Check out Luke 4: Jesus had lots of big speaking engagements. He was “praised by all.” “All were speaking well of Him.” And then He essentially pokes His whole fan club in the eye: I’m only picking one or two of you sorry people. (Luke 4:24-27). And with that comment, “fan club” becomes “rage club” and they tried to throw Him off a cliff. But He passed through their midst and went His way.
Then there was another crowd that was amazed. And He got up and left.
And then a crowd followed Him to Simon’s home. He spent the evening healing them. Then He snuck off to a secluded place.
The crowds kept on pursuing Him, and “tried to keep Him from going away from them,” but He left and kept on preaching.
It then says He would “often slip away to the wilderness and pray.”
Seems like Jesus was more interested in ditching the crowds than pursuing them. What big-time, apostolic, ministry preacher/teacher has time to “often” slip away? Or, for that matter, what small-time, local church pastor has that kind of time?
Could you imagine some Francis Chan or Joyce Meyer type standing before thousands and saying something as offensive as “only one of you people matters to me”? So much for your world-renowned public speaking tour, your influence, your success…
The crowds found Him, despite His efforts to hide or manage the PR buzz. He’d show up pretty consistently in the synagogue to teach, and then disappear.
Makes me think about the things I value and am pursuing. Right now, I’ve got a lot of ability to slip away and pray. I mean, it’s not like crowds are following me, begging me not to leave them. But, candidly, I’d like them to. Reading this section of scripture highlighted for me that my secret dream (circuit tour, speaking engagements galore, fan club, etc.) really runs counter to Jesus’ secret dream (peace, quiet, seclusion, prayer). Hmm.
It’s not that He didn’t speak, teach, preach. It’s not that He lacked influence. It’s not He was unsuccessful. But He didn’t seem to pursue or seek these things. They just happened. And He seems to accept the crowds and fan clubs as a vocational hazard — almost like “one of the downsides of being the Messiah is all these crowds; I’d really just rather be anonymous and have time with my Dad again.”
Makes me think. Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you… Maybe my heart should be more set on spending time with Jesus than on working for Him?
And how does this align with God giving us the desires of our heart?