THE New Testament of the Bible tells us of the multitudes who thronged Christ Jesus as he preached and healed. But why did they follow him? Probably crowds gathered then for the same reasons they do now. Some people have nothing else to do or are mildly curious. There may even be a few with a dishonest or a malicious purpose.
Many came to Jesus to be healed. We read, ``Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.''1 The joy felt by parents whose children had been made whole and by children whose parents had been restored to health, and by untold others, must have been indescribable. Certainly nothing on that scale has happened since then.
But was there an even deeper attraction? Might some have been drawn by the ideas Jesus taught even more than by hope for health? The Master said, ``Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.''2 Is it possible that those who were healed had been stirred through his Christly presence and sublime teachings to a deep desire for the peace and holiness he expressed?
Beyond the novelty of a crowd, even beyond the human yearning for health, wasn't it the joy of feeling the kingdom of God, of eternal truth, within them that many sought in those days of dusty roads and primitive communication? And it is the same magnificent truth the sick must seek in this day of high technology in order to be healed spiritually. Truth cannot change. Nor can the pure motive for seeking truth change. Spiritual healing in its most profound sense is gained by those who yearn to know the reality of God and man. It is a byproduct of spiritual awakening.
What is this awakening? It's a growing perception of the Biblical truth that perfect God is the Maker of man and that man is the child of God, the perfect spiritual likeness of his creator. This perception comes to those who seek truth meekly.
As compassionate as Jesus was, some in need of healing were unreceptive to the truth he taught. For instance, at the pool of Bethesda he healed only one of ``a great multitude of impotent folk.''3 And he refused at first even to talk to a woman of Canaan whose daughter was ``grievously vexed with a devil.'' But when she demonstrated her meekness and deep faith, the Master said, ``Great is thy faith,'' and her daughter was healed.4
Do multitudes today understand the need for faith but feel they could never have this mother's faith? Then perhaps they define faith differently than Jesus did. For some, faith is thought to be an unquestioning trust in God's presence and love, which they believe cannot be proved. But the faith Jesus awakened in the mother was beyond that. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes: ``In Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English, faith and the words corresponding thereto have these two definitions, trustfulness and trustworthiness. One kind of faith trusts one's welfare to others. Another kind of faith understands divine Love and how to work out one's `own salvation, with fear and trembling.''' A few lines further along she says, ``The Hebrew verb to believe means also to be firm or to be constant. This certainly applies to Truth and Love understood and practised.''5
It is understandable that one might doubt that any amount of blind faith could bring healing. But in this age when scientists understand the laws of gravity and aerodynamics well enough to put men on the moon, do we need to question our God-given ability to understand His laws well enough to begin to heal through divine power? The Apostle Paul said, ``I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.''6
Multitudes today can at least begin to be blessed as were the multitudes centuries ago.
1Matthew 14:14. 2Matthew 6:33. 3John 5:3. 4See Matthew 15:22-28. 5Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 23-24. 6Philippians 4:13. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The prayer of the faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up. James 5:15