Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge.
As Head of Department responsible for an optional subject in a secondary school, part of my job is to try and recruit students to study my subject at GCSE and A Level. Obviously, I hope that students have developed an interest in my subject in the lower years, and the quality of the teaching in my department draws them in. I also try to think up various other ways of attracting students, for example I’ve just made a display featuring celebrities who studied my subject, and will also make one showing what sort of jobs people with a degree in my subject go on to get. It’s all honest, truthful and above board, but I will admit that a bit of “selling” goes on to. It would be amazing if large numbers of pupils chose to study my subject. It would be even better if, once they had started, they sat transfixed listening to every word I said. Sadly they don’t.
It is clear in today’s verse that Jesus was different; he did not have to “sell” his message to the crowd; they turned up, probably in their hundreds, to listen to the words of this great man. So many people had turned up on this occasion that in order to be seen, Jesus had to hop into a boat and push off from the bank. In must have been an incredible sight to see all those people on the water’s edge, hanging off every word. And that’s exactly what we should be doing, too; hanging off every word that Jesus says, listening to them, inwardly digesting them, and reflecting on them.
Yet again in Mark’s gospel, we see Jesus placing great importance on his teaching ministry. Let’s ensure today that we listen carefully to what Jesus has to say to us.