That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door.
When I worked in London, I used to sneak out from work occasionally to get myself a coffee from Starbucks. I worked right in the middle of the City, and the nearest Starbucks was the other side of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Tourists were a perennial problem for us City workers as we tried to grab our coffee, so I got quite used to fighting my way through crowds. On one occasion, however, there were substantially more crowds than normal outside St. Paul’s. Being quite nosey, I tried to see what was going on, and was just in time to see the back of the Queen’s head as she walked into the cathedral.
I’m sure the Queen is used to crowds. I’m sure that everywhere she goes she is surrounded by large numbers of people. I guess you get used to it being a Head of State, and a global icon. She has had quite a long time for her fame to spread around the world, after all!
In today’s verses, Jesus is besieged by crowds of people. Here we are, still in the first chapter of Mark’s gospel, and Jesus has barely begun his ministry. Already, however, crowds are gathering. He’s not rich, he’s not a head of state, he certainly hadn’t had years to get himself known, but already people are coming to see this man Jesus. Clearly news that he can heal the sick and cast out demons had spread far and wide, and people had enough faith in him to make the journey to see him. Perhaps some remembered his teaching in the synagogue, where he spoke as one with real authority. I’m sure that many would still have been talking about his baptism, when the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove came upon him, and God himself announced that Jesus was his son with whom he was pleased.
Whatever the draw was, people flocked to see Jesus. He had something that they wanted.
In offering us all eternal life, Jesus has given something that we should all want, that we all need. Are we desperate to catch a glimpse of him? Do we have the confidence to drop what we’re doing and seek him out?