Have you ever been in a place where you were a part of a large crowd? Depending on why people are gathering, sometimes crowds can become very unruly. Did you know that trying to move from one place to the other in a crowd of people can be a challenging experience? Sometimes, it is almost impossible to navigate a large crowd. In fact, moving through a large and unruly crowd of people can almost be like trying to get through a brick wall.
I want to share with you my experience with a very large and unruly crowd. When I was about 15 years old, before I had given my heart to God, my friend and I were waiting to get into an event. While we waited, others arrived too, and the number of people continued to increase, causing the crowd to grow larger. As the night progressed, the people in the crowd grew impatient, and the crowd became unruly. It was a little scary. Finally, the vendors opened the doors. But as I began to take a step forward, the momentum and force of the unruly crowd behind me became so intense; my body suddenly lifted from the ground. Sandwiched between bodies of people, as the crowd moved forward, I moved with it, and there was nothing I could do to regain my footing. I floated into the building between people! It all happened so quickly, and I worried that I would suddenly drop, and people would step all over me! As everyone moved to find a seat, I fell on the ground hard, but thank God –I was ok. In this situation, I lost all control, and I was at the crowds’ mercy. A moving crowd can be a powerful force.
Matthew 8:1 teaches us that many people followed Jesus. As He grew in popularity, the crowds also grew bigger and bigger.
“When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.”
The Bible describes this following of Jesus as great multitudes, referring to many, many people. As the word of Jesus’ miracles spread throughout the country, people came from all over to see Him. But not all came looking to know Jesus for themselves or to receive His help. Many just wanted to see Him perform miracles, and the spectators became obstacles in the way of others sincerely wanting Jesus’ help.
A common obstacle shared by those who came sincerely needing help from Jesus was finding a way to overcome the crowd between Him and them. I’ll share a few examples with you. There was a tax collector named Zacchaeus, who climbed a tree to get himself above the crowd. Jesus called him by name, and that man and his family received salvation. In another place, as Jesus passed by, a blind man shouted His name from the side of the crowd, “Jesus of Nazareth!” he yelled, and he caused a great big commotion! But this blind man got Jesus’ attention, and Jesus healed Him! In yet another place, a man who could not walk had friends that loved him so much, they took the roof off the building where Jesus was preaching and lowered him on a cot directly in front of Him. This man was also healed and miraculously walked out of the building that day!
These precious people had a problem they knew only Jesus could solve, and we are no different. Each one of us has needs only Jesus can supply. We have prayers for ourselves and others only Jesus can answer. We have temporal needs that will take a miracle only Jesus can perform.
But today, I will talk about the need to be delivered from a sinful life. When we ask Jesus to forgive our sins by His power, He takes all those sins away from us forever, and He changes our desires so we can freely live a holy life. We call this miracle salvation, and it is a miracle because only Jesus can break the binding power of sin in our lives and keep us from sinning after that. But before we can receive this power from Jesus, we must overcome the crowd that stands in our way to Him. If I may comment here, young people, I want you to know that having a heart full of sin is like having an unruly crowd standing between you and Jesus. And in some cases, it will take some real effort to get past this crowd to Jesus.
Let us look at one woman’s story to see what we can learn about overcoming the crowd in front of us.
25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.
33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
This woman had a plague, and she needed healing that only Jesus could give. Young people, sin is like a horrible plague. It is a problem only Jesus can solve. If there is sin in your life today, Jesus wants to heal you. He wants to take all your sins away and make you whole. But just like this woman, to receive salvation, you will need to press through those things stopping you from reaching Jesus.
The scripture tells us this woman’s issue was with her 12 years, and she spent everything she had to solve the problem, but it did not get better. The issue only became worse, and that is exactly how the plague of sin works. We cannot learn to control sin. Sin in a person’s life only becomes worse. This woman suffered, and she was tired of her situation, but thank God she heard Jesus could solve her problem. I am here to tell you if you have sin in your life, Jesus can solve your problem.
We live in a world today where people are in the same place as this woman. They are spending all they have to find happiness and satisfaction in life, but nothing is working. Many people today are in support groups and therapy because of problems and issues they cannot resolve. And many of these issues are tied to sin. Issues caused by wounds from childhood, and I am not talking about skinned knees, but wounds of the heart, deep emotional pain resulting from traumatic events, the inability to trust others, can be an obstacle or a heart broken by loss or betrayal. These issues often manifest themselves later in life as bad habits or sins, like alcoholism, addiction, and not just to drugs. Anything that is out of balance and used to escape reality in life can be an addiction. These issues can become an unruly crowd for one to press through. But the message here is that if you press with all your might, you can get Jesus’ attention. He wants to use His power to remove your sin and heal your heart. Jesus is the answer for your issue. Unfortunately, many times, there are so many things standing in the way between precious people and Jesus. Sometimes the crowd is so unruly and so dense; that people cannot see Jesus as the solution for their problem. In essence, many have a large and unruly crowd to overcome before they can reach Him. Do you know who or what is in the crowd that keeps you from Jesus? I want to share the things in the crowd that blocked my way to Jesus before He saved me.
My upbringing was in the crowd. My parents raised us Catholic; this meant I had religious beliefs to overcome. I was taught no one could ever stop sinning, and regular confessions of sin were important. So, when I heard the truth, I didn’t think it was possible to live a holy life. This meant the spirit of unbelief also stood in the crowd before me. I didn’t have faith to believe remission of sins was possible. I had to overcome this.
I was young, and High School was difficult for me. Like many young people, I was socially awkward. So, I picked up bad habits and addictions to mask my insecurities so I could have friends. The bad habits only made things worse. I spent all my energy on the wrong things.
Eventually, the promise of love added itself to the crowd in front of me. I spent all that I had left of myself on that promise, and I married a young man that was not good for my life. Unfortunately, the marriage ended in a broken heart. At just twenty-one years old, I began to feel there was nothing good life could offer. But it was my broken heart and the realization I needed a savior that created a path for me to reach Jesus. I left the crowd behind me, and Jesus saved my soul! If you have a broken heart and long for true love in your life, I have good news for you: Jesus is close to the brokenhearted.
“18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
My final thought is to take an example from the woman in Mark chapter 5 and press through the crowd in front of you. You will get Jesus’ attention, and He will respond–just press.
Updated 4/4/2021 SBT