Summary: Come, hear your Shepherd, Jesus Christ, calling to you. His heart goes out to shepherdless sheep. What comfort and care his voice brings in his Word and Sacrament! Parts: A. He makes you his first concern. B. He takes care of you as his voice teaches you.

Text: Mark 6:30-34

Theme: The Shepherd’s Heart Goes Out to You

A. He makes you his first concern

B. He takes care of you as his voice teaches you

Season: Pentecost 9b

Date: August 2, 2009

Web page:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit reveals our Savior, Jesus Christ is Mark 6

"The Apostles come together to Jesus and reported all to him as many things as they had done and as many things as they had taught. He says to them, "Come, you, yourselves alone, to a secluded place and rest a little." For the comers and goers were many, and there was no suitable time even to eat. They went away by boat to a secluded place by themselves.

"Many saw them going and knew [what was happening]. They raced together there on foot from all the towns and came to them. Coming out, he saw a large crowd and his heart went out to them, because they were as sheep without a shepherd. And he began teaching them many things." (Mark 6:30-34)

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?" (Luke 15:4 NIV). Jesus began one of his parables with those words. At another time he said, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep . . . I know my sheep and my sheep know me" (John 10:11, 14 NIV).

In today’s text, Jesus is not telling a story about a shepherd. He is not calling himself a shepherd either. Rather we see him acting as the Shepherd he truly is. The Holy Spirit through the words Mark wrote reveals to us our Savior’s shepherd heart. His shepherd heart goes out to the sheep, sheep that are shepherdless without him. They are his first concern. He gives them real life and real food as he teaches them. For his voice calls out to them.

And dear friends, his heart goes out to each of you as well. That’s the theme to meditate on this week: The Shepherd’s heart goes out to you. He makes you his first concern. That’s part one. And he takes care of you as his voice teaches you. That’s part two. He is your shepherd. You, dear friend, are his sheep.

A. He makes you his first concern

1. How were we like shepherdless sheep?

As we join Jesus in the text, the disciples are returning from the mission trips he had sent them on. He had sent them out two by two to the towns of Galilee to preach repentance and help the sick and demon possessed. We talked about that last week. Now the Apostles report to Jesus all these things. But there’s no time to rest. People keep coming and going. Just finding time to eat doesn’t work out.

So Jesus tells them to come away with him to a quiet, secluded spot where they shouldn’t be bothered. There they can rest, and he can teach them privately. They get in the boat to cross over the Sea of Galilee to the shores less populated. But the people see them and realize where they’re headed. They race along the shoreline, the crowd growing as they pass each town.

They arrive to where Jesus and his disciples landed. What is Jesus to do when he sees them? Tell them to come back another time when he has an opening in his day-planner? Simply ignore them? Give them a quick word and send them on their way? Jesus would have none of those options. Rather, moved in tender compassion, his heart goes out to them. For they are like sheep without a shepherd.

How pitiful shepherdless sheep are! Shepherdless sheep become easy prey for wolves, coyotes, and other predators. They can’t outrun them. They can’t outfight them. And what wolf would be scared off by a bleating: baaa? Sheep are left torn and bloodied and dead without a shepherd. In addition, shepherdless sheep can overgraze a pasture eating the grass down to the dirt so that it can’t grow back. If that’s the pasture they know, they won’t move on to another. If they survive the predators, how easily they could waste away starving to death without a shepherd! Thirdly, shepherdless sheep can even die due to their own filth. In many places today sheep need their rears regularly sheared. It’s called crutching. Otherwise manure sticks to the wool. Blowflies lay eggs in these dags, and within a day the maggots begin burrowing into the sheep’s skin. A fly-blown sheep is a sickening sight. How pitiful shepherdless sheep are!

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