Clarity Never Comes from the Crowds3
42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them.43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”
After a long evening of Jesus touching sick people and casting out demons, Jesus wakes up the next morning and goes out to a solitary place. In Mark’s version of this story, we’re told that he goes out to the solitary place to pray.
The crowds wake up in a bit of a panic—the celebrity healer is gone! We’ve got to go find him! There are more sick people to heal and there are all kinds of other projects we’d like for Jesus to tackle while he’s here!
Eventually, they find Jesus and they plead with him to stay. But while it’s always nice to be wanted, Jesus refuses to let the crowds dictate his actions. He’s got work to do in other towns.
This week, we’re closing out our “Starting Blocks” series, looking at these first few months of Jesus’s public ministry to see how he gets out of his starting blocks so we might get out of our own starting blocks well in 2019.
And as we do so, here’s a bright, shiny, mission-critical principle to file away if you want to make any sort of God-shaped difference in this world: clarity never comes from the crowds.
Read that again, a couple of times: clarity never comes from the crowds, clarity never comes from the crowds, clarity never comes from the crowds. Whether your crowd is family, friends, co-workers, your political party, your social network newsfeed of choice or complete strangers, you’re never going to get clarity from crowd-pressures.
Advice comes from the crowd. Applause might come from the crowd. Disapproval might come from the crowd. Opinions (often conflicting) might come from the crowd. There is volume from the crowd and energy from the crowd and agendas and plans for your life from the crowd.
But you never get clarity from the crowd. Jesus gets away from the crowds to get his clarity. That’s where clarity comes from. And on the other side of a little bit of time in a solitary place, Jesus is able to make a clear-headed, mission-driven decision that the crowds didn’t like, wouldn’t have scripted, and yet was exactly what his Father in heaven wanted.
Which crowd(s) are you tempted to look for to get clarity? What do you think it would look like for you to take some time this weekend to get solitary in order to get clarity? What kind of internal resistance to you have to that kind of work? How might you overcome that resistance?