On the 5th we heard the story of Jesus' hometown visit. Those folks knew Jesus, or so they thought, and his hocus-pocus-holier-than-thou-rabbi-stuff was not welcome there. He was Mary's boy (not Joseph's), just a carpenter, who did he think he was?
Last week we heard from Herod who knew, or so he thought, who Jesus was. He was John, who Herod beheaded, risen from the dead. His miracles and exorcisms were based on some sort of supernatural-post-death-casper-the-friendly-ghost-magic. Guilt-ridden, Herod wondered what JBap's return might mean.
This week, we hear about two crowds, or better said, the regular folk, who recognized Jesus from a far and ran (they did not walk) to where he was to touch even the hem of his robe. Finally, somebody gets it. Or do they? Still seems very magic centered; very supernaturally based exuberance. What the crowd gets that the other two stories didn't, however, is his teaching. Miracles come only when the Word is proclaimed. Jesus' power from God is manifest only when the Kingdom of God is made known. Repent and be forgiven = be made whole = in some cases be healed physically or emotionally or mentally = in all cases be healed spiritually and return to God's loving arms.
Maybe the crowds still didn't get it. We'll hear in a couple of weeks that the disciples still aren't getting it either as they fight over the VP and Secretary of State positions in Jesus' kingdom. But what they receive from Jesus, more than the physical healing, is the chance to hear and accept his message. The Kingdom of God has come near, repent and return to the Lord.