‘When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.’ Mark 6.34
It sounds so natural that Jesus would have compassion on the people, but the context of this passage makes it even more powerful. His disciples had just returned from a ministry trip without Jesus and they were keen to tell him everything they had seen – and Jesus was probably pretty keen to check they hadn’t done too much damage! However, even their meal times were being disturbed by people coming and going, and so Jesus left the crowds behind and went off with them for some rest and peace. He landed on the shore to get this quiet time with his friends but he was confronted, yet again, with a large crowd. Our first reaction would probably be desperation, but his was compassion. He saw the needs of the people and his heart went out to them.
It might be the case that you often wonder what God thinks of you? Is he tired of you constantly praying for things? Is he weary of seeing you again? Does he wish you could just get on with life? This verse reveals the nature of his heart – he looks at those who are struggling and his heart goes out to them. He looks at you in your struggles and his heart goes out to you.
We should never lose sight of his compassion for us, because once we do we are likely to assume that he condemns us and judges us, whereas he most certainly does not. His heart for us and for all those for whom we pray is compassion.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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