Mark 6:30–34 (ESV) – 30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 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. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 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.
The crowds that followed Jesus were relentless. Jesus and the disciples had great difficulty getting away from the masses to rest and eat. Jesus’ healing miracles and other wondrous things were causing quite a stir among the people so that everyone wanted to see him. Unfortunately, many only wanted to see Jesus because they were hoping to see him perform great wonders or because he was handing out free food (cf. John 6:25-27), not because they were believing in him.
We might expect Jesus to tire of the crowds and their wrong motivations for following him. After all, they were just a nuisance. However, that is not what we see. We read that Jesus saw the people and he had compassion on them. They were like sheep without a shepherd. They had not leader to teach and guide and protect them. They needed one. Jesus could be their Shepherd if they would follow. So, he began to teach them many things.
Let us not grow weary with others, but let us also have compassion on others and continue to point them to the One true Shepherd.
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