This week’s passage indicates that massive crowds came from far and wide to see and hear Jesus. People came from the entire western half of Herod’s kingdom, shown on the map above, and many traveled from the other side of the Jordan. Others journeyed from the region southwest of the Dead Sea. The crowds were so great that Jesus asked the disciples to have a boat ready on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, out of concern that the crowds would physically crush Him. They all wanted to be with Jesus.
Why did they want to be Jesus? Verse 8 indicates that it is because they “heard all that He was doing.” Before we come together on Sunday, take a few minutes to re-read chapters 1 and 2 of Mark’s gospel (it will take you 10 minutes) and consider what was so remarkable about the things Jesus had done and why that may have drawn crowds from such a large geographic area.
As you read this week’s passage, consider how each of the different groups of people mentioned interact with Jesus. Why is it that each of them is with Jesus? What do you suppose are their motives? You may begin to notice, as we get further into Mark, that the book begins to examine the reader as much as it does those in the text. Consider how and why you came to be with Jesus. Do you see yourself like any of those mentioned in this week’s passage?