His little voice piped up from behind me as we drove to Church. “Why do we have cars?" he asked.
“So we don’t have to walk and we can go lots of places,” was my reply. Even as I said it, I wondered just how far I would be willing to travel without my car – I had a feeling that my world would become rather small.
In Mark’s gospel, we’re told that ‘Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. When they heard about all He was doing, many people came to Him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. Because of the crowd He told His disciples to have a small boat ready for Him, to keep the people from crowding Him. For He had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch Him (3:7-10)’.
Can you imagine this scene? Jesus had simply wanted some downtime, but instead, He’s met by crowds so desperate to touch Him He has to teach them from a boat.
This crowd were not only desperate to touch Him, they were also willing to travel a great distance to be with Him. For example, it was 70 miles from Judea to Galilee – approximately a 2-3 day journey on foot; from Jerusalem, it was 68 miles and from Idumea, approximately 120 miles. The shortest journey was from Tyre, and even that would have taken at least a day. Their journeys would have also taken them through difficult and mountainous terrain and they probably had to carry some of their sick.
As I read these verses, I had to ask myself: how far would I travel to encounter Jesus? And I realised just how often I trade encounter for comfort.
We may not have to walk on foot or carry the sick or press through the crowds, but every day we face obstacles and distractions that seek to deter us from meeting with Jesus. From hearing His words and encountering His life. But oh how He longs for us to press through and reach Him so He can fill us.
What does it look like for you to lay aside comfort and pursue Jesus this week?