Some say Jesus was tried and executed on the cross about this time of year, and there is some evidence this may be true. Tradition also implies that roughly three years before, Jesus began His ministry in Galilee about this time of year. No one really knows for sure.
Mark records the stunning way Jesus burst upon the scene in Galilee. The first three chapters of his book do not describe a gradual increase of His influence. Once His miracles started, great crowds of people from all over the area rushed to see what He was doing and to hear His remarkable teachings. They crammed the streets and lanes of Capernaum around the house where He was staying. “And the whole city had gathered at the door” (1:33). When He left for a few hours of prayer, people tried to find Him. “Everyone is looking for you” (1:37). The crowds became so large, the cities couldn’t contain them. “…Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city but stayed out in unpopulated areas; and they were coming to Him from everywhere” (1:45).
Skeptics point out that popular figures throughout history have also created similar crowds, which does not prove they were reliable or truthful. Who’s to say Jesus was not just fooling gullible fans? Consider the following:
- His miracles came in great varieties.
- No one was beyond His help.
- Everyone was welcome to watch what He did, over and over.
- Most were done in broad daylight, and many at night.
- Critics were unable to derail Him.
- Everything He did was free.
Jesus wasn’t just performing a show to entertain the crowds. He was a principled teacher; all was based on truth. “All the multitude were coming to Him, and He was teaching them” (2:13). His main concern was the salvation of people everywhere. “Let us go somewhere else…in order that I man preach there also; for that is what I came out for” (1:38). He was “moved with compassion” (1:41).
Jesus was not a popular showman and fraud. He was the divine Son of God, the truth itself. His miracles proved it. Let Mark convince you. “We have never seen anything like this” (2:12).
Listen to Him, and follow.
– Tim Johnson