Summary: Why did Jesus send the People away?
Sending the Multitude Away by Gerald Van Horn
Text. Mark 6:45 “And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the boat and to go to the other side before him unto Bethsaida while he sent away the people.”
We want to focus in on the last part of the text that says, “He sent away the people.” This was Jesus speaking. We find a graphic picture of the very heart of the Lord.
Introduction: The long shadows of the evening are making their way across the lake. All the song birds are beginning to roost for the night and the sound of the soft swaying waters is heard. Suddenly there is a deafly stillness with the night sounds being broken by the sound of oars in the water from the disciples boat. Muted by the sounds of the night the boat moves away from shore. Standing with His back to the water the Lord now turns to the multitude and He says, “Go away.” “Leave.”
Is this the same Jesus that said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. Is this the same Lord that was so gentle, so peaceful and so serine. All that came to Him were welcome. One place in Scripture it says that, “He healed all that came unto Him.” Luke 6:19. Our Lord was constantly doing good. But
here we find Him sending the people away. Why is this seemingly so contrary to His very nature. He turns His back away from the crowd and turns to His disciples. Has the Lord lost His compassion? It is a picture all us need to catch in our spirits. Jesus was always challenging the people to follow Him. On one occasion He said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” At another time He said “Take up your cross and follow me.”
So gently and with passion Jesus calls men and women, boys and girls unto Himself.
But at this incident He sent them away. Why Lord?
Why couldn’t the disciples minister to Jesus? He had just finished feeding the five thousand and teaching them things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. Now He is tired and needed comfort Himself. But no one came to His aid. He sent the people away.
1. Some solutions. Some would suggest that perhaps Jesus needed to rest. The very one who said, “Come unto me and I will give you rest.” Did He send the multitude away so He could rest? No! He walked upon the water to the disciples later on in this chapter and said “peace be still.” He could have enjoyed the peace and quiet. The Bible doesn’t even give us a hint that that is the reason. In the Greek the word sent is “Apo” a strong urging to depart or one sent away forcefully. His word here is demanding as if to say “get away from me or get out of here.” Why is this action on the part of Jesus so startling to us? Another reason some say that He knew of the impending storm that would soon come to the disciples on the sea. Was the weather His concern? Some would suggest that perhaps He was a bit grouchy? Others have said that the Lord discerned that they were following Him only for the loaves and fishes? Did he find some carnality in the multitude?
2. The real reason why Jesus sent them away. I think this makes sense. The first reason: That they might practice what He taught and preached. St. Mark says, “The Lord was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd and he began to teach them many things.” (v.34) It is not recorded what He taught them. But wouldn’t you have liked to have been there? The people wanted to stay there and listen to these new found truths. It was like a neophyte who is hungry for God’s Word. They did not want to leave. Church people can hardly wait for 12 o”clock so they can get out of church and head for the nearest restaurant. Jesus wanted them to share these new found truths. They need to go back home and tell others. Go to your families and tell them the Good News. Go and practice all that I have told you. “You are my disciples if you do what I have commanded you to do.”
Ill. Every football coach doesn’t feel obligated to explain all the rudiments of the game. There is always those “two a day” practices. There is tackling and blocking, There is plays to be learned. The success in the game depends on preparation before the game. Many coaches have said, “Well, we played today just like we practiced last week.”