tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who 
Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not,
because he was small of stature. So he ran on ahead
and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him,
for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came
to the place, he looked up and said to him,
“Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay
at your house today.” So he hurried and came down
and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they
all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man
who is a sinner.”
Luke 19:1-7 ESV
They… the crowd… who interfered with Zacchaeus getting to Jesus…
grumbled about Jesus eating with a sinner…
Now I’m thinking… if this crowd really knew Jesus…
they would have known He hangs out with sinners…
He came to seek out and save… those who are lost…
It seems to me… those on the outskirts of the gospel…
know of the miracles… the healings… 
the feeding of thousands with a little…
they know of the hype…
they crowd in…
but they don’t know the heart…
They get in the way of those who truly long for Jesus…
the blind… the sinners…
those who desire healing… and redemption…
they shush and grumble…
And I wonder if there is still a crowd…
on the outskirts of the gospel…
those who come just because…
who think it’s right… and seemly…
but who really know nothing of Jesus…
they’ve never gotten close…
they don’t know of His compassion for the broken…
His mercy and grace for the lost…
and in their noise and activity…
they make it hard for those seeking…
to see Jesus…
I wonder…
are you part of the crowd…?
or a disciple… who is near…?
And I wonder…
what can be done…
to change the heart of the crowd…?


This week’s readings…
Monday                   Luke 20:19 – 21:9
Tuesday                   Luke 21:10 – 22:6
Wednesday              Luke 22:7-46
Thursday                 Luke 22:47 – 23:35
Friday                      Luke 23:36 – 24:12

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