“After leaving them,
he went up on a mountainside to pray”
Everything appeared to be going well. The crowds were flocking to Jesus. However something was disturbing Him.
He had recently sent out the Twelve who had ‘preached that people should repent.’ This was in line with Jesus own message,
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15)
It seemed however that the crowds were more interested in miracles than in salvation. He had just finished feeding the five thousand who had followed Him into ‘a solitary place.’ As soon as He had finished praying and rejoined the disciples the people ‘ran throughout the whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went – into villages, towns or countryside – they placed the sick in the marketplaces.’
The healing of the body was more important than the salvation of the soul. How the Lord must have prayed for wisdom and strength in the face of this overwhelming tide of people surging around Him with their needs. The temptation in the desert to use His powers to satisfy the body would have been very much in His mind. Not long afterwards ‘Jesus left that place.’
Popularity and a flourishing healing ministry are very appealing. However they are the things of this life. Jesus had salvation and eternal life at the forefront of His mind, and He had to ensure that they remained there.
Do I desire popularity and acclaim?
Lord you have good works for me to do. Please help me to be faithful to You and to seek only Your approval. Amen.