Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel. Matthew 15:29-31
While reading this passage today, I stopped to meditate on it for a moment. These great crowds that came to Jesus this day, many of them had with them a friend or loved one with a need. What a massive amount of human suffering was represented in this group of people. I wonder how many of them had given up hope of ever being well and had become resigned to this suffering as their lot in life – some bearing it well, some not so well.
Imagine hearing the news that there is a man who is able to heal. What hope must have begun to spring up in the hearts of the people. So they came, bringing their sick ones. And they did not gently lay them at Jesus’ feet, but the word used here means they flung them down before Him in haste, as many others pushed to get their sick ones before Jesus. What a chaotic scene!
But then imagine the rejoicing that must surely have followed as one after another the sick were healed. Family after family received their loved ones back in wholeness. Oh what a joyous celebration there must have been, with shouts of joy mixed with tears of thanksgiving. Mothers weeping over the child whose suffering from sickness is over, wives hugging the husband whose injury has been healed.
I have wondered what it was like for Jesus to watch the response of the people to the miraculous works He was performing. Did He enter into the joy of the moment? I feel certain He must have. But even more than that, He surely was pleased with this: “And they glorified the God of Israel.”
More and more I find this one phrase has become the passion and desire of my life – “all things for the glory of God.” There is no higher goal, no purpose of life that brings God more pleasure than living all of it for His glory. All my good works, all my diligent devotion, what good is any of it if it brings attention to my (supposed) goodness and knowledge, but does not point others to the glorious God who works in me both to will and to do?
Can I lay down my desire to be noticed and praised in order to bring notice and praise to the only worthy One? By the power of His Spirit I can, and I must. God help us all to live each day, each moment for His glory alone.