“The Common People Heard Him Gladly”

As we near the end of the events of “Passion Tuesday” / Crucifixion Tuesday, we find an intriguing little statement in Mark’s account.  Though Matthew and Luke record the same incident, the same question and answer, they don’t include this statement.  But it caught my attention — and since this is my blog, I’ll draw your notice to it as well. 🙂

Mark 12:37  

David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.

It isn’t hard to know what this statement means.  Though the leaders of the Jews rejected Christ and wanted to kill Him, the common people, those who weren’t in high positions, were glad to hear the things He said.

Jesus had been in conflict with the religious leaders throughout the day.  He had answered their questions so effectively that they were silenced.  And then, He asked them a question which they failed to properly answer.  The people had listened through all this, and they were glad to hear the things they were hearing.  It is obvious what it means.

I know what it means, and I think I know why Mark included it.  We’re told often that Jesus spoke to the poor.  That was unusual — some rabbis looked down on the poor, but not Jesus.  He loved the multitudes, this so-called “rabble,” and had compassion on them.  The other Gospels emphasise that, but I think this is the only place that Mark refers to Jesus’ relationship to the common people.  I think I know why the Lord had Mark refer to it right here, and Lord willing, will talk about it in a future post.

But it grabbed my attention and made me think.  If the common people heard Him gladly, where were they a day or two later?  Where were they when all forsook Him, when the mob cried, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him”?

Where were they after His death, when the disciples were few in number, hiding in an upper room?  Where were they before the Day of Pentecost, when Acts 1 tells us there were 120 disciples in Jerusalem?  What happened to those who “heard Him gladly?”

The religious leaders arrogantly looked down on the common people.  They blatantly declared their disdain for the poor and the outcasts.  They had no friends among the common people.  Surely, the people would have been happy to see those “leaders” humiliated by this wandering teacher from Nazareth.

But where were they when the world did what the world does, and opposed God with all its might?

How many of us will rejoice over One who is a Son of David and much, much more, rejoice over a virgin-born One who is God with us, the Prince of Peace, thrill to the way He answered the Pharisees and Sadducees that day, and yet….

Will we just hear Him gladly, or will we stand with Him?  We may love hearing sermons (or reading articles) which really unfold God’s truth to us.  But are we there to be counted when the pressure comes, when the world attacks?  Do we hear Him gladly when it is satisfying, but abandon Him when it seems dangerous?  When God’s people are few and scattered, when evil appears to be winning, will we be among those who heard Him gladly and yet deny Him, forsake Him, refuse to lift our heads above the parapet?  Or will we stand?  Will we “hold the fort” or hide in the closet?

Where will we be when the world does what the world does?

Series Summary with links to further articles: “Passion Tuesday” / Crucifixion Tuesday

About Jon Gleason

Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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