World English Bible translation
6:53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore. 6:54 When they had come out of the boat, immediately the people recognized him, 6:55 and ran around that whole region, and began to carry around those who were sick, on their mats, to where they heard he was. 6:56 Wherever he entered, into villages, or into cities, or into the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch just the fringe of his garment; and as many as touched him were made well.
Today's Scripture represents the high-point of the popularity that Jesus was to achieve in His ministry in Galilee. His disciples had gone out into all of the towns of Galilee and told the people of the good news of the Kingdom just as Jesus had been teaching them. Everyone had heard about the miracles that were being performed by Jesus and they were following Him everywhere He went. We have seen how this could be both a blessing and a curse for what He came to accomplish. Many of the people who followed after Him were not so much interested in what He had to say as they were in witnessing the spectacle that surrounded Him. Jesus was one of the most exciting phenomenons that they had ever heard about and they wanted to be near Him when the next miracle occurred.
So, whenever Jesus would go into a town, people would recognize Him and they would begin to bring out all the sick people in that town and in all the surrounding countryside. This was a time before modern medicine, or pretty much medicine of any sort, and so there were a lot of sick people around. Illnesses would linger for a long time without proper medical treatment. Jesus would come into a town and heal everyone there and then try to teach the people about the Word of God. He would go to the synagogues and teach during the service. There is every indication that the people accepted Him everywhere except His hometown of Nazareth.
This did not include the religious leaders of the country, most of who came from Jerusalem. They were suspicious of Him simply because He was so popular with the people. There was also the curious matter of "where" Jesus was performing all of these miracles. Galilee was not well thought of as a religious center. Most of the people lived too close to Gentiles for the taste of the elite in Jerusalem. Galilee was too wild and lax by their standards. The fact that Jesus came from Nazareth and that all of His disciples were Galilean made Him suspect. There was also the issue that Jesus had apparently not received any formal religious training. He was an amateur and an upstart in their eyes.
Since the power in Palestine was concentrated in Jerusalem, His popularity in Galilee worked against Him. Herod heard about Him and believed that He was John the Baptist come back to seek retribution. The Pharisees heard about Him and they believed that Jesus was leading the people astray by healing on the Sabbath and associating with sinners. The scribes did not like Him because He had no formal training and yet He would speak to them as if He had the right to instruct them on the Law.
But, to the people who were sick and desperate, Jesus was a ray of hope in an otherwise dismal world. To those who felt that they were cast out and lost, He represented acceptance. To those that were far off from the center of power, He represented the power of God come out to meet them where they were.
What do you see in Jesus of Nazareth? Will you allow Christ to been seen by those who desperately need Him in your life?
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