Jesus realized that the people intended to take him by force and make him king. So he returned to the mountain by himself.
Just one verse.
- How did the crowds who had followed Jesus perceive Him?
- What was the audience response?
- Encore! Encore?
- How sincere were they in their desire for more?
They had followed Him away from their original holiday plans and been fed by Him like their ancestors before them. The symbolism was not lost on them. They were thrilled. They were elated. They did not want it to end.
Why should it?
Let’s have more!
Make Him King!
That would solve all their problems, not just their personal and physical ones, but their political ones as well! Isn’t that the plan? I can simply imagine the emotion and big dreams and possibilities filling the minds.
Jesus understood more than we realize. Jesus was being offered, by man, the temporary power of a king. This was a temptation. Just like the three temptations in the wilderness as He prepared for His ministry, Satan was not done tempting. The temptations tried to get at Jesus through the physical, (hunger and thirst), through power and through pride. Jesus was thirsty and hungry at the well, and chose Gods plan instead. The peoples physical needs have been met. Now comes the offer of power.
- Is there not a chance for pride to enter here?
- How does Jesus respond to the challenge of changing ever so slightly from Gods plan for Him to a more comfortable plan?
He walks away. He puts distance between Himself and His audience. The performer leaves the stage. He leaves even His own disciples. I want to be alone.
Perhaps here Jesus had to recommit to the vision of obedience in His human flesh. Jesus, as man and the Son of Man, in order to understand us fully, had to live the same battles of temptation, but yet He lived without sin. He went on the mountaintop alone to do battle with the enemy of our souls. He went to do battle for us all. To win was the power of God over the power of Satan. Jesus fought a battle on that mountaintop, flesh against the will of God. God wins. And the battle is a real one.
Jesus has won my battle. Does that mean I won’t have temptation or that there is no danger? No, my example is in following Christ. He has accomplished the work. If I find myself tempted like this to be called off course by the appeal of the crowd, the demand of the audience, the lure of success and powerful influence, get alone and get away. Spend focused time with Jesus. Clear my mind of worldly things and seek His will and plan for me. Strength will come as I turn to Him. With Him is refreshment and assurance from the only source worthy of my focus.