The Gospels – A Little Boat
But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him. So He told His disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him. Mark 3:7-9 NKJV
Just prior to this, Jesus had breached the traditional protocol of the Pharisees by healing a man in the synagogue on the Sabbath day, pointing out His own goodness and care for individuals, and the hardness of the hearts of the Pharisees. They immediately began making plans to kill Jesus, while He just walked away from their drama, withdrawing to the sea, (3:1-6).
Word spread about Jesus throughout the region, and overnight there were literally thousands, probably tens of thousands, of people leaving everything to find Jesus. Mark lists some of the areas people were traveling, mostly walking from, a span reaching 70 miles to the south, east into the Arabian desert, and northward from the area that is now Lebanon, (3:7-8 NKJV).
As you read through these early chapters of Mark, notice how many times he uses words like “crowds” or “multitudes,” this was the most public, and popular season of Jesus’ ministry and everyone wanted the same thing – to touch Him.
They wanted from Him what they had heard He had done for others, to be healed, delivered, restored, made whole. And so they came. And they pressed in. It got so intense that Jesus had the disciples prepare a boat for Him, so if needed, He could push away from the shore and continue to minister, (3:9 NKJV).
While most of the people sought a physical healing, and Jesus did that for countless people, what He wanted for them more importantly, was spiritual healing. Physical healing is temporary because everyone eventually dies. But the healing Jesus brought would heal their soul, and bring eternal peace and life to their spirit.
From the little boat He could communicate God’s love with the multitudes. It was a place He could occupy while still being in the midst of those who sought Him.
The church, and by extension, you and I, are kind of like that little boat. We are vessels that can be occupied by Christ to extend His love and grace to those who seek Him. The only requirement for the little boat was availability. It didn’t need to be perfect, or the best boat on the water, it just needed to be available so the Master could step into it and minister.
“Father, in Your mercy, let me be a vessel for You today. A little boat through which You can love, heal, and restore those who seek You.”