Crowds. Needy people. REALLY needy people. Sick & diseased people. Desperate people. Add to that mix - Jesus "the healer," and you have all the makings of a mob scene. So Jesus planned ahead. He had his disciples get a boat ready so he could preach and teach from the shoreline. In his young ministry, he's already learned that one of the main responses to him was for people to crowd around & press up close to him.
But there's another response from a particular group - those "demon possessed" people (those with "unclean spirits"). Mark tells us that they responded quite differently - they bowed down and shouted, "You are the Son of God!" Unclean spirits said this!
So we have two different and yet similar groups: the sick & diseased... and the demon possessed. The first group knows they need healing, but primarily see Jesus as the ultimate healer. So their response is to surge for more of him. Press forward. So much so, that Jesus actually feared being crushed! Wow.
The second group is also sick - but not physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Relationally. Only, they don't want to be healed. That's the nature of the beast, so to speak. Yet, they're completely in tune with who Jesus truly is. They know! Son of God. Savior. Master. King. And instead of pressing up, they respond by falling to their knees. Reverence. REVERENCE!! From a group that lives in opposition to Jesus' ways. And they're the ones who recognize his true identity.
How often do we "press in" toward Jesus? Seeing him primarily as one who can "do stuff" for us? So we move as close as we can to him. But it's not an intimate movement. It's crushing. Stifling. Might we learn something from the unclean spirits? Might the possessed have it right? When we're in the presence of the "Son of God," the only legitimate response is to fall on our knees and acknowledge his authority!
Of course, he's a God who wants intimacy, so he won't keep his distance. But who are we to presuppose such casual familiarity? I don't want Jesus to feel like I'm "crushing him" with my constant demands/requests. He's big enough to handle them, for sure. But there's a difference between coming to Him with our needs, and overwhelming him by nagging. Intimacy & reverence. That's what I want more of. (Sounds like a great New Year's resolution doesn't it?). AMEN.