When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing. Luke 9:10-11 NIV
Jesus sent out His apostles on a great mission – to go and preach the gospel in many villages. They go out and for the first time, they experience the power of God working powerfully through them without Jesus being physically present with them. They are elated! They return and can barely contain themselves – while Peter’s still telling the others of this old lady who walked after he laid hands on her, Bartholomew interjects and says a demon obeyed his command and left a young boy it had tormented for years, and then John jumps in right at that moment to talk about the wonderful couple that hosted them..Imagine the buzz – 70 people, many cities covered, all having experienced the power of God. Have you gone out on a missional trip before and seen God move? Or maybe you gone out on evangelism? Or have you attended a crusade? Maybe closer – have you attended such a big concert, you and your friends were not all in the same place while it took place? Now, think of that time you get together afterwards and you are excitedly exchanging stories.
“they reported to Jesus what they had done” – Imagine them gathered around the Lord, excitedly telling Him all they’d done.
Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida – Jesus decides that now is a good time to take His team on a retreat. They need to be away, alone for some time. He’ll likely teach them some things, maybe they’ll debrief some more, rest a bit and be refreshed. So they all get to Bethsaida and are glad to be away and can’t wait to see what the Master has planned. Then something happens…
but the crowds learned about it and followed him..
This huge crowd gatecrashes the retreat! Over 5,000 people gatecrash the party….
What caught me is Jesus’s response.
He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
Jesus welcomed them. God is busy doing some life-changing things for the apostles but that immediately takes a backseat when a crowd hungry for Him shows up. He is never too busy. It isn’t interruption. He turns his full attention to them, teaches them, heals them and then eventually feeds them.
This got me thinking – how do I react when what I’m doing is interrupted by something God wants to do for someone else? Do I lay my well-laid plans down and recognise that He wants to touch someone (or some people)? Or am I too busy to be moved? How about you? Are you too busy? It isn’t that there wouldn’t be impact – the disciples were benefiting immensely from having time away from everything, alone with the Lord – but the impact of welcoming the interruption led to over 5,000 being fed. I pray you and I will see and welcome some interruptions and feed God’s people.