Summary: Don’t crowd Jesus only when you have a need. Instead, answer His call to be with Him, to preach, and to have power.
Several years ago, on New Year's Day, a beautiful float in the Tournament of Roses parade suddenly sputtered and quit. It was out of gas. The whole parade was held up until someone could get a can of gas. The amusing thing was this float represented the Standard Oil Company. With its vast oil resources, its truck was out of gas. (Steve Blankenship, Edmond, Oklahoma, Leadership, Vol. 6, no. 1)
For me, that truck describes a lot of Christians. They have vast resources in Christ, but more often than not they find themselves “out of gas.” How about you? Do you find yourself “out of gas” these days? Do you find yourself powerless to do what you know God wants you to do? Then I invite you to turn with me to Mark 3, Mark 3, where we discover how to connect to Christ in such a way that His power flows through us.
Mark 3:7-10 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. When they heard 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 (or restricting him). For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. (NIV)
There were a lot of people crowding Jesus that day, but they were not really interested in getting to know Him. They were only interested in what they could get from Him. They only wanted to be healed of their diseases. Jesus, as the healer and miracle worker, was very popular, but Jesus wasn’t interested in popularity.
Mark 3:11-12 Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was. (NIV)
Again, these demons tried to control Jesus and strip him of his power, because they believed that calling a person by his true name grants mastery over that person. But Jesus did not allow them to continue their useless babble. His sovereign word of rebuke rendered the demons powerless and kept them from popularizing His name.
You see, even though Jesus was attracting great crowds, He didn’t come to be popular, because it was restrictive to His true purpose. He didn’t come to BE served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
Even so, when the crowds were crowding Him for selfish reasons, Jesus still healed them. Jesus still cast out their demons. Jesus still cared for them. And there are people who “crowd” Jesus today. As a healer and miracle worker, Jesus is still quite popular.
Some time ago (March 2009), Dutch artist Johan van der Dong decided God needed a telephone number. So, he got him one, a cell phone number to be exact—to show that God was “available anywhere and anytime.” In an interview, Dong said, “In earlier times you would go to a church to say a prayer. Now [you] just make a phone call and say your prayer in a modern way.”
Do you know, within one week, over 1,000 people left God a message!
The only problem is, when you call the number, you get a recorded message: “This is the voice of God. I am not able to speak to you at the moment, but please leave a message.” That doesn't exactly communicate the idea of a God who is “available anywhere and anytime,” does it? The only thing Dong has managed to do is connect people to an altogether disconnected God. (Reuters, “Leave God a message at his Dutch answering service,” www.reuters.com, 3-2-09; www.PreachingToday.com)
That’s not at all like our Lord Jesus Christ. For even when we come to him for selfish reasons, even when we crowd Him, He still heals our hurts and casts out our demons.
Jesus cares for the crowd, but I want something more. I’m not content just to get some of my needs met. I’m not content just to meet with Jesus on a Sunday morning and feel good after leaving the place worship. I want Christ’s power flowing through me the whole week! I want Christ’s power to do God’s will and to fulfill God’s calling on my entire life. Isn’t that what you want? Then…
DON’T CROWD JESUS.
Don’t come to him just when you have a need. Don’t pressure him just for your own selfish reasons, because that’s not where the real power is. Instead…
ANSWER HIS CALL.
Respond to his invitation. Commit yourself to His will for the rest of your life. For while Jesus cares for the many, He calls only a few to a special relationship with Himself.