Taking Our Place
in the Crowd, Matthew
Rev. Karen Goltz
of us are pretty familiar with most of the major characters in the Bible. We
know about Jesus, we know about Peter, we know about Paul, we know about Mary
and Joseph. We know about the disciples, the chief priests, the Pharisees, and
the scribes. But there’s another major character that I think gets overlooked
most of the time, and I believe that this character is just as important as any
other. This character doesn’t really have a name, but is almost always there.
This character is known simply as ‘the crowds.’
crowds first appear after Jesus has gone among the people, teaching them and
curing them of their illnesses. The crowds begin to follow him, listening as he
gives his sermon on the mount. They follow him everywhere, and he continually
has compassion for them, and teaches them and cures their ills. Jesus sees them
as harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd, and he takes
responsibility for them, becoming their shepherd. He continues to teach
them, continues to cure their sick. Sometimes he calls them to him, but mostly
they follow him of their own accord. Sometimes Jesus sends them away, but they
always return. They joyously welcome him to Jerusalem, and then they come after
him with swords and clubs at Gethsemane. Persuaded by the chief priests, they
demand that Barabbas be released, and that Jesus be crucified. They have their
moments of great faith, and they have their moments of great doubt and fear.
They suffer, and they rejoice.
But who are these crowds really? Who are the people in them?
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