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. Mark 6:34 ESV
After this last year most of us are mentally and physically worn out. During the pandemic, many of us have lost friends and family to the virus and have gone through a time of isolation such as we have never known. Jesus had felt all of that and more after receiving the news that his cousin had been beheaded added to the fact that people were around him so much that we are told they did not even have a chance to eat. When Jesus suggested that they go somewhere to get away and rest I can picture the disciples doing a happy dance while shouting, “Amen!” But as Jesus stepped out of the boat at their getaway location he looked out and saw the crowd had followed them. You might think that He would see those people as a frustration or a burden. But, instead today’s verse says “He had compassion on them. because they were like sheep without a shepherd. ” He didn’t just see a crowd, He saw people – one by one. Considering that today there are 7.6 billion people in the crowd, aren’t you glad He knows you by name and wants to be your shepherd? And what does a shepherd do? – He makes sure the sheep get fed, and that is exactly what Jesus did next. Now back to the story. Remember that the disciples had not eaten since the day before and would have been delighted to see the crowds leave. But instead, Jesus invited those 12 hungry guys to become part of a miracle bigger than they could imagine.
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?” Mark 6:37
See as our shepherd the first thing Jesus does is teach us to shepherd others. Of course he could have just said, “Give me a loaf of bread!” and presto! – multiply it all by himself. Instead, He asks us all to see people as He does. The people around us are always just a mob, when we are more interested in our needs than theirs. But when we see people for who they are to Jesus, we will discover a compassion that makes sure that not one hungry child will get lost in the crowd!