By Dan Puckett
The concept of multitude overwhelms us. We would never desire to be included or considered to be part of a multitude. Multitudes are typically associated with crisis or disaster.
When Jesus Christ walked the earth some 2,000 years ago, He drew the multitudes to Himself.
Jesus burst into public ministry in the Galilee area of Israel. As He preached and taught in the Jewish synagogues, He healed the sick, the crippled, and exercised power over demonic spirits. Jesus was meeting the people at their point of need and soon the rich, the poor, the famous, and the nondescript were finding their way to Him.
The greatest common denominator in humanity is the search for healing in body and soul.
In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 8, verses 1-9, Jesus was being followed by a great multitude. He had been teaching and healing in their midst.
People would come to Jesus and then stay in His presence after their immediate needs were met.
On this day, near the Sea of Galilee, Jesus spoke to His disciples and said, "I have compassion on the multitude." Jesus went on to explain that the crowd had been following Him for three days and had not eaten. Jesus knew that if He sent the people away, some of them would literally pass out from hunger before they arrived home.
Jesus called for an accounting of food among the people. They found seven loaves and a few small fish.
Jesus told the people to sit down. He blessed the loaves and the fish and instructed the disciples to distribute them to the people. The disciples went among the people in faith passing out the food. Whatever vessels they were carrying the food in did not empty until every person had eaten their fill.
When the meal was finished, they picked up seven baskets full of leftover food. Jesus fed 4,000 people that day and then sent them home.
We do not know much about the multitude, but we can imagine that any person who was there was never quite the same after being part of such a miracle.
The compassion Jesus had for the multitude moved Him to action. He could not walk away and continue His ministry in another place without doing everything possible to alleviate the immediate needs of the people.
The world is filled with multitudes, people caught in circumstances from which they cannot extricate themselves. The human spirit ever seeks to be liberated from the bondage of our fallen world. From time to time, champions arise among the people with promises they cannot fulfill, but people in desperation still swarm in their wake seeking relief.
The most powerful liberating force known to man is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who paid our sin debt with His own blood on a cruel cross, has the power to set the prisoner free, even though the prisoner never steps foot out of his cell.
For those who know Jesus Christ as Savior and claim Him as their Lord, there is nothing that can conquer them. Their body may be ravaged with disease, and their soul may be burdened with troubles, but their spirit soars free because they know the One who holds the future and holds all power in His hands.
The only ones who can be truly compassionate are those who know Jesus Christ. Christians must not cloister themselves in isolation and safety, but must pray in faith, believing that prayer moves God.
Christians must also include themselves in the process to bring the gospel to those who need to hear.
Every multitude needs a miracle: the downtrodden, the battered, the abused, and the compulsive addictive.
Let us not write off the multitude; let us believe in the Living God of Heaven who is still working miracles.