So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Michael Jackson died recently. He had been a pop icon for many years, and was renowned around the world for his skill as a songwriter and singer, not to mention his dancing. I remember one of my friends at school, Howard, used to be a massive fan of Michael Jackson, and would moonwalk from one lesson to the next. Howard is now something of a celebrity himself, having appeared on both the big and the small screen on many occasions. I’m sure he won’t mind me saying that he has yet to reach the fame of Michael Jackson, however!
Everywhere Michael Jackson went, he was followed by crowds. On one memorable occasion, huge crowds had appeared outside the hotel where he was staying, and he dangled his baby out of the window to show his fans. Even in death, Jackson is massively famous; not a week seems to pass when he isn’t in the papers and on the news. Everyone is desperate to hear the latest about this iconic man.
First century Palestine had a somewhat different outlook on fame; they didn’t have the same kind of celebrities that we have in the twenty-first century. One man who very quickly became very famous, however, was the Nazerene Jesus. This carpenter had somehow developed a massive following, no doubt as a consequence of his miracles, but also as a result of his preaching. Mark has already told us that people were astonished by Jesus’ teaching. Now, a short time later, huge crowds have appeared to see him. And what does he do? He preaches the word to them. He recognizes that he has an amazing opportunity, with so many people gathered around, and takes full use of it to tell people of God’s love for them, and how they should respond.
Clearly this Jesus character is something rather special. There are two important messages for us here, I think. First of all, imagine that you are in the crowd. Will you listen carefully to what Jesus has to say? Will you study his words carefully, as recorded for us in the Bible? How will you respond to what Jesus has to say? Now imagine that you are Jesus in these verses. Will you take advantage of every opportunity to preach God’s word? Will you tell all those you encounter about God’s love for them?