"Coming down off the mountain with them, He stood on a plain surrounded by disciples and was soon joined by a huge congregation from all over Judea and Jerusalem, even from the seaside towns of Tyre and Sidon. They had come both to hear Him and to be cured of their ailments. Those disturbed by evil spirits were healed. Everyone was trying to touch Him -- so much energy surging from Him, so many people healed!" Luke 6:17-19 (The Message).
Imagine the scene: Jesus had been up the mountain all night -- praying, seeking His Father's wisdom and guidance for the choice of disciples who would best follow Him and become like Him so that they could learn and bind His yoke on people wherever they went and do what He was doing and even more. And who did He choose? Simon Peter, James, John...and Judas Iscariot!
Now He comes down, having decided exactly who would form His band of followers, and He is met by a crowd of would-be disciples and people from the length and breadth of Judea and even farther afield -Tyre and Sidon, Gentiles from Phoenicia -- Jezebel's territory! What were they doing there? Sicknesses, diseases, demons...they were as much in need of Jesus as were His own people. They came for help and they knew where they could get it.
Jesus was electric with power. Why? Was there something about that crowd that charged Him with energy to heal and deliver? We learned earlier that the people of His own hometown of Nazareth rejected Him -- even tried to kill Him. When He returned some time later, He was powerless to do miracles there because of their unbelief.
So vibrant was the atmosphere in this gathering that Luke commented on it. Power flowed from Him like electricity from a generator and just a touch brought healing and relief to their troubled minds and bodies. What was the difference between these people and the people of Nazareth? They were not concerned about His pedigree or lack of it. His presence brought help and they grabbed it with both hands.
To the villagers of Nazareth He was just a local kid, Joseph and Mary's son, no big deal. He had grown up in front of them and they thought they knew who He was. Were they aware that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit? They thought He was Mary's illegitimate son, a bastard who had no right to be running around teaching about God as though He were somebody special.
But to the people who were thronging Him and clamouring for His help, He was a rabbi, a prophet with unusual power and an unusual connection with God. They were not concerned about His pedigree, or who His parents were or what His father did. They were full of faith and expectation that He could and would heal them and their hopes were not disappointed.
"Then He spoke: 'You are blessed when you're ravenously hungry. Then you're ready for the Messianic meal'" Luke 6:20 (The Message).
Healing and deliverance were never the be-all and end-all of Jesus' ministry. As much as they were acts of mercy and compassion to relieve people's suffering, they were also a foretaste of what God's kingdom was about -- the restoration of all things. It was as important to minister to their hearts as to their bodies. He wanted them to understand that God had a destiny for them much bigger than comfortable lives in the here-and-now.
If we understand this from a Hebraic mind, Jesus was not talking about food; He was talking about having an appetite for God and His truth. God's promise has always been that He will respond to those who sincerely seek after Him. "He is the rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him." Hebrews 11:6. Really living was much more than not being sick or crippled or demon-possessed. It was about being God's sons and daughters in a family that loves and takes care of one another.
You can be a part of it too! It depends on how hungry you are.
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