Mark 6: A “Deeply Sorry” Giver

“All right,” Jesus said, “it’s time for a break.  Come away, just you, and we’ll go somewhere lonely and private.” . . . When Jesus got out of the boat he saw the high crowd, and was deeply sorry for them, because they were like a flock without a shepherd.” (6:31, 34)

Well, I am afraid I wouldn’t have been feeling “deeply sorry” for those crowds if it had been me.  Maybe, resentful.  Fed up.  Used.  I think I could have mustered up one good martyr syndrome at that point.  I think I would have gotten back in the boat and rowed faster, somewhere else.

I don’t like this sort of all-consuming busyness Jesus seemed to be in the middle of.  (Okay, maybe my ego does a bit, but that is a different post).  Crowds pressing in.  More and more demands on my time.  Everybody wanting something more from me.  I plain hate it.  It turns me into a grump.  It makes me less human and humane.

And I guess the more I think about it, it makes other people less human to me too.  They become a deadline or a need to fulfill or a to-do list item.  They become work.  I don’t like to admit that, but I don’t think I am alone in this pathology.

Jesus just wants a little recuperative time with friends.  This is absolutely essential for a healthy spiritual life.  And Jesus regularly took such time.  Maybe the constant crowds are what drove Jesus to seek solitude early in the morning and late at night.

Still, he saw their needs and was filled with compassion.

In one way, Jesus’ death didn’t first happen on a cross.  It happened as he stood at the edge of Heaven just before his birth when he “emptied himself” of his glory and took “the very nature of a servant” (Phil. 2:6-7).  Death occurred in the desert with Satan as he took the hard, sacrificial, life-giving way to recognition, power, and popularity.  Death happened once more this day on the seat of a small fishing boat as they pulled into a small port hoping to find solitude only to be greeted by the hungry masses looking for a meal.  Maybe compassion will not come until we begin to die to our own wills.

Easier said than done, I know.

What situation in your life today needs a “deeply sorry” response, not exasperation?  

Categories: Mark | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “Mark 6: A “Deeply Sorry” Giver

  1. Brian Hoover

    It’s the never-ending tug of the gospel. How much is too much? How much is not enough? Am I required to do anything in response to what Jesus did for me? Did my sins really hang Jesus to the cross? Although rest and solitude are necessary, serving others and extending the love of Jesus should be a natural response to a loving and courageous Savior that left everything, emptied himself, endured extreme humiliation, intense shock, profuse bleeding, and ultimately died in the most horrific, barbaric way possible.

    I often forget that Jesus sat at the side and feet of His Father. He knows how loving and accepting and how GREAT that seat is. He chose to leave that position for me and it probably wasn’t as easy. Even though he desired some alone time during His ministry, He could not stand the thought of other people not getting to know those feelings of being beside or at the feet of His Father one day. Therefore, he was pulled between rest for himself and a relentless rush toward sharing the good news with the hurting, lonely and those in despair.

    Unfortunately for me today, life gets in the way. My will, my schedule, my family, my priorities, my sports schedule, and my church activities fill up my schedule and I don’t have time to look at people and feel deeply sorry for them. Maybe it’s because I’m not all that excited about sitting at the feet of God myself. Maybe it’s because I’m just too busy filling my life with everything but God. Jesus’ feelings about this crowd are what took him to the Cross. He endured all of that because it bothers Him to think of us, or anyone, not being with His Father. Does it bother us that other people will not see the Father unless they see Him in us first? Does it make me shift my time, my priorities, or anything about me? I have found that balancing the message of the gospel with my personal, professional and family commitments is a constant battle. How can I serve others when I have my own family to serve? Isn’t that enough? How can I share (live life) the gospel with others when I barely have enough time to balance all of the other things in my life?

    It’s my prayer that all of us can learn to empty ourselves daily, have deep compassion for outsiders, and share this journey together.

  2. Melanie Semore

    There’s never enough time, never enough money to help everyone who needs help. I find myself helping some, giving some, but then I think, “I cannot feed (or clothe or provide care for) the whole world, so there has to be some limit, some line, right? So where is that line?

    Maybe it’s not about a line but about my attitude. The illustration you chose, Jason, of Mother Theresa, got my attention. I can’t imagine her ever saying or even thinking, “God, I have tended to 47 lepers today. That’s pretty good, isn’t it?”

    I know that rest is important, but I am afraid my exhaustion too often comes from busyness among the minutiae, not service among the lost sheep.

  3. Excellent points!

    Melanie: Yes, how we become tired is very important, isn’t it? I also like what you said about “line” and “attitude.” And I think you are right. I get very leery of lines. Lines have a way of shifting. They have a way of being drawn in convenient places. I tend to draw my lines in places that make sense to me in my time and place and economic bracket in the universe. Then someone else is a truly different place helps me see life from their perspective and I see how my line needs to move again. I think attitude is key. And so much harder in some ways. But maybe saner.

    Brian: You made me wonder if there is a realistic limit to how much good we can do. When you pare down your life to sixteen ways to serve others and all that is left is good, kingdom-advancing work, what else can be done? Won’t we come to a point when we can’t “trim anymore fat” from our schedules? I’m spit-ballin’ because this is where I am challenged the most spiritually.

  4. Eddy Efaw

    God spoke to me through these two thoughts above! I totally identify with the content of each of them.

    “Maybe it’s because I’m just too busy filling my life with everything but God. Jesus’ feelings about this crowd are what took him to the Cross”

    “I know that rest is important, but I am afraid my exhaustion too often comes from busyness among the minutiae, not service among the lost sheep.”

  5. V2, Many amazed by what Jesus teach. What have Jesus preach in Synagogue, I think, most Jesus’s wisdom lost in Council of Nicea.
    V11- How Christian described the verse in modern world.
    V12- They went out and preached that people should repent. So repent is a part of Christian salvation. Many said, it was by blood of Jesus, so doctrine in earlier and past-Jesus death is different thing.
    V23- The danger of oath, that why we should not limit ourself to do oath.
    Woman can be our honey also can be our poison, in this verse she is poison. Teach your daughter to be a honey, not poison.
    V26- The danger of ignorant, just because a word and lust, a high price need to be paid- Prophet John head.
    V34-35-I keep reading Jesus teach that, teach this, but NT is so thin. He preach until night in one day, yet so many village that he visited. Many preaching have lost..
    V56- So Jesus is becoming popular already, people started to make him as idol, no more preacher.

    • I lost you, Hifzan, on the Council of Nicea. Sorry.

      Repentance along with belief, confession, baptism, and a life of obedience (however imperfect that will inevitably be) are all parts of how a person shows they have “faith” in God to save them. By saying “faith” that implies a Christian is relying upon God to save them, not thinking that they can make salvation possible by themselves. The best was to understand Jesus and the Christian theology that came from him is that the works of a Christian are in response to the previously offered grace made available by the death and resurrection of Jesus. Traditional Christians are not going to want to describe salvation as a “Jesus” plus “human works” equation. We are only saved because of what God has done.

      About the “thin-ness” of the NT, you are exactly right. Checkout John 21:25 that says if all of the acts and words of Jesus were written down we would have more books than the world could hold. Maybe an exaggeration for effect but we get the point. The NT is not at all like Hadith (as I understand it). Christians are not trying to find and preserve any story about or speech from Jesus, as is done with Muhammad. All of these stories have theological points to them, not just history.

      You are feeling the tension that the Gospels put a person in. Is Jesus just a teacher or is he God? You are right that in the story we see people moving closer to accepting him as God.

      • Actually I can not accept human as God, if I can, I also can believe in Buddha, Kuan Yin, Krishna, Ahmadiyyah and Tao. also all of them has a miracle power. All also have their holy book, but how they described is more important to understand.

        Up to Mark 8, I see Jesus is just only a messenger and no more than that. Miracles is not a part of defining God, if take that as evidence, Adam has born without anything, Moses can cut the sea, and Solomon can lead spirit and demon.

        Even Moses run from pharaoh, now Jesus run from army, the similarity is too great. It just clash with the attribute of God the “All Powerful”. with fear of army, he is no more powerful, he may just have power.

        • I have to admit I am just not as familiar as I would like to be with any of the five you mentioned but the Buddha. What I do know is that the Buddha never claimed to be a god. And he never beat death through resurrection, nor do his followers claim he did. I see a significant difference there.

          And the miracles you associate with Adam and Moses are not miracles done by these men, they were miracles done by God in and around the life of these men. Jesus claims a miraculous power himself.

          But the biggest point is the last point you mention. I can see why you are having a hard time accepting the power of Jesus. You have a different concept of power than what he did. For Jesus love was the greatest power. Laying down one’s life was greater power than taking life. It takes more power to be able to destroy and yet not destroy. Jesus’ power is a transforming power that both saves the created object and destroys the sin and effects of sin from within the life of that created object. The way of Christ has nothing to do with armies and battles. If this is how you define power, yes, understanding and definitely accepting Jesus will be very hard.

          We are getting close to Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday here in America, that great civil rights leader who brought a fantastic wave of God’s kingdom back to this country by following the non-violent, love-conquers-hatred-and-force way of Jesus: “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. … Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” — MLK, “Where Do We Go From Here?” (1967)

  6. Pingback: » Don´t look behind-

  7. Courtney

    In chapters 5 and 6 I am struck by Jesus’ ability to truly see people. He does not see masses, he sees individual people. Just like the chorus of our prayers is ushered into the throne room of God and heard individually. The needs of humanity are great, but the capability of our God to truly SEE the individual is even greater. As we struggle with that, maybe the question we ask is not “how many people can I help?” but “who can I serve today?”.

    I am also struck by how closely belief and power are tied to one another. In his hometown, Jesus is struck by their unbelief and minimal healing was done. But as he sent out the apostles and people started to believe, great wonders were accomplished.

    I wonder how different our prayers would be if we really believed that God would do what we asked. If we pray with such confidence that we believe He has already done it.

    Lastly, I cannot help but point out that in v. 14. King Herod says he has heard Jesus’ Name. This is big. Jesus is becoming famous. Our job is to carry on that legacy, to be sure that Name continues to be heard throughout the world.

  8. Eddy

    Jason your thoughts on this chapter spoke to me on many levels. Thank you for sharing your gift of insight and writing with all who read this blog. I liked this thought especially today: “Jesus’ death didn’t first happen on a cross. It happened as he stood at the edge of Heaven just before his birth when he “emptied himself” of his glory and took “the very nature of a servant” (Phil. 2:6-7)

  9. “Jesus wasn’t able to do much of anything there – he laid hands on a few sick people and healed them, that’s all.”

    Everyday, in just about every class period, I have students mention a “few people” who are sick, often significantly, that we ask God to heal. And we would be ecstatic if they were, especially if it were done in a quick, miraculous way.

    And healing a “few people” was a bad day for Jesus!!! Wow! But I guess that is true when you cast out spirits, walk on water, multiply food, and leap over tall buildings!

    I just wonder what we miss because we do not have enough faith.

  10. “Jesus wasn’t able to do much of anything there.” He was limited by their lack of faith, which came from how well they THOUGHT they knew him. How much is my history with him–what I know, keeping me from experiencing what he is truly capable of doing in, around, for, and with me?

  11. Eddy

    “Who can I serve today?” Thank you for this reminder Courtney.

  12. I am struck by the astonishment and amazement early in this chapter.

    “Everyone who heard his [Jesus’] teaching was overwhelmed with astonishment.” (6:2)
    “He [Jesus] was amazed at the depth of their unbelief.” (6:6)

    They are drawn to Jesus’ teachings and wisdom. But once he is anything more than a good man with nice lessons, they couldn’t handle that. Yesterday and today, the same issue.

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