Luke 4:42-5:3 “And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them. And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent. And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee. And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.”
Jesus had just returned from the wilderness where He was tempted of Satan; “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about” (Luke 4:14). Upon returning from the temptation, Jesus was not only known for power and preaching (see vs.14-15), but He was known for powerful preaching; “being glorified of all” (vs.15), “and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth” (vs.22), “for his word was with power” (vs.32).
When we come to Luke 5:1, we see the response of the people; “the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God.” We find an element of people that have a passion for truth. There are two descriptive thoughts that I want to draw your attention to. Please note their purpose, “to hear.” The word “hear” means to hear, to give audience, to understand. The idea is more than just hearing with the natural ear; it implies the idea of paying attention, to give place to, to grasp the meaning. While the subject was “to hear”, the substance was “the word of God.” It was not the words of a mere man that they had set a premium on; it was the words of God Himself! In John 7, officers were dispatched to take Jesus into custody; they return empty handed using for their excuse; “Never man spake like this man” (John 7:46). Speaking of the Word of God, Job said, “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). Those that have a passion for truth not only make room for it, but give the Word a preeminent place in their life!
The second descriptive thought is, “the people pressed upon him.” Here we see their position in relationship to Christ. It would have been admirable if the text had said, they followed Him to hear the Word of God; that’s not what it said. Note the phrase “pressed upon him.” The phrase “pressed upon” means to rest upon, to lie on. It comes from two words; one means to come to a place or time of rest. The second word means to lie outstretched. The people have come to a place of rest where they lie outstretched on the person of Jesus. My thought is this; “They want nothing to get between them and hearing what Jesus, the Son of God has to say for He declares the “words of God.” To our shame; think of how often we allow the most trivial things to get between us and the glorious opportunity to hearing God speak!
These passionate seekers were not empowered by the desire for meat or miracles, but a message; for “the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God.” If we had lived in that day would we have been among those that have a passion for truth?