Staying focused when the pressure is on
Mark 10:1 says, “Again crowds gathered to him, and again, as was his custom, he taught them.”
Thinking about “again.” What pressure Jesus faced day after day.
While reading through Mark, I have observed that Jesus never seems to get upset about the press or the demand of the crowds.
- A number of times, it seems the pressure comes when he is planning some time alone with His Father–a “personal retreat day”.
- At times, he responds to the needs before him–he arrives in Capernaum in 2:1 after people had been coming to him from everywhere (1:45) and soon the whole town is at his house and he “preaches the word to them.” (2:2)
- In 3:7, “Jesus went away with his disciples to the sea”, was this a “getting away” trip or a preaching trip? In any case, it becomes a mob pressing against him to get healing and deliverance, such that he has to have a boat ready for his departure if needed (3:9).
- In 3:20, he goes home and there are so many people he is not able to eat. He graciously teaches and deals with the attacks of his enemies.
- In 6:31, he takes the disciples away to a quiet place to “rest a while”. Before they get to this “remote place”, the crowds are already there. What does he do? He feels compassion on them (6:34), teaches them and later feeds the 5000. I am afraid that I would have been irritated and said something unpleasant to the crowds.
- When he is on the mountain alone praying in the night (6:46), he sees the disciples struggling in a storm and goes to them on the water. How did he see them struggling in the middle of the storm? Or was the seeing, figurative language for “knowing” they were struggling. In any case, he appears to leave his prayer time to go rescue the disciples.
- Later, he arrives in Tyre (7:24), where “he did not want anyone to know” BUT, “he was not able to escape notice” and ministers to a gentile woman. His dialogue with her is very interesting! Even though he clearly wanted some “down time”, he was gracious with the woman and delivered her daughter. (7:29)
- After his transfiguration, he and his disciples are met with a crowd of angry and hostile people and yet he is able to focus on the problem at hand (disciples could not cast out a demon) and heals a boy. What strikes me in this section is found in verse 27 when Jesus gently takes the hand of the boy and raises him up. I would have been feeling anything but gentle at that point.
- In Mark 10:1, the crowds gather and once again he teaches them and does with great spiritual wisdom. I am sure he shows love even when he gives a rebuke to those testing him.
Jesus manages to stay focused in the midst of the pressures he faces, caring for the needy, teaching, always having compassion and being gracious. And even when he is interrupted during his “retreat times”, he is able to cope!
I have a lot to learn!!!