Luke 9:10,11 – When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
The apostles finished their assignment of curing sick people, driving out demons and preaching the kingdom of God. After investing themselves in such a powerful and intensive work, it was time for a bit of a retreat. So, they withdrew to Bethsaida. It didn’t take the crowds long to locate their whereabouts, however, and they were soon following Jesus. These followers invaded Jesus’ private time with His disciples, right in the middle of their retreat! What did Jesus do? He welcomed them! He spoke to them about the Kingdom of God! He healed those who needed healing!
“He welcomed them” – just like He welcomes all who are weary and burdened (Matthew 11:28). He welcomed them – just like He welcomes all who are thirsty to come drink of the water of life (John 7:37). He welcomed them like a hen would welcome her chicks – just like He would have welcomed Jerusalem, but they would not! He welcomed them – just like He welcomed the whole world with outstretched arms when He hung on the cross! Jesus welcomes all who will receive Him and believe on His name! And, He gives them the right to be called children of God (John 1:12). Wouldn’t it have been awesome to be one of those He welcomed that day?
“He spoke to them about the kingdom of God!” Wouldn’t you have just given anything to hear Jesus speak about God’s kingdom? Jesus could speak first hand of a glorious King who has a perfect plan for His kingdom; One who always does the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, for the right reason – and He clothes His people in this same garment of righteousness! How His message about God’s glorious rule would have contrasted with what they experienced with the corrupt rulers of this fallen world. No one could inspire people to hunger for the kingdom of God like Jesus could! Jesus perfectly expressed the heart and mind of the great God of the universe! Wouldn’t you have wanted to be there?
“He healed those who needed healing.” I’d guess that would be just about everyone! There’s something in every human being that needs healing. It could be something physical, mental, spiritual, emotional or relational, but we all need some sort of healing! The Word that became flesh, the One who made all things and holds all things together, did not withhold His power from these needy souls who followed Him that day! Don’t you just wish you could have been there?