As the Jewish leaders plotted His death, Jesus withdrew to a presumably remote part of Lake Galilee (Mark 3:7). While the leaders may not have been up to pursuing Him at this time, the people of the area were—although for completely different reasons. Then, when news spread about “all He was doing” (v. 8), more people from other areas came as well. The crowd was large, and they were “pushing forward to touch Him” because He had “healed many” (v. 10). The unclean spirits possessing some were confessing that He was the Son of God, but Jesus forbid them from speaking further.
It was quite a scene.
Whatever else it shows, there were a large number of people who were reaching out to Jesus. Many of them needed healing from sickness, disease, or possession of an evil spirit, but certainly not all and probably not even the majority of them. No, they were there simply because Jesus was and there was something absolutely compelling about Him. Most of them didn’t know what they needed, but that was okay—Jesus did. He ministered to them through His healing and though it isn’t explicitly mentioned in the text, through teaching (see 1:14-15, 38-39).
He cared for them.
Jesus did that because that’s what God does—He cares for people—all people. In Matthew’s account of this event, he calls in Isaiah’s words, “A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out” (12:20/Isaiah 42:3). Bruised reeds were unreliable—you couldn’t trust your weight to them. Smoldering wicks were an irritation. That’s what these people, especially those in need of healing and the demon possessed, were to many people—bruised reeds and smoking wicks. They were nothing more than burdens and irritants. But Jesus would have nothing to do with measuring the worth of a person by their wellness (which is a sickness all its own). He loved and cared for every person in that crowd.
This makes us feel all warm and cozy inside and there’s nothing wrong with that and plenty that is right. Still, God’s care is a truth that needs to be developed past this point. He cares for us in ways we can appreciate, but also in ways we are (at least at the present time), unable to appreciate. His care is not the overly doting kind that spoils us and enables us to be something less than what He has in mind. His care is more like that of a parent or special teacher—He cares about us to the point that He doesn’t want us to settle for less than what He calls us to be. He sees in us things we don’t see in ourselves and pushes us to be that. More than that, He will give of Himself to make it happen.
Maria Andrejczyk is an Olympic javelin thrower from Poland. She competed in the 2016 Olympics but did not medal. She later had shoulder surgery but then was diagnosed with bone cancer, which led to more surgery. She recovered and competed in the games in 2021, winning a silver medal. Shortly after this, she heard about an eight-month-old Polish boy, Miłoszek Małysa, who had a heart defect that required surgery but his parents were unable to pay for it. She decided to auction off her medal to raise money for Miloszek’s operation. She said, “This silver can save lives instead of collecting dust.” Her medal was sold for $125,000. Miloszek was able to have the surgery and is doing well.
That’s the way God cares for us through Jesus. Like young Miloszek, on our own we were helpless and hopeless. But at great cost to Himself, God intervened and sent Jesus to die for our sins and through Him we now have life. And He continues to provide and care for us (see Romans 8:31ff), because that’s what God does.