Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” But he gave them strict orders not to tell others about him.
Mark 3:7-12 NIV
Christ sought to serve and minister to people. But He also knew the trappings that come with it: fame. Verse 7 starts by laying a foundation for us to journey with Him. Scripture says that He ‘withdrew’ with His disciples towards the lakeside where a large crowd still followed Him. The crowd was so large because it had drawn people from regions beyond. because He had healed the sick, delivered the demon-possessed and ministered to many, His name had become famous. Hundreds if not thousands came to Him. In fact He even asked His disciples to secure a boat for Him to preach from in order to stand away from the crowd. But the most astonishing words were those He gave to those He delivered from demon possession. Verse 12 says that He gave strict orders to them not to tell others about Him. Why would Christ do that? Scripture is silent about it. The miracles, signs and wonders He performed were bound to draw many to Him. They were bound to make Him famous. Fame would have elevated Him to superstar status. But was this His mission? Was this His goal? Christ’s mission on Earth could be summarized as, ‘… The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord ’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.’ Isaiah 61:1-3 NIV.
His ministry was to those downtrodden: the poor, the captives, the broken hearted, the mourning, the blind etc. These were the people Christ came to minister to. Those in need. Fame instead doesn’t bring such people to us. It sometimes brings imposters. The downtrodden are harder to reach out to because they are imprisoned by their circumstances (picture blind Bartimaeus or the woman with the issue of blood or the woman caught in the act of adultery or the man at the pool of Bethsaida or the man by the pool of Siloam or the lame man brought by his friends through the roof to be healed by Christ or the Samaritan woman) and the list goes on. Even today, fame alienates us from reality and deviates our efforts towards our God given goal. Isn’t it interesting that the major drive of the social media craze is fame? How come people are more depressed today than they were 20 years ago? When we know our purpose in God and pursue it, we glorify Him whether we become famous or not. At times all we need is to withdraw from the drama of the limelight in order to meet with our God given purpose. It pays to do good without expecting a reward … Fame included!