The Appeal of Jesus

“And the common people heard him gladly” (Mark 12:37).

The English Standard Version reads “And the great throng heard him gladly” (Mark 12:37).  Regardless of the way the sentence is translated, there is no mistake that there was a great following of Jesus at this time.  It was only a little time ago from this setting of Mark 12 that Jesus entered triumphantly into the city of Jerusalem.  People were drawn to him from every direction and from every background.  The appeals of today were not what led multitudes to be attracted to Jesus.  Consider three worldly appeals that were not true of Jesus.

  1. Not His Appearance. Isaiah prophesied of Jesus, “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isa. 53:2).  While some people recorded in the Bible were attractive in their appearance as babies (cf. Heb. 11:23) or as young adults (cf. 1 Sam. 17:42), Jesus was not of such an appearance.  One might think that the Father in heaven would have brought the best looking boy into the world in the person of Jesus.  This was not the case.  Fleshly means was not the power of the Lord.  It was the spiritual side of Jesus that drew people.  Such is still true today.
  2. Not His Affluence. Jesus stated of his own possessions, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Luke 9:58).  The life of Jesus was lived off the generosity of others and his trust in the Father to care for him.  While he had the power to perform great miracles, they were not used for personal ends.  He who created the universe (cf. Col. 1:16-17) did not come into the world to use the world for his pleasures and the pleasures of his followers.  Jesus took the form of a servant or literally a slave (cf. Phil. 2:7).  He even taught his own special disciples to trust in the Lord to provide care (cf. Matt. 6:33) and to accept the generosity of those who appreciated the gospel (cf. Matt. 10:9-13).  He did not have the appearance of a king but is truly the King of kings (cf. Rev. 19:16).  He grew up in the home of a craftsman of wood (cf. Mark 6:3) within a town of no worthy reputation (cf. John 1:46).  However, his meekness and lowliness were his strong appeal to people (cf. Matt. 11:28-30).  It is still so today.
  3. Not His Associates.  Jesus was not in the inner circle of the religious elite of his day (cf. John 1:11; 19:15).  He was called a Samaritan having a demon (cf. John 8:48).  Those who followed him were people of the common occupations of the land.  He knew how to communicate to the poor (cf. Mark 5:25-34) and the rich (cf. Luke 19:1-11).  He was capable of helping the educated (cf. John 3:1ff) and the uneducated (cf. Matt. 11:25).  His closest disciples were not men of renown with the world as they had rejected such to follow him (cf. Matt. 19:27).  Toward the close of his earthly life all would and did forsake him (cf. Mark 14:27, 50).  There are people who will join themselves to a group because of the advantage that being in certain circles might provide.  Jesus was the only real advantage in the crowd (cf. John 6:66-69).  The appeal of Jesus is not appealing on the whole to the wise of the flesh, the mighty or the noble of this world (cf. 1 Cor. 1:26).  The appeal is in redemption.

Jimmy Clark