English Standard Version (ESV)
Jesus Ministers to a Great Multitude17 And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases.And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19 And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: The Popularity and Power of Jesus
There are a lot of people in this crowd who are about to hear the Sermon on the Mount.
First there is "them" - who are, of course, the Apostles, twelve disciples that Jesus has just chosen to be His intimate followers, the ones He would train to take over His ministry and to be His messengers of the gospel.
Then there is also a great crowd of his disciples - students who are wanting to learn from Jesus. And it's a mixed group - there's brand new believers, there's superficial believers who don't end up taking the full step into salvation, there's those who have been believers for a little longer already, there's some who are already beginning to become negative about Jesus and His message and who will soon desert Him. There is a mixture of wheat and tares here, and there are a lot of them, a great crowd.
And then there is another group - the curious, the uncommitted - a great multitude of people. And they came from everywhere. Everywhere! From Jerusalem, the very heart of Judaism, throughout all Judea, and even as far as Tyre and Sidon - Gentiles from Phoenicia. This is a long journey. Just the distance from the northern border of Galilee to the southern border of Judea is 160+ miles. And they did not have cars. That is a long way to walk! You likely literally had towns shutting down, businesses closing their doors as the throngs of people came to see Jesus. It's incredible when you realize what this seemingly simple statement is actually saying!
We know from the story of the feeding of the five thousand men plus women/children that there was probably 20,000-30,000 people there at that time. These are huge huge crowds!
What drew them all to Jesus? Simply, His power.
Before Jesus sits down to teach, He heals the people and casts out demons. Check that - He doesn't just heal people, He heals ALL the people. Isn't that amazing? He heals them all. Everyone that was sick, was healed. No wonder He was drawing crowds in the tens of thousands!
He preached divine truth. He healed the physical body. He healed the spiritually body. Amazing power, and something only God could do.
MacArthur points out.....
this is a preview of what heaven is going to be and it proves to us that He is the Lord of heaven, that He is the God of very God, that He is the Savior and Redeemer who can and will give us a perfect mind, a perfect body and a perfect soul. Right? Isn't that what heaven is? And we long for that, don't we? We long for the day when we have a clear, perfect, pure mind and we know the truth of God and is uncluttered with confusion and ignorance and sin. We long for the day when all of the infirmities of the body are gone. We long for the day when all the torturous problems of the soul and all the threats and temptations of Satan are forever banished. Jesus said, "Look, I can do that. I can bring the truth to your mind and give you a perfect mind. I can bring wholeness to your body and give you a glorified body with no infirmity, no sorrow, no sadness, no sickness, no dying. And I can take your soul and I can make it pure and free from any evil influence. This is what He does. This is what salvation is. And that full cleansing doesn't happen till we go to glory, but we're already in the process, aren't we?It also shows us how compassionate God is. I...I've said this before, if Jesus wanted to prove that He was God, He could have done a lot...there are a lot of things. He could of just stood there and gone up in the air about 50 feet and spun around like a helicopter, done some magic tricks and created a tree and created an animal and boom-bang and done some pretty startling things. Why this? Why...why does He deal with people's confusion? Why does He deal with people's infirmity? Why does He deal with people's possession? Because the heart of God is compassionate. And if He's going to put His power on display, behind it is going to be the love and compassion of God. And He's saying to the sinner, "I'm not doing things for My sake, I'm here to do things for your sake." And the whole of salvation is to make you what you can be by His grace. This is our Christ. No wonder verse 19 says, "The people were trying to touch Him." There was a stampede here. Why were they trying to touch Him?.... because the power was coming out of Him for all of this, they were flooding into His presence. No wonder He was popular. And verse 19 ends, "And He was healing them all." This is an incredible display.
You want to ask who Jesus is? Here's your answer. Only God can do this. Only God the creator who created man in the first place can create a perfect man and a perfect body and a perfect soul. And that is what salvation does ultimately. That's where we're going. He proves it here.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 6:20-26
I love this post. "... He is the Savior and Redeemer who can and will give us a perfect, mind, a perfect body and a perfect soul."
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