I saw the following excerpt posted over at The Shepherd's Scrapbook. It is part of a message delivered by Al Mohler at Covenant Life in Church in Maryland. It deals with Jesus parable of the sowers. Dr. Mohler pays particular attention to the nature of "the crowd." I found his insights very helpful. We are living in a time when there seems to be little distinction between the church and the crowd. There are times, I think, when the preacher/pastor must seek to make that distinction visible.
“The crowd is so large that has been gathering over the course of this day that Jesus is required to do what a teacher must do and that is find some way to get distance from the crowd that is necessary to be seen and heard. In this case Jesus gets into a boat and goes slightly off shore in order that he might teach. The crowd is a very important factor to this passage.
The crowd is a matter of some question–some challenge, some perplexity–to us as well. Is has become clear that evangelical Christians in particular have a hard time understanding the nature of a crowd. We are tempted to think of a crowd as a great gathering of receptivity.
We understand that the crowd is gathering because something has been happening. We as evangelicals sometimes mistake a crowd for a church. It’s hard for us sometimes to understand what’s going on. Jesus helps to clarify this for his own disciples.”
–Albert Mohler, The Parable of the Sower, sermon at Covenant Life Church (Gaithersburg, MD) on May 4, 2008.