Despite growing opposition from the religious leaders, we see today that Jesus continues to be very popular with the common people. They are now coming from several regions where Jews lived to see Jesus work. He ministers to these great crowds, healing and driving out demons from the possessed. Yet just being around the work of Christ was not and still is not enough to be saved; we need a personal faith in Jesus that causes us to submit to His Lordship.
The Text (Mark 3:7-12)
7 But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him. 9 So He told His disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him. 10 For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him. 11 And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, “You are the Son of God.” 12 But He sternly warned them that they should not make Him known.
For most of the three years that Jesus spent in public ministry on this earth, He was very popular with the common people. Even on Palm Sunday, just a few days before He was crucified, Jesus was honored by crowds as He rode into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Why did so many people want to see Jesus? It seems like many came to see Him do miracles or to be healed by Him themselves. It must have been incredible to watch lame people walk, blind people see, or mentally afflicted people get set free from demons. Not everyone came to hear His teaching, though the crowds were always amazed once they did here Christ preach. But being amazed with Jesus is not the same thing as coming to a saving faith in Him. Mark tells us that the demons knew that Jesus was the Son of God, yet Jesus did not accept their testimony about them. The demons have the right “head knowledge” about Jesus but they will not be in heaven because they do not worship and love Him as Lord. In the same way, it seems that only a few people from among the great crowds who came out to see Jesus would actually commit themselves to Him as their Lord and Savior.
This passage reminds us that not all who show interest in spiritual activity become true followers of Christ. People can get excited about hearing worship music, testimonies, and preaching without actually being saved. In a Christian school, this is a particularly scary reality. Students can spend years in the presence of God’s work and yet not have their own hearts changed by the gospel. To be sure, a lack of interest in spiritual activity is a strong indicator that a person is lost or backslidden. But just having an interest in spiritual activity is not enough for salvation. Loving Christ is about more than just loving worship services and other spiritual activities. Christ taught that if we love Him, we show it by keeping His commandments. Real faith is proven over time by doing God’s will as it is revealed to us in His Word and by His Spirit. Walking with Christ is a process of daily, faithful obedience. We repent and believe to receive Christ, and then if our salvation is real, we grow in Him over time. As middle school teachers, we are working for Christ hoping to see Him truly formed in all of you. We pray for you all to experience real faith, both now and for the rest of your lives.