JESUS AND THE MOB
In John 7:49 there's this: "This rabble that does not know the law—they're accursed." See.
You have that text and then you have this one, Matthew 14:14, "When he went ashore he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick."
There lies the difference between Jesus and the brass-necked leaders. It isn't the only difference and if you isolate it it's not even the main difference but it is a profound difference.
Jesus saw the mob and when he saw them he felt something and he did something.
In a multitude of 5,000 plus (Matthew 14:21) there must have been a lot of mixed motives, promises unkept, grudges harboured, self-serving, uncleanness and cruelty. Surely there was and if it was there Christ could see it for he knew people. And yet, when he looked, "he had compassion on them and healed their sick." (Matthew 14:14 and 9:36)
Tell me how can I be holy as he is holy? Help me to lift up my eyes and see better, purer, cleaner things. But help me to be holy like him and still look on people with all the marks of unholiness written on their faces and see them as needy people. What a wonder he is that he can look on the sinful and feel what they feel and long to do them good. [Dear God, I need to know this truth is for me. It must be. I can't live withoout it.]
There is a chasm fixed between us and Christ that we cannot bridge; his holiness simply out-distances our most fervent imaginings but is the chasm anywhere wider than it is at this point where he is able to look at sinners this way? It has nothing to do with miraculous power; it has nothing to do with his being able to feed thousands with little or nothing. It has all to do with his unutterable holiness looking on sinners and wanting to do them good, wanting to heal their sick, wanting to lift them out of their gloom and hurt.
So there he stands looking at them with those big eyes of his. Missing nothing! Seeing all! And while knowing and seeing all he feels his huge heart swelling with pity at these sheep without a shepherd. So he healed their sick. I don't doubt that some there looked at him, fevered and crippled children in their arms, chins stuck out in some desperate look of rebellion: "How can you see us like this and not do something about it?" I'm sure others showed their desperation with "please" written all over them. There they were, here we are with our awful needs stark and obvious to his holy eyes, masses of us clamouring for attention. People with little interest in him until our crying needs drive us out of ourselves and away from our useless schemes and shallow prayers. And still he looks, and still he feels compassion and still he offers rich, wise and desperately needed healing.
Holy Christ! Astonishing Christ who makes it forever clear that true holiness isn't a firewall against fellowship; who makes it forever clear that true holiness is love's raging fire that burns down all that would come between us and his Holy Father who sees and feels and does.
And is Matthew 9:36 and 14:14 written there to taunt us? Did that occasion and that crowd exhaust God's good will toward us in Jesus Christ? After that did God say goodbye to the human family? Was it only that crowd he saw as shepherdless sheep, harrassed and in awful need? No, it's written there so we'll know he won't forget us—he's committed to us all and one day all who care that he cares will eternally discover that Matthew's words were for them. Read them and laugh!
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.