Estimated reading time: 5 minute(s)
Do you remember when Jesus had to escape the clutches of his adoring fans? Great crowds of people were attracted to the greatness of this man, and enamored by all his care and loving attention to the downtrodden and otherwise societally ignored. His teaching was so amazingly true and authoritative. It seemed like he really knew what he was saying, far more than any of the other teachers of that day.
And so they wanted to help him succeed. They wanted to increase the scope of his influence. They wanted to make him King.
“Jesus saw that they were ready to take him by force and make him king, so he went higher into the hills alone.” – John 6:15
It had probably been a very exciting day. Crowds gathered to hear what he would say, and see what he would do on this day. What new teachings would be proclaimed today? What amazing healings might be performed this day? The crowd was abuzz with anticipation.
And Jesus did not disappoint.
There is no record of what he taught or really anything that he said on this occasion. It simply says that, “Jesus soon saw a great crowd of people climbing the hill, looking for him.” When he noticed the throngs, he did not stop to share some sage wisdom with them. He did not elevate himself above them and share words of encouragement or chastisement. He simply wanted to feed them.
And feed them he did. We know the story. Two fish and five barley loaves fed 5000 people with 12 baskets to spare! Amazing! Inconceivable! But, it happened. Showing God’s care for our stomachs as well as our souls. It showed that he also provides in huge abundance, not just “what we need”. Everyone had their fill and there were twelve baskets left over!!! Amazing.
But the thing I noticed was what happened afterward.
Though Jesus had made no attempt to bring attention to himself or his healings or his teachings or anything of the sort, that is what the crowd wanted to do. They did not see a loving God caring for and providing for them, they saw a marketing opportunity. And they jumped on it. Probably almost literally.
Jesus noticed that they were ready to “take him by force”. What in the world??! What would possess them to do such a thing? This great teacher who was so gentle and understanding to even the most down and out soul in the crowd, and they felt they needed to use coercive force to make him see things their way?
Crazy. But, we are definitely a little crazy.
They knew Jesus was a “sure thing”, so they were willing to do whatever they could – maybe even whatever it takes – to promote him to the masses. To take him to the next level.
Problem is, he wanted no part of that. None. He left quick when he caught wind of their little scheme.
What was so wrong with it? If someone in the crowd had the power or connections to take him to the next level, why would he not want that? And this was not an isolated event. There is another time or two where the crowd wanted to “make him king” and he quietly slipped away. Why would Jesus not want such a position?
Only thing I can think is the timing, or the motivation.
Recently, a friend of ours had a great idea. She is a linguist, and offered to translate a great book into Spanish. The response she got puzzled me a bit. The author replied, “You should check to see if this is something God is leading you to do, or just a good idea you have.” I wasn’t sure what to think of that. I understand on the surface, and know that it’s great to make sure God is leading. But, who’s to say the great idea was not from God?
So, after wrestling with that a bit, I found myself having a different great idea for that same author. He is now an acquaintance of ours, and just a great, smart guy. I have some expertise in the web design and even audio avenues, and I might be able to take him to the next level. And while I was making these grandiose plans for him, I was stopped by the thought of what he had told my friend.
“Is this from God or just a good idea you have?”
I do not know our author friend’s reasoning behind that question, but when I applied it to my situation, I thought of Jesus escaping the well-intentioned (I think?) crowds who wanted to make him king. Perhaps that was my motivation?
It reminded me of something I had written recently regarding our strange desire to constantly build bigger and better. Not sure the full ramifications of these ideas, but they appear to be linked, and also to not be completely in synch with the heart of God. God destroyed the Babel tower, and Jesus left quick when they tried to make him king.
What is God’s aversion to our plans? Why do our attempts to climb the ladder of success make him cringe? I am very sorry, but I do not have an answer. I am intrigued by the thoughts God has been leading me to, but I still need some wisdom from him.
Until then, I will continue to listen for his voice, and follow his leading in my life. If he asks me to do something big and crazy, then I know it will be great. If I have a great idea, I want to make sure it is his leading, and not just my own crazy idea. It will never work if that’s the case.
What an awesome thing to know that he will lead. That we can listen for his voice and know that the outcome will be great. I am learning that it’s easier than I think. I have always thought that silence meant I was not good at hearing his voice. I think I am learning that sometimes God does not speak. Sometimes he just wants us to wait, and trust. When he speaks, I have always known it. It’s in the silent times that I get restless, and wonder where he is leading.
I will continue to seek his guidance, and I am going to try and rest in his answer, or his silence. I love him, and I know he loves me. So, when my ideas are met with apparent silence, I will wait for his better timing or ideas. I will not try to take him by force and make him king. Nor anyone or anything else that I might feel the urge to increase the scope of their influence.
He doesn’t really need my help with that.
[…] But I keep thinking that the whole President thing gets so blown out of proportion. We treat our president as somewhat of a “king”. (Although, we are glad he’s only “king” for four years at a time, and for a maximum of eight years… except for FDR.) We presume and grant authorities to the Executive Branch that were not intended for one person to have. (There’s just something in us that longs for a king…) […]