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What caused people to listen to Jesus?

People found Jesus attractive.
What caused people to listen to Jesus??  Matthew 4.23-5.2
 
 
O to have been there!
 
"And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them..."
 
Recently taught an overview of Islam and the prophet, last week I taught on the leader of the LDS - Joseph Smith, and so we compare them to Jesus, as he taught and touched people, eventually dying for them. 
 
Mind you, on this afternoon, the setting was really more like a hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee, spacious enough for many to gather and listen as Jesus addressed his disciples. Word was out about Jesus!  Not only was his teaching like none the people had heard from the teachers of the synagogues, but Jesus was also healing people everywhere he went.  And unlike the religious leaders the people knew, Jesus didn't hold himself aloof or act superior; rather, he enjoyed people, and they enjoyed him
 
Matthew explains:  "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. Great multitudes followed Him-from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan."2
 
Jesus' manner was open and approachable; in fact, the Son of God had such charisma that people would sit three days straight, without food, just to hear his riveting words.  Jesus was the man for others.  He kept himself free for the other person.  He would accept almost anybody's invitation to dinner, and as a result, no public figure had a more diverse list of friends, ranging from rich people, Roman centurions, and Pharisees to tax collectors, prostitutes, and leprosy victims.3
 
But on this afternoon, Jesus, the rabbi, sat down to teach the disciples-- specifically the twelve men he had chosen to follow him.  With his mastery of the Jewish scriptures, Jesus was indeed a rabbi (teacher), and signaled his intent to deliver an important, inspired message to his disciples by sitting down. (The custom of the day for rabbis)
 
I am so taken by the crowds that followed after Jesus.  Why did folks find Jesus' teaching and touch so attractive, when so many today want nothing to do with the Christian church, or even Christians?  Been bothered by that for a long time, but I guess Jesus is even more bothered, eh?  It is part of the reason when people ask me what religion I am, I usually say, 'Oh, well, I'm not religious.  I have a relationship with Jesus Christ, but I am not really religious.'  You see, even to say I'm a Christian, which I am proud to be, has been so watered down and devalued.  Did Dietrich Bonhoeffer have a thought when he talked about religion-less Christianity?4  I think he did.
 
We will look over the next three chapters of Matthew, which form the core of Jesus' teaching--including so much of value for you and me to get to know Jesus, his heart, and his mind.  My dear reader, I pray that you will come to his teaching with a rabid desire to know the Messiah for yourself-do not miss the opportunity to encounter the dearest Friend you'll ever know. Discover for yourself what caused the throngs to crowd around the disciples to hear everything that Jesus had to tell them.
 
 
 
1 - Matthew 5.1-2, NKJV
2 - Matthew 4.23-25, NKJV
3 - The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey ~ [a must read]
 
 
 
 
 
 

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