When you think of a king, do you think of someone who walks in the dirty, filthy streets with dirty, filthy people? Or do you think of someone who sits on a throne in a castle far away from the dirty, filthy people? Yeah, most of the time the king doesn’t live with his people. He lives apart from them and leads them from the castle. If you wanted to see a king, you had to be invited into the kingdom.
Jesus is a different kind of king. The way Jesus showed us that he is our king is by not only coming to us, but becoming just like us! Jesus left his throne and was born in a stinky manger. Mark tells us that when Jesus came to earth, “the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15). Jesus brings this kingdom by walking the dirty and dusty streets with those he came to save.
In Mark 5:21-43, we are given an account that shows how King Jesus interacts with those he came to save. The story begins with Jesus coming back to a town called Galilee. In this town, Jesus was very popular. He was coming from a place where he was not welcome. Jesus had just healed a man with a demon, but the people in that region did not want him around. So, when word got around that Jesus was back, the crowd began to gather around him. Mark 5:21 tells us, “a great crowd gathered about him.” He was like a celebrity in Galilee because of his power. They all wanted him around because he had the power to make their sicknesses go away.
To the people of Galilee, Jesus was kind of like the emergency room at the hospital. The emergency room is the place where people with medical emergencies go. If you break your arm or get a really high fever, you will go to the emergency room. Most of the time, the emergency room is filled with people who are desperate for help. I remember going with my wife Erica to the emergency room when she was in college. She had injured her head and was afraid she had a concussion. The room was so crowded we could hardly find a seat. But no one left. We all needed help. And we didn’t mind the crowd.
If you go to the emergency room, you only care about getting your sickness or injury taken care of. That is the reason the people wanted to be around Jesus—not for who he is, but for what he could do for them.
But even though they only wanted to use Jesus for his power, the King of the universe was surrounded by those he created. Don’t miss how amazing this is. The one who caused the sun to hang in the sky; the one who gave breath to both Peter and Pilate; is walking the dirty and dusty streets in Galilee. It is unbelievably amazing the way Jesus ministers to the people. He doesn’t ask them to come his kingdom. He brings his kingdom to them, to us. Jesus is not afraid to get his hands dirty and spend his time with people who are sinful and dirty, even when they want Jesus for the wrong reasons.
Jesus is a King who comes to his people. He isn’t a distant King living in a far away land that you have to try to find. He brings his kingdom to feet of his enemies. If you feel too dirty to come to Jesus, know that Jesus isn’t afraid of your sin. He comes to you, right where you are to deal with your sin face to face. Don’t try to clean your life up. You can’t. Instead, fall at the feet of the one who became dirty so that you might be declared clean forever.
Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.