(The gospel writer Mark is speaking to us.)
When Jesus was in Capernaum, he had a good thing going. Because of his teaching and healing, he had become a real hit, a kind of super-star. People came out in droves to see him. But he decided to leave town and go through all the villages of Galilee. And he was just as popular there! He was so popular, in fact, that it would be difficult to enter villages because of the crowds and commotion. So he started staying outside, in deserted places. But they didn’t stay deserted long; the people heard where he was and flocked to him.
But then he decided to leave Galilee. And that struck me as kind of strange. After all, he was packing them in; he had, so to speak, a full church. Why mess with success; why pick up and leave? If your goal were big numbers and popularity, Galilee was the place to be; Galilee was the place to stay! But numbers weren’t the main thing with Jesus. Obedience to God mattered more, and this obedience moved him toward Jerusalem. As we traveled there, we saw a man by the roadside named Bartimaeus. Tomorrow I’ll tell his story.
Lord, teach us that following your way matters more than being popular. Amen.