So the crowd was divided over Jesus. – John 7:43 (CEB)
When I received today’s prompt, my mind pondered our many crowd colloquialisms:
one of the crowd
beat the crowds
don’t crowd me out
lost in the crowd
away from the crowds
Crowds represent many things to us – some are welcome and some are not. Sometimes, it depends on the situation. There are times I want to be lost in the crowd, but other times I do not. I wrote last year about what is Gospel to me, being seen by Jesus in the crowd…
All of this made me think about Jesus and his crowds. I did a word search, and the Common English Bible yields 88 verse references. I’m sure there are more, because sometimes a pronoun is used rather than Jesus’ name. Like our crowds, Jesus’ crowds represent many things – some welcome, some not.
- Sometimes the crowds brought so many of their sick, that Jesus had to work all day healing and teaching them (c.f. Matthew 12:15, 14:14; Mark 4:1).
- Sometimes, Jesus tried to get away from the crowds (c.f. Matthew 8:18, 14:13; Luke 4:42; John 5:13).
- Sometimes, the crowds are amazed (c.f. Matthew 9:33; Luke 11:14) but sometimes they want to kill him (c.f. Matthew 26:47, 27:20; Mark 15:15; Luke 22:47).
- Sometimes the crowds prevent people from getting to Jesus (c.f. Luke 5:19), but at other times provide cover to allow the outcast to approach (c.f. Luke 8:45).
A crowd by its nature is a fickle thing. It is diverse because of its very nature of being many but also can be of one mind. Maybe it’s appropriate that it was the crowd that followed Jesus. Jesus was the unifying factor even if how people responded to him was anything but unified.A crowd by its nature is a fickle thing: diverse because of its very nature of being many but also can be of one mind. Jesus was the unifying factor even if how people responded to him was anything but unified. Not unlike the Church.… Click To Tweet
And maybe crowd is one way we can describe the Church. We are many (and we certainly don’t all agree) but Jesus is our unifying factor. The reason why we are all here. We are at one time an individual, seen and known by Jesus, while simultaneously one Body, helping other to see and know Jesus.
In case you want to ponder Jesus and the crowd – and perhaps your place in it – here are the places they are found together in the Common English Bible:
Matt 5:1; 7:28; 8:1, 18; 9:23, 25, 33, 36; 11:7; 12:15, 46; 13:10, 34, 36; 14:13–14, 22; 15:10, 32, 39; 17:14; 20:29; 21:11; 23:1; 26:47, 55; 27:17, 20; Mark 2:4, 13; 3:7, 9, 20; 4:1; 5:21, 24, 27, 30; 6:34, 45; 7:14, 33; 8:1, 9, 34; 9:14–15, 25; 10:1, 46; 12:12, 41; 15:15; Luke 4:42; 5:1, 3, 19; 6:17; 7:9, 11, 24; 8:4, 19, 40, 42, 45; 9:18, 37; 11:14, 27, 29; 12:1, 54; 14:25; 19:3, 39; 22:6, 47; 23:27; John 5:13; 6:5, 22, 24; 7:31–32, 43; 8:9; 12:12
It’s Friday! Which means it’s another five-minute prompt. You can find more FMF reflections on crowd here.
2 Thoughts to “crowd”
How easily we forget that Jesus is our, as you say, “unifying factor.” We get so caught up in things that don’t ultimately matter. I think of His prayer in John 17 and all His commands to love…how I hope that we will remember.
It’s interesting to see all the references to crowds and that there were different types of crowds and different responses to Jesus. I love that he can be the unifying factor even between people who are very different if we are willing to lay those differences aside!