Summary: When Jesus saw people he valued them, felt for them and did what he could to help them.

Title: The Trouble with People

Text: Mark 6:30-44 / John 6:1-14

Thesis: When Jesus saw people he valued them, felt for them and did what he could to help them.


Recording artist Seth Glier sings in his The Trouble with People” album, “The trouble with people is they drive me nuts…”

You may remember the line Charles Shultz penned for Charlie Brown, “I love mankind ... it's just people I can't stand!!” (Charles M. Schulz, The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 5: 1959-1960)

I think David Goodis nailed it when he said, “The trouble with people is they don't understand people.”

Hopefully we can learn a bit about understanding ourselves and other people from the account of The Feeding of the 5,000. The first thing we may surmise is:

I. People are Exhausting, Mark 6:30-32

Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest a while.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t have time to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place where they could be alone. Mark 6:31-32

When we read around the Mark account of the feeding of the 5,000 we see that there were at least three factors that contributed to the weariness Jesus and his disciples were feeling. From Mark we learn that they had just received word that John the Baptist had been beheaded by King Herod Antipas at the behest of the queen. (Mark 6:14-29) The tragic death of a friend or colleague or relative is exhausting. In addition, the disciples had just returned from their ministry tour and were giving Jesus an update on their work. Mark 6:6-13 and 30) Plus, there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and the disciples didn’t even have time to eat. (Mark 6:31)

The challenge for Jesus and his disciples is not unlike our own.

Tension: The challenge is the tension between work vs. relaxation.

It seems there is always too much to do.

A. Too much work

But many people saw them leaving and ran ahead along the shore and got ahead of them. Mark 6:33

A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick. John 6:2

It is not just a matter of having a backlog of things to we need to do, sometimes is feels like people are just asking too much. Consequently we feel like we are in a war zone.

I first became familiar with the term “R & R” during the Vietnam War. War is an intense and exhausting experience and service personnel were granted time for rest and recuperation / relaxation / recreation.

All US military personnel serving in Vietnam during hostilities there were eligible for one R&R during their tour of duty (13 months for marines, 12 months for army, navy and air force service personnel). The duration of R&R was five days leave to R&R destinations to places like Bangkok; Hong Kong; Manila; Singapore; Taipei; Tokyo… even Sydney, Australia and Hawaii.

So we understand how Jesus felt. He and his disciples were due some R & R. He suggested they take a break and get away to a quiet place so they can rest and recuperate from their weariness. Jesus wanted a little vacay away.

It was a great plan but despite our need for some space we do not always get it.

B. Too little solitude

Many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and the people from many towns ran ahead of them along the shore and got there ahead of them. Mark 6:33

Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. John 6:5a

The people who were tapping into Jesus’s ministry were relentless.

One of my favorite commercials is the one where the ice cream truck is coming down the street and the kids ask their mother if they can have some ice cream… she says, “No, we’re going to have dinner soon.” Just then the front door bursts open and the dad races after the ice cream truck. The picture ends with the truck continuing on down the street with the father and two kids chasing after it.

Jesus was something of an ice cream truck… he was an engaging teacher and miracle worker and they could not get enough. They were relentless in their pursuit of the ice cream truck.

Jesus and his disciples were exhausted so they got into a boat intending on arriving on the other side of the lake where they would get a little R & R.

However there would be no R & R on the other side.

II. People need Compassion, Mark 6:33-34

Jesus saw the crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. Mark 6:34

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