Matthew 14:34-36 Jesus Heals in Gennesaret
Jesus and His disciples make landfall at Gennesaret, on the edge of the Sea of Galilee. We are not told of Jesus ministering here before but the people had apparently heard of Him and His works. They had a LOT of people that needed ministering to and wanted to make sure each person in need had the opportunity to be healed by Him.
The people on the seashore where Jesus and His disciples landed recognized Him right away. They immediately sent word throughout the entire region that He was there and to bring anyone who was sick to where He could heal them. In Mark’s account of Jesus’ visit here, it appears that He may have been there for some time. Mark 6:56 it says, “wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces”, leading me to believe Jesus went from place to place in this region.
The people also didn’t ask Jesus to stop and minister to each of them but asked that they might simply touch the fringe of His garment. Touching Jesus’ garment was the method of transfer of power that the woman with the issue of blood sought out. I wonder if the people in this region knew her and knew of her healing. If so, did they figure that since it worked for her that it would work for them too? However they chose this method of ministry, Jesus apparently agreed to it.
Did Jesus simply go about His normal daily routine and whoever was within reach was healed or did He walk up and down the places where the sick were brought? What if someone couldn’t reach out? Did Jesus purposely brush them with His garment? Did Jesus stop and have a face to face interaction with any of the sick? Did He teach while He was in that region?
Did the people clamor to get close to Jesus? Did they press in on Him? Did they come to Him in mobs? How did they reach Him and His clothing? On the one hand, I see a scene reminiscent of Christmas shopping and trying to get the last one of some special new item. People screaming and pushing to get to the center of the mob. Yet on the other hand, I see rows and rows of beds laid out with people patiently waiting as the only doctor makes His way up and down the aisles, looking in each face as He provides them with a personal attention and the opportunity to receive the priceless medicine He is freely offering.
Jesus has demonstrated such compassion for the people that I find it difficult to visualize Him doing anything less than healing EVERY person brought out to the marketplace or roadside. I imagine Him intentionally brushing His garment against those who didn’t have the strength or ability to reach out to Him. I can also see the determination of those who brought the sick out in the first place. They probably stayed right with their friend or family member to make sure their sick person’s hand was within reach of Jesus as He passed by. This is the Jesus I assume the people met. This is certainly the one I have met. The loving Jesus who meets the needs of ALL those who seek Him. The One who reaches out to me when I am too weak to reach to Him. The One who sees EVERY need, and responds to each of them.
Lord Jesus, thank You for taking the time to meet the needs of ALL the people who sought You in this region. It was certainly a reverse of what happened in Your own home region. In Nazareth You could do no mighty works because of the people’s unbelief. Here there were so many who believed and so many that needed Your help that they wanted to come up with a way to maximize Your time while in their region. Were they worried that You wouldn’t get to some of the needs before You left? Were they afraid someone would be missed using the standard procedures? They were not taking any chances on anyone missing out on what You had to offer. I wish it was like that today. I wish it was like that in my own family. That my family members recognized You so clearly that they wouldn’t chance missing You or what You had to offer. That they would camp out on the roadside, just waiting for You to pass by.
I want to be that desperate too. Not out of physical need but out of hearts longing. That I would be willing to sit and wait for You to simply pass by, just to get a chance to touch Your garment. To have the opportunity to make eye contact and see You smile at me. To maybe even get to talk to You personally. I know You do these things with me every day. Maybe that is my problem. I expect these interactions so I don’t treasure these times like I should. Each time we meet I want it to be sweet and refreshing. I want to sit still and listen to Your stories, instead of rushing through them to finish the task of writing about them. I want to encounter Your presence in the stories every day. Bring me back to the places of awe. I’m so sorry for spoiling our time with my agenda. Soften my heart again. Re-instill the longing for Your presence. Open my heart AND mind to Your words; not one but BOTH. Thank You for touching me on Your walk today. I truly needed, and still need, it.