When I see a street preacher something inside makes me want to engage with them. If I am with my wife she will quickly drag me in the opposite direction. One issue I have is that street preachers often shout out their opinions on controversial subjects. In doing so they cause immediate offence, thereby diminishing anything else they try to say. Consequently most street preachers do not gather huge crowds around them. The last street preacher I saw was no exception. I haven’t a clue what he was saying as I was in Moscow and he was preaching in Russian, but I did hear the name Jesus a few times. This particular street preacher had no listeners. One fellow was standing nearby but he was trying to make a telephone call, which seemed strange given the amplified background noise from the street preacher.
Jesus was a street preacher who had no problem gathering a crowd. In fact there were times when the crowds became a problem. On one occasion Jesus had vacate the beach and preach from a boat a short way offshore! How did this seemingly ordinary man, a carpenter by trade, attract such a following? I guess some would have come out of interest. Many would have come because they had heard that Jesus had special powers that could heal illness and disease. Some people seemed to follow Jesus from place to place. It appears that they couldn’t get enough of His teaching.
How did Jesus survive when so many demands were being made of him? How did he manage to produce a constant flow of relevant teaching that kept His followers coming back for more. And what about the emotional toll of dealing not only with the hungry, the sick and the helpless, but also with the arrogant and the intolerant? Then there was the barrage of criticism He faced from the so-called religious leaders. I have no doubt that Jesus was/is the Son of God, but during His time on Earth he had to live in a human body. A body that got tired and bruised.
The Bible tells us how Jesus survived. He took time out and He recharged His batteries by spending time alone with God. Incredibly, and despite being the Son of God, Jesus found it necessary to spend entire nights alone with God in prayer. There is a lesson there for us. The Scottish clergyman and hymn writer Horatius Bonar put it like this:
Be much alone with God. Do not put Him off with a quarter of an hour morning and evening. Take time to get thoroughly acquainted. Converse over everything with Him – every thought, feeling, wish, plan, and doubt to Him. He wants converse with His creatures; shall His creatures not want converse with Him? He wants, not merely to be on “good terms” with you, if one may use man’s phrase, but to be intimate. Shall you decline the intimacy and be satisfied with mere acquaintance? What! Intimate with the world, with friends, with neighbours, with politicians, with philosophers, with naturalists, or with poets; but not with God? That would look ill indeed. Folly, to prefer the clay to the potter, the marble to the sculptor, this little earth and its lesser creatures to the mighty Maker of the universe, the great “All and in all”!
Jesus couldn’t do it alone. He doesn’t expect us to walk alone either. Talk to God and you will never walk alone.