When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. Mark 6:34 NABRE
Jesus and His disciples are heading to a deserted place for some much needed rest. When the word got out that Jesus is taking off by boat the people anticipate where He will go and ran there on foot, arriving before them. By the time Jesus and His disciples land, the shore is no longer deserted but lined with a vast crowd. Their hope for a retreat is sabotaged, but instead of reacting with exasperation, Jesus is moved with pity at the sight of the needy crowds. Jesus seems to get emotional, He has a reaction of compassion for the people. Jesus recognizes that the people are like sheep without a shepherd. The people of God are often compared to sheep, an animal that depends on a shepherd, without a shepherd sheep are completely lost. Shepherdless sheep are likely to scatter, get lost, quickly become vulnerable to wolves and other predators. When leadership fails for sheep it is very likely they will lose their life. Israel experienced years and years of shepherds who care more for themselves than the people. The prophet Ezekiel proclaims “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been pasturing themselves! Should not shepherds pasture the flock?” (34:2) Jesus knew He was to become their shepherd and would lead them to God, as the prophets had promised.
Jesus of course calls many to be followers and many more to be shepherds. We should always be aware of those who are needy and rather than being exasperated by their need we should have compassion.
Are you in need of a shepherd? Are you able to lead others?We should always be aware of those who are needy and rather than being exasperated by their need we should have compassion. Click To Tweet
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