I was thrown a curveball recently. One of those unexpected moments that leaves you reeling, wondering what to do and where to go from here. So, I did what every good Christian should do. Called a few friends to ask for advice as a drove to my local Christian book store where I proceeded to ask the person working to load me up with books on the topic of my current crisis. I downloaded podcasts, scoured the internet for articles, and read numerous blogs from people who had experienced the same crisis.
I was desperate to have all of my questions answered.
This week I was reading in Mark chapter 4. It’s a familiar passage to me where Jesus begins teaching the people in parables. It said that whenever He taught He used parables “But when He was alone with His disciples, He explained everything”. (Mark 4:34)
I’ve often wondered about this. Why not explain everything to the crowds? Why only the disciples? Is it because He desires intimacy more than information? Because He cares more about our hearts than our minds?
The Pharisees and the crowds often questioned Jesus, but He very rarely answered them. Instead He questioned them in return, or spoke in a parable, or changed the subject entirely. Mathew 13:15 says it’s because their hearts were calloused.They didn’t really want to hear what Jesus had to say. Some wanted signs or wonders. Some were looking to trap or trick Jesus. Some were looking to justify their own decisions. But then there was another group; a group of men who had left their nets and walked away from their boats. Men who left family, and jobs and security to follow Jesus. Men who walked dusty roads with Him, ate every meal with Him, and slept on the hard ground beside Him. These men had many questions for Jesus as well. But their questions were answered. Plainly, directly. Every question that a disciple asked Jesus He answered.
Many people wanted to be around Jesus. “The crowds” they are referred to. They liked the excitement, the spectacle, and the miracles that surrounded Jesus. But only a few followed Him, only a few were changed by being around Him. And aren’t we the same way? We love church. We get all excited about a Beth Moore conference or a Chris Tomlin concert. We love reading and discussing the new book or podcast. We like gathering in coffee shops and talking about the goodness of God.
But we don’t want to get in the boat with Jesus.
We don’t want to follow Him into the lonely places and sit beside the fire with Him. We don’t want to chase and pursue and hold on, forsaking comfort and approval and security to be among those whose questions are answered.
We’d rather be with the crowd than with the Savior.
And yet, Jesus calls us to come away with Him. Invites us into His very presence to sit as His feet and listen to the words of life. Calls to us still, even after we’ve gone looking for answers elsewhere. Even when we’ve love the world more than His word. Even when we’ve ignored Him. Still He calls.
“But when He was alone with His disciples, He explained everything to them.” Mark 4:34
He waits to answer our questions. He waits to give us direction. He waits to explain everything to His disciples.
I don’t want to be “the crowd”. I want to be His disciple. I want to come away, and sit and listen. I want to be like Peter, that even when things get hard, I choose Jesus. He is all the answer I will ever need.
“From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him. ‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life.” John 6:66-68