Summary: Christ is moved with compassion toward a crowd of hungry people and feeds them.

The Compassionate Christ

Mark 8:1-9

What we have read here is how Christ is moved with compassion toward a crowd of hungry people and feeds them.

First we are introduced to a……

1. Crowd of hungry people

V1 “the multitude being very great” How large is this crowd?

v9 “And they that had eaten were about four thousand.”

a. The number

We know it is at least 4,000 people and since they usually just counted the men this number wouldn’t have included the number of women and children.

Matthews account of this says, “And they that did eat were four thousand men, not counting the women and children." 15:38

No doubt, there are women and children there also. The number of women and children could easily also be at least 4,000 or more.

So, a conservative estimate would be somewhere between 8,000-10,000 people. John MacArthur estimated that there would have been 15000 people. This is a Large crowd.

b. The need

V1 says, this large crowd “has nothing to eat” In biblical days when you went on a journey you took food with you. There were no restaurants or gas stations along the way to stop and eat. You prepared enough for the entire trip.

They find themselves 3 days journey from home in a deserted/ wilderness where there’s no food. And If Jesus sends them home hungry they could faint along the way. They need food. If they don’t get food, they will faint on their way back home.

It is here that we see ….

2. The compassionate heart of Jesus v2

He is moved with compassion toward this crowd of hungry people. Jesus is the compassionate Christ. He is moved by their need. And his compassion moves him to action to feed them.

The word compassion means to suffer with. It is to feel the suffering of others which moves you to help relieve the suffering. Compassion is a drive/fuel to relieve the hurts of others.

Compassion is the very heart of God. It speaks of someone who feels your sufferings and come to your aid to comfort and assist in times of hurt and need.

2Co 1 says God is the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation. John 14 Jesus called The Holy Spirit a comforter. Here Jesus is moved with compassion toward this hungry crowd.

We find other places in the NT where Jesus is moved with com-passion toward hurting people. Mark 6 He is moved with compassion and feeds 5000 people.

Mat 9: He is moved with compassion in “when he saw the multitudes, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd." 36

Mat 20: Jesus had compassion on two blind men and touched their eyes and immediately they received sight

Mat 14” Jesus saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick." 14

Mat 18 He is “the lord of that servant and was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him." 27

One of the characteristics of God is he is compassionate. Jesus is the compassionate Christ. He is compassionate towards the sick, the sinner, the hungry, and the hurting. Thank God for that.

This is what brought jesus from heaven to earth. He looked down saw us in our sin on the road to destruction. He was moved with compassion toward us and came to rescue us.

End of V1, He calls his disciples over to him. Why did Jesus call his disciples? Why didn’t he just perform a miracle w/o their input?

They are his disciples …disciples are students and servants. They are learners and doers. And Jesus was a teacher. He used opportunities like this to teach his disciples compassion.

He wanted to teach them to see the crowd as he saw them. He wanted his disciples to see the crowds need for food and meet that need.

The disciples were content w/ sending the people home w/o feeding them. It was not enough for the great teacher to be compassionate and to show compassion, he wanted to teach his disciples to be compassionate and help.

He is teaching us the same lesson today as we read this.

3. The challenging situation for the disciples. Mark 8:3

Jesus presents His disciples with a challenging situation. The challenging situation is how do you feed a crowd of starving people. His challenge to the disciples is do we feed them or send them away hungry?

The disciples had been challenged with a similar situation before in Mark 6 (34ff) with the feeding of the 5,000.

They will know what to do, right? They’ve seen this situation before; they will remember the previous feeding, won’t they? They know Jesus will pull off a miracle, right?

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