Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.
All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
Early in ministry, when everything looked great and people were getting what they wanted, they flocked to Jesus. They surrounded him and praised him and talked about him. They invited friends and brought family, all to see and hear this man who gave them what they wanted.
Then, the moment Jesus started to teach things they didn’t want to hear, they were ready to throw him off a cliff. He challenged them with uncomfortable words and they voted to kill him on the spot. He went beyond giving them what they thought they wanted and began to move them to be what he wanted them to be and they quickly lost interest in him.
Their big, well-thought-out plan was, “Let’s throw this dude off a cliff.” Probably not the best plan, but it was what it was… Jesus had a choice to make… Panic, walk away, or destroy the crowd with lightning or an army of angels. He chose to walk away and simply… Left. And he maintained his integrity and ministry.
If you’re in ministry, or if you’re involved in ministering to the people around you, you’ll travel the same path as Jesus did. You’ll reach out with love and compassion, caring for the needs of people around you, and they’ll love you for it. They’ll come to you and follow you and inflate your ego. They’ll love you as long as you’re giving them what they want. The minute you start challenging them to do something they don’t want to do, though, you’ll start to notice the crowd slimming. The crowd will slowly dwindle to those who have some desire to grow and change. Keep pushing them and suggest things that they just flat out don’t want to do, though, and the crowd gets nasty. People start calling you names… Your family gets attacked… You lose “friends” you thought you had… And you’ll have a choice to make. You can panic at this new turn of events, you can use your words and influence to attack back, or you can just walk away.
When you’re in that moment, remember… Jesus walked.