“Well, our Village Venture Mission has come to an end. I can hardly wait to get alone with the Master to tell Him all the things we encountered.  I love being alone with Him, but it is so hard to find the time. It seems that people will just not leave Him alone.  He must get tired of people too. They should respect His need for solitude and keep their distance; and, only bring their needs and wants to Him when He specifically invites them.”

No one has confirmed that the above quote is attributable to any of the disciples – but something like that could well have been in their thoughts as they returned from their Gospel work. In Luke Chapter 9, after they gave Him their reports, He ‘took them’ to a quiet place near Bethsaida.

No sooner had they arrived, when the people started to gather. Not ten and not twenty. Thousands – with all their needs converged upon Him and interrupted the quiet private time.

“Surely this time He will just politely tell them to give Him some space. Maybe He’ll say ‘tomorrow’. Perhaps He’ll say He has important business to discuss with us and that He will see them later. I don’t know about you guys, but I think that would be a legitimate thing for the Master to say. His patience will eventually wear thin.”

Here’s what the Scriptures record:

When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. Luke 9:11

He welcomed them! (Most translations say ‘welcome’.) He didn’t reluctantly meet them or dutifully deal with them. That’s how we would have handled the interruption.  But He welcomed them. He received them warmly with gladness. There was nothing mechanical or cold about His approach to the people. He was not impatient with them. He wasn’t short with them. He extended to them total respect – because He loved them and only desired to bless them.

As He saw the crowds approaching, can’t you see Him extending wide His arms to warmly welcome them?

“Draw closer. Thanks for coming today. It is My pleasure to tell you everything you need to know just now about the Kingdom of God. I will take the time to share the details with all of you and for those of you who are in need of healing – I will happily meet your need as well. I welcome you today.”

Such a quote is the product of an imagination but whatever He said, we can be certain they knew He was thrilled to warmly receive them.

To top it off, He made sure they went away with a full stomach. The full expression of hospitality and warmth! … even if it was in a deserted, barren countryside near Bethsaida.

“Lord, help me today to study and learn more of Christ. He is, without question, beautiful and lovely in every way. May the Spirit of God produce in me something of the same loveliness. Help me to look at people as lost sheep in need of being welcomed. Thank you for welcoming me into Your arms. Thanks for saying: “Come unto me.” Thanks for giving me rest and peace.”

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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