Friday, March 20, 2009


Mark 6:30-34
Jesus’ disciples return from their mission and they gather with Jesus to report all the things they did. As usual, a crowd begins to gather very quickly and Jesus isn’t able to debrief the disciples. In fact, once again, they are so crowded that they can’t even get a meal on the table. So Jesus suggests a private retreat for the thirteen of them.

They head off in their boat to a private place but the crowds are almost like the modern paparazzi. They see the direction the boat is heading and take off running. By the time Jesus and the disciples arrive at their getaway spot, there is a huge crowd waiting for them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.

This verse means a lot to me as a pastor. Jesus has an agenda. He really wants to get his guys away so they can recover from their ministry trips. He wants to hear about the things they did. And he wants to teach them. He can’t escape the crowd and instead of being frustrated and angry at the people who just won’t leave him alone, he has compassion on them! The only times I’ve ever been in situations somewhat similar to this have been in India. Walking through rural villages and towns we have been surrounded by large crowds of people. They bump you. They reach for you. They stop you from moving ahead. They are anxious just to be near you. It can become rather frustrating. But Jesus had compassion on them. Will I have the same kind of compassion on the people around me who have needs?

What reason does Mark give for Jesus’ compassion? They were like sheep without a shepherd. I once talked to a shepherd in Romania about what happens to sheep if the shepherd is removed. He told me that they begin to mill about aimlessly. They have no direction. They don’t know where to go to find grazing or water. They will become increasingly confused and continue to mill around until they are overcome with exhaustion, lie down, and die. All this while there may be good grazing ground very nearby.

So are the crowds who do not have Jesus. These people around Jesus had no direction. Their lives were aimless. They didn’t know what to do or where to find life. And so are the people who live around us every day. They don’t look like they are lost. They don’t appear to be starving. But they don’t know where to go to find what they need for true life.

Here’s the kicker for me. Faced with a huge crowd of people who were like sheep without a shepherd, Jesus began to minister to them. What did he do? He taught them! He didn’t organize recovery programs for them. He didn’t put together activities to help them feel like their lives had meaning. He didn’t entertain them. He taught them! It’s obvious that there are a lot of pastors and a lot of churches who think people need something more interesting and more fun than teaching. I think I’ll follow Jesus’ example. That way I can be sure that at least something of value is being accomplished.


At 9:50 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Greetings Pastor Dave!

I LOVED your post here. It is good to know I am no longer aimlessly traveling through life.

Life is tough right now and without my loving Shepherd, I would so be in trouble!

Praise God for His unfailing love, abundant mercies, and faithfulness!

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Shiloh Guy said...


You say it well for so many people! Life IS tough right now for so MANY people in so many ways. The Good Shepherd calls. If we listen to his voice and follow in his ways he will take care of us.


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