By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
After Jesus found out John the Baptizer had been murdered, He was concerned. Not in the way most of us would be concerned, but He was concerned about the void John’s death left. John had been preparing the world for His coming, and he had been baptizing those who believed. His teachings were the inspired word of God, and Jesus was focused on saving souls.
Mark 6:30-34 (ESV): The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.
Immediately seeing a need, Jesus began to teach the lost people the word of God. In Matthew’s account (Matthew 14:14), he highlights the fact Jesus began to heal the people who were there. Jesus was worried about their physical and spiritual body. He taught the word of God to deal with the soul, and he healed their body to handle the physical.
Mark 6:35-37 (ESV): And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?”
His disciples were not filled with the same amount of compassion and mercy for the lost. They understood they were not obligated to help anyone more than they already had. As a result, the disciples were ready to send the people on their way to fend for themselves. Can we find ourselves in similar situations where we teach someone the word, and if they do not come to Jesus, we send them on their way? The word for compassion in Scripture is defined as mercy. To show compassion requires us to go beyond the call of duty. The disciplines felt they met the requirement of teaching the word of God to the people, so they did not see the need to go any further. Jesus showed us the effort He put in was more than what anyone would expect. No one would expect someone to feed five thousand people, yet Jesus fed them. The amount of time it took Jesus to heal each sick person was likely exhausting and cumbersome, yet He did it. Jesus showed mercy to the lost because He was focused on savings souls and He wants us to do the same thing. Be patient, show compassion, and forgive those who sin against you; because God affords the same mercy to you.