It’s easy in our day to forget just how popular Jesus was. We tend to think that he roamed around from one small village to another telling great stories, and maybe, if we’re feeling generous, performing a healing or miracle.
He did of course travel from village to village, however, he was swarmed by people – why? What did they come to see?
A cursory glance at any of the Gospels reveal that crowds were always after him. Here’s a few excerpts:
- Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him
- Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down
- When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching
- When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him
- When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd
- Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore
- When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns
- Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food
- Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them
- Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there
- The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
- The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
- When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching
- Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples
- Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed
- Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them
- Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses
- …because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him
- …but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing
- Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”
- As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah
- Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said
- Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him
- Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed
As we can see, Jesus was surrounded by throngs of people – even to the point of being crushed. What was he doing that drew such crowds? What was he preaching? Who did he heal, and why?
Jesus planted seeds that are still growing to this day. Crowds still gather in his name. Why? Why does he still have so much influence 2000 years later? No one, not even Rome, the most powerful nation on earth, has lasted as long as Jesus’ ministry. Why?
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson