What Does Jesus Arrival Mean for Us?
There is always a celebratory parade whenever a sports team wins the National Championship, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, or World Series. The streets of said championship city are FILLED with people trying to get a glimpse of their favorite team or players passing by.
Whether it’s a president visiting a foreign country, a championship team arriving home for a victory parade, or even a loved one returning home after a long trip, arrivals are exciting, and they can be filled with joy, enthusiasm, and [sometimes even] conflict.
In the book of Mark, we dive headfirst into Jesus’ arrival on earth — an arrival that brought His Kingdom into our world. Now, we know the arrival of Christ was prophesied about and that He was the hoped-for Messiah. Like the city waiting for their sports team to arrive home with that covenanted championship trophy, God’s people waited for Christ’s ministry to take place.
So, when King Jesus arrives, the crowds go crazy, and people come in from over a hundred miles away in every direction. The arrival and activity of King Jesus is sending shockwaves on an earthly level [amongst the people] and a spiritual level [amongst the demons]. And it’s all because Jesus is beginning to undo the effects of the fall:
🔘 Sicknesses are being cured.
🔘 Demons are being destroyed.
🔘 People from every nation are uniting around this man.
Another way we could say it is that Jesus’ reign brings heaven to earth.
Ever since sin came into the world, humanity has been broken, people have been desperate, and evil has been at work. But now, with the arrival of Jesus, a new day has dawned, a new era has begun, and the curse of sin is beginning to be undone. Bodies are being made whole, dark spirits are being subdued, and divided people are being brought together. This is what happens when heaven comes to earth. This is what happen when Jesus’ reign arrives on earth.
However, despite the great impact that Jesus is having, we come to find out that the crowds have mixed motives. Some of them are just there to witness the miracles so that they can have a great story to tell their friends. Some of them are there to receive healing so that their bodies will function normally again. And, while Jesus seems happy to provide healing and deliverance for just about anybody, what we learn is that Jesus is more interested in obtaining followers, not just fans. Jesus is more interested in calling disciples, not just spectators. He doesn’t want people who are just impressed by His ministry; He wants people who are devoted to Him.
“And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him.” — Mark 3:13
Growing up, I was majorly committed to playing football, especially the quarterback position. And the summer after my seventh-grade year, I went to the Bowden Passing Academy at Troy State University. It was a summer camp for quarterbacks and wide receivers to get instruction from college coaches. And being a thirteen-year-old from a small town in Alabama, I was pretty naïve as to the scope of the world.
I remember walking to our first camp session for the week, and the football stadium where we practiced was at the bottom of this hill. And I remember looking down into the stadium and seeing what felt like tens of thousands of other guys just like me, who were committed to football and who were playing quarterback. And it just humbled me like, Oh, man! Am I going to have to separate myself out of this crowd to be as good as I want to be? And the answer was a resounding and humbling yes. There’s this crowd of average; there’s this crowd of status quo, and you have to separate yourself from it to be who you want to be.
That’s not too unlike what Jesus is doing here with His disciples as He calls them out of the crowd. The average person in those crowds was impressed by Jesus; they admired Jesus and liked Jesus. The same is true today. The average person on the street, they’ll probably tell you, “Jesus is a cool dude.” “I like Jesus.” But again, King Jesus is starting to separate the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats — His disciples from the crowds. He’s not looking for people who like Him. He’s looking for people who passionately, enduringly love Him. So, He calls the disciples out of the crowds.
The KJV of 1 Peter 2:9 says, [and Peter is talking to the church here, he says] “…ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.” In other words, Peter is saying that we are not like the crowd out of which Jesus calls us. We are peculiar, we are different, we are distinct. Disciples of Jesus resist the status quo of worldliness that surrounds us, because Jesus called us out of that.
What crowd has Jesus called you out of? Or what crowd might Jesus now be calling you out of? For some of you [myself included], God called us out of the crowd of partiers. For a long time, I was in the middle of the party life, giving myself over to whatever sensuality. And Jesus called me out of it.
For some of you, maybe God called you out of the crowd of religious hypocrites. Your life was dominated by being judgmental, gossipy, and arrogant. And Jesus called you out of it. For some of you, maybe God called you out of the country club crowd of wealthy elites. You were caught up in yourself, the allure of status and money and wealth. And God called you out of that. And He said you’re going to be different amongst the other partiers. You’re going to be peculiar amongst the crowd of religious people. You’re going to be different from all the other rich people.
When Jesus’ reign comes to earth, he brings the power of heaven, and he is looking for disciples. And the first characteristic of those disciples is that they are called out from the crowd. What crowd has he called you out of to follow him? Or what crowd may he be calling you out of now to follow him?
Christianity is not a spectator sport for you to sit on the sidelines and watch the professionals do the work. He calls us out of the crowd. He calls us into a relationship with Him, to be with Him.