When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.
As the crowds get bigger, Jesus’ message gets more confrontational. Also as the crowd increases, Jesus spends increased time referencing the coming work of the cross and resurrection.
Jesus breaks every rule that church growth experts give. Instead of shaping his ministry strategies around the palette of the community, he constructed his ministry around their greatest need. He didn’t attempt to water down the hard truths. He didn’t attempt to create a comfortable environment. He didn’t view large crowds as success. Instead he told the truth, as difficult as it was to hear. He confronted people on sin and their need for a savior. He judged success by the obedience of his followers and the life change that accompanied following Him and not by the amount of people in attendance at an event.
A few things:
-The Scorecard has to change. Success for me can’t be different than success for Jesus. Why? He is the master. If my scorecard is different than His, I can’t claim the movement I am part of is led by Him. The master, Jesus, dictates the scorecard.
-The greatest need of everyone I meet is the gospel. Whether lost or found, the gospel give life initially and sustains life for eternity. I can’t meet other needs and treat that as the end goal.
-Crowds don’t mean success. As a leader. a crowd feels good. It seems to justify the hard work. The filled seats seem to give credibility to the long hours, sleepless nights and difficult times. However, a big crowd never satisfied Jesus. His goal was never keeping the crowd. Rather, his goal was communicating the truth to the crowd, even if it meant many would leave. This is counterintuitive if the goal is a crowd. However if the goal is meeting the greatest needs by communicating and modeling the gospel, people leaving and being offended must be expected.
Father thank you for the reminder. Your word, your truth, the gospel must be preached. If the crowd is big, don’t let me get distracted. May I learn to be more satisfied with your presence and applause than the presence and applause of a large crowd.