More. It’s something we teach kids from very early on. When I first taught Chrysantha how to sign the word more, she would do it over and over again. I made her sign more before I gave her another piece of food. She quickly caught on how to get more of what she wants. She started signing more when she was playing on the swings and wanted to be pushed again. Wanting more of something is ingrained in us from an early age. We want more food, more toys, more money, more choices, more, more, more. It’s become a right and an expectation to be able to have more.
But, what about Jesus? Do we want more of Him? Do we pursue Him with the same passion and desire that we pursue material things?
I admit that I often fall short in my pursuit of Jesus. I say I want more of Him, but my actions tell a different story. I get caught up in my day to day life and in all of my things. I forget about Jesus and fit Him in when it’s convenient. But, what would it look like to have a life that is in pursuit of Jesus, that says I want more of Him?
The Gospels are full of stories of people pursuing Jesus. People knew there was something special about Him. They had heard the stories of His teachings and the miracles He performed. So people gathered where Jesus was. They went to Him to find out more. In Mark 6, we read about the story of another crowd coming to hear Jesus. But, let’s look at what happens before that.
Mark 6:7 “Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits” verses 12-13 continue to say “They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.”
Jesus sends out his disciples. He gives them authority to do His work. Then they come back and tell him about what they did. Mark 6:30-32 “The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.”
Like the disciples, I need more time spent Connecting with Jesus.
I need to go to a place free of distractions and demands. It’s so easy to get caught up in all of the things that need to be done. Taking care of our families, our work, our ministries, our homes. Those are all important things, and good things. But, we need to get away and connect with Jesus.
How can you spend more time connecting with Jesus? What does that look like in your life?
Let’s continue looking at the story in Mark. Mark 6:33-44 “33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things 35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages[a]! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.” 39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.”
The people were so excited to being able to spend time with Jesus. They followed Him where He went so they could hear Him speak. They kind of got in the way of the plans Jesus had with his disciples. But how does Jesus respond? With compassion. Verse 34 says “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.”
I don’t know about you, but my first response when my plans are ruined is not to have compassion. I need More of Jesus’ Compassion.
Jesus took the time to teach the people that came to Him. He even made sure they had food to eat. The disciples weren’t quite on the same page as Jesus. They thought the people should stop listening to Jesus and go get some food to eat. But Jesus provided for the people so they could stay. Just like the disciples, I struggle with having compassion on others. Why should I have to go out of my way to care for someone else? I need to be more like Jesus in this area.
How can you have more of Jesus’ Compassion? Think of a specific situation now or in the past that needs (or needed) you to have more compassion.
Alright, let’s look at one more passage in Mark. Our story picks up after Jesus sent his disciples in a boat to Bethsaida. Mark 6:53-56 “When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the market places. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.”
The people recognized Jesus’ power. They were sick and hurting. They did whatever they could to get His healing. They knew that even just touching Him would heal them.
I need more of Jesus’ Healing. I want to be like these people that knew the power of Jesus. I forget that Jesus is Healer. I forget that I don’t have to live the way I’m living anymore. When I’m sick, when my body aches, when I’m emotionally and spiritually burnt out, I can call on Jesus for His healing. And just like His disciples, He has given us His authority to heal others.
Do you need Jesus’ Healing today? Have you ever experienced His Healing?
I think we all need more of Jesus in our lives. We need to spend more time connecting with Him, we need to have more of His compassion, and we need more of His healing. We need to be like the people in this passage in Mark that pursued Jesus, that did everything they could to hear Him, to be near Him. When we seek Jesus, He meets us. He is always there. I need to be more intentional about the time I spend with Jesus. I need to really go deeper with him, to build that relationship. When I am spending time with Jesus, then my life reflects it. I have more compassion, I am aware of His work around me, and I can help others to be healed in His name. I am tired of living a life that is not all it can or should be. I’m tired of pursuing earthly things. I want to be like Asaph when he says in Psalm 73:25, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.”
So, do you want more of Jesus?