We are going to join Jesus in the region surrounding Gennesaret. The town of Gennesaret is about three miles from Capernaum. Jesus’ fame had easily reached there. He was even recognized on sight. Let’s join Him as He moves through this region.
The first thing that I noticed, after reading the passage a couple of times, is that Jesus only landed in Gennesaret. He moved about from there. I don’t know how far He went from this town on this particular trip. Mark lists villages, cities and countryside’s as locations Jesus visited. I’m curious what other locations asked Jesus to touch people in the way He does in today’s reading.
Jesus and His disciples have been sailing back and forth across the Sea of Galilee. We are not always told where they land. This is a little frustrating to me because I want to know those details so I can make a map in my mind of where He did what. I keep digging and am not finding locations for a lot of Jesus miracles. I guess we know another bench question I will be bringing up someday.
Today we are given a starting point. The people at this starting point have heard so much about Jesus that they are ripe for what He has to offer. They aren’t the least bit worried that He won’t be able to heal anyone. I’m going to venture to guess that they have also either heard the story about the woman with the issue of blood who touched Jesus’ garments or met the woman herself.
It amazes me that her faith most likely gave rise to the people in this area believing that their sick could be healed simply by touching Jesus’ clothes. Because of her faith and the result of that faith, she engendered faith in others. So much so that, when Jesus landed people ran about the whole area gathering the sick to bring to where they could touch Him.
This ministry trip must have lasted a while because the people were able to get Jesus’ itinerary and bring the sick people to where He was going to be next. Wherever He went, they asked that He would also pass through the marketplace. Here was where they assembled the sick. And Jesus visited each marketplace. I would not be surprised to learn that he walked between every bed to give every person the opportunity to reach out and touch Him. I can just hear the ripples and waves of praise that follow in His path and the pleas of “over here too please” preceding Him. Talk about a noisy environment!
Something else that struck me about this story is that the people came up with the “formula” for their healing. I’m certain they chose this method because they knew it would work and probably also because they figured it would get more people to Jesus that the one at a time line could. But Jesus healed in so many different ways. One time He spit in the dirt and made mud. Many times He reached out and touched the person. Sometimes He simply spoke to the person or to their representative. He didn’t have a standard way of ministering healing.
More wonderful than Jesus’ multiple ways or avenues of healing people, is His willingness to meet those in need at the point of their faith. With the woman and these people it was by letting them touch Him. For the centurion, it was by speaking a long distance word. For the father with the child with epilepsy, it was at “help my unbelief.” For the man let down through the roof, it was “take up your bed and walk.” Jesus didn’t require uniform faith any more than He insisted on uniform ministry. There were no recipes to ensure healing then or now. There is only faith and a relationship with Jesus.
Sometimes I wish there was a recipe so I could know that if I followed it, Jesus would indeed do exactly as I wanted. I think this was the main focus for the faith movement back in the 70s and 80s. I tried to “work the program” so many times but I always feel short somewhere. I think a lot of the “somewhere” that many fell short on was expecting a recipe to replace relationship. There was no room in the recipe for God’s personal input. “You said in Your word if I do/say X, You have to respond with Y.” But what about when “Y” is not what is best for you? What about when I can’t live up to ALL that “X” entails? Does that mean that I will never get “Y?” This is where and why relationship trumps recipe.
I’m sorry if I offended anyone with my personal opinion. I suffered a lot with this when I was younger and still have to deal with it now and then.
Jesus, thank You that You accept me where I am, warts and all. Thank You that You meet me at the point of my need and my faith. I may not move mountains but I know I can touch Your heart. Thank You for the witness of other’s faith so it can build my own. That is a major reason to share our testimony. To say, “Look what Jesus did for me. If He can and will do this for me then I know He can and will do it for you too.” Believing You care for each of us is the first step in receiving anything from You, including salvation. Thank You for sharing Your stories so I can know this foundational truth in my life.
Don’t let me give up on believing just because You don’t meet my needs the same way You have met other’s need. You never called me to be them. You designed my path and have my needs well in hand. I have to learn the difference too between needs and wants. Sometimes I want too much. Help me set aside any wants that don’t line up with Your word and Your plans for me.