News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
News travels fast. Today, a rumor about a sports team or a politician can fly around the world through Twitter and Facebook in just seconds. When Usain Bolt won the 200m gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, the news flew at 80,000 Tweets per minute.
On the other hand, not all news travels fast. When I Tweet something, it pretty much just sits there. My handful of followers rarely if ever retweet or comment on my items. My favorite hashtag should probably be measured in Tweets per month.
The same goes in less tech-dependent communication. The really hot news, say in your church, will fly around the place. When my church’s youth pastor announced his resignation a couple of months back, it had gotten around the church thoroughly by the next day. When the church announced an upcoming budget meeting, the buzz didn’t quite move as quickly.
Whether it is bad new or good, we tend to spread the remarkable stuff. We want the people in our circle to know how miserable or how fortunate we are. Knowing how my circle might overlap your circle, it just makes sense that the really juicy news will get around in short order.
When we look at the verse today, the response to Jesus casting a demon out of the man in the synagogue, we shouldn’t be surprised that, even without Twitter and iPhones, the people of Galilee managed to get the word around quickly and thoroughly. They had seen something remarkable, something amazing; thus, they simply had to spread the word. My guess is that they did not spread news of the synagogue’s upcoming silent auction with quite so much enthusiasm.
As usual, my interest here is not so much with what some 1st-century Galileans did but with what you and I do. If we don’t spread the “news of him” with the same vigor that those people in Capernaum showed, might that not mean that we don’t really consider the news quite as good as we say? If we’re more eager to spread a movie review, outrage at the government, or the cute thing a child said than we are to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, then perhaps we should look back to that Good News and understand just how remarkable it is.