But the crowds were aware of this and followed Him; and welcoming them, He began speaking to them about the kingdom of God and curing those who had need of healing.Luke 9:11(NASB)
The Lord Jesus was 'the One Who was to come'.. as prophesised throughout the Jewish scriptures. Jesus was sent by God the Father to be the Jewish Messiah and Saviour of the whole world. He was born into the Jewish nation and had come to save the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He had come as the Shepherd of His people. He had come to save His people from their sins.
Like so many before Him, John the Baptist was the last and greatest of Israel's prophets, who called the nation to: repent, for the kingdom of heaven was at hand. The promised King of Israel had arrived in the Person of Jesus.. and in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, He carried out many mighty signs and wonders, in order to fulfil scripture - and as a demonstration that He was indeed great David's greater Son.
The Lord Jesus had chosen His apostles some time earlier.. and bestowed on each one, authority over demons and the power to heal the sick and perform many mighty works. He sent them to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God - and to proclaim the good news that God's anointed King was here. The Messiah, Who had been promised aforetime had finally arrived. The news of Jesus travelled far and wide and even reached the ears of king Herod.. the wicked Tetrarch, whose shocking, yet cowardly act resulted in the death of John the Baptist - Christ's chosen forerunner. Indeed Herod's fear was that Jesus was the reincarnation of John, and so he sought to see Him.
But Christ's time had not yet come.. and so when the twelve returned from their gospel mission the Lord Jesus took them aside privately into a desert place to rest awhile.. and to recover from the excitement and exhaustion of their Messianic ministry.
But Christ's popularity was fasts growing as men and maids alike were asking is this the Chosen One of Israel. Who is to come? Is this the promised Saviour Who was both the root and stem of the great king David? And curiosity together with selfish motives caused them to chase after Him and follow Him - for He did many mighty miracles.
Jesus knew from the beginning that many in this crowd were neither circumcised in their heart nor grieving for their sin and the sins of their forefathers.. but He had compassion of them, for He knew that they were dead in their trespasses. He knew that they were lost sheep, without a caring Shepherd.. and so He healed ALL who had need of healing. But as His popularity with the masses increased, so the hatred of the leaders of Israel began to boil-over furiously.
Within hours we see Jesus feeding the multitude with five barley loaves and two small fishes.. but He knew what was in their hearts. He knew that their interest in Him was greed and selfishness. Jesus knew what was in their hearts..
Then as now it is the hearts of men that God examines.. for the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the whole earth to show that He is faithful and strong to support and save those whose heart is completely His. We read that the eyes of the Lord search to and fro to see if there is anyone that has a trusting faith in the truth of God's Word - and their faith is credited as righteousness.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I may love and welcome You in my heart.. for Who You are, and for what Christ has done for me, by dying on the cross so that I might live in Him. Keep me from following You for the wrong reasons.. and I pray that I may live my life in grateful thanks - for Your glory, because of what you have done for me - in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.