Summary: As Jesus surveyed the multitude, He saw them as sheep without a shepherd. He saw their need and spoke many things to them. I am glad He is aware of our need and has compassion toward us.
A Compassionate Lord
Mark 6: 30-34
As we continue through the sixth chapter of Mark, I realized we have discussed much in varied settings within this chapter. Jesus dealt with rejection in His hometown of Nazareth, the disciples were sent out to minister in pairs of two, and we read of the horrific death of John the Baptist. The chapter will conclude with Jesus performing another miracle as He walks upon the water. In our text, and the verses that immediately follow, we find a moving passage of Scripture. In these verses we will discover the gracious compassion Jesus had toward those around Him.
In our text today we will discuss Jesus’ interaction with the disciples and then with those who are desperate and in need of His provision. It is impossible to consider this passage and miss the compassion of Christ toward those in need. While we are tempted at times to think that our Lord is distant and unengaged in our individual lives, He is actually near to us every moment and concerned with our needs. The compassionate character revealed in our Lord through these verses remains today. We have the assurance that Jesus knows our needs and He cares about the situations we face in life.
As we move through these opening verses of a familiar passage, I hope you will be reminded of Jesus’ care for you and the provision available in Him. I want to examine the expressions of Jesus within the text as we consider: A Compassionate Lord.
I. Jesus among the Disciples (30-32) – We begin our study today with a look at Jesus’ interaction with the twelve. Notice:
A. The Conversation (30) – And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. Mark refers to the time following the events recorded in Vv.7-13. The Lord had sent the disciples out to minister among the towns and villages; and following the completion of their journey, they have all returned unto Jesus and are discussing their encounters. No doubt the disciples were excited about their initial endeavor into personal ministry. During their conversation they discussed:
1. Their Work – They told the Lord all things, including what they had done while they were away. These men were genuinely excited to be actively engaged in ministry efforts and wanted to tell the Lord all about it. They likely shared their triumphs and their struggles. (While Jesus knows our hearts, and is always aware of our lives, He desires us to bring our joys and burdens before Him. We need to share our lives and aspirations with the Lord, even the smallest of details. We must seek His guidance as we strive to serve Him.)
2. Their Witness (30) – As they talked with Jesus concerning their journey, they also shared with Him what they had taught. Likely they shared how various people responded to their teaching and ways they sought to improve. They also probably desired affirmation that they had shared sound doctrine and represented the Lord well. They were seeking additional wisdom and instruction for their lives as they attempted to teach the Word and reach others with the Gospel. (It is imperative that we spend time in prayer as we prepare to teach the Word or be an effective witness for the Lord. Being an effective witness requires wisdom from the Lord.)
B. The Concern (31-32) – As Jesus talked with the twelve, He was concerned for their well-being. Notice:
1. The Appeal (31) – And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. We must remember that this conversation followed their initial journey in ministry by themselves. They had been faithful to the Lord’s work, and it had taken a toll on them. It is evident that they were in need of well-deserved rest. They had been so busy, dealing with everyone coming and going that they hadn’t even had time to eat. Jesus wanted them to separate themselves from their work for a season of rest and renewal. No doubt they were exhausted physically, emotionally, and even spiritually, having poured themselves out for the good of others. They needed time to evaluate their efforts and refuel spiritually, physically, and emotionally.
While our Lord never encourages laziness, He does understand and emphasize the need for adequate rest. Our bodies were divinely designed, and they were designed with a need for rest. There is nothing “spiritual” about running ourselves ragged, ignoring the need for rest, and there is nothing “sinful” about taking some time away from the demands of life and ministry to rest. Mark 2:27 – And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.