Mark 6

“And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.” (v. 34)

Several things from this verse just sort of “jump out” at us at the reading of it, but one thing sort of out shines them all; Jesus’ “answer” to their dilemma was to “teach” them. We see, in this chapter, that Jesus used this method of reaching the people several times, and for various reasons. Note that in v. 2, he went into the synagogue to “teach” and not to “preach”; this is His usual pattern, by the way. Then, in verse 6, His “answer” to their unbelief was to “teach” them the Truth. Jesus puts much emphasis on teaching Himself, but sends the disciples out to “preach” repentance, the same message that John the Baptist preached. (vs. 7-12). Then, here, in v. 34, Jesus’ compassion compelled Him to teach. When He saw them confused, and lost, as sheep with no shepherd, His remedy for them was teaching. Compassion upon the multitudes will move us to act, and to do many things, but the paramount thing we can do for them is to teach them Truth. It is compassionate to teach, and it is compassion that moves us to do so. A good teacher will be a compassionate person, and will be successful in his field; on the other hand, a compassionate person will be a good teacher. The two work together to promote each other.

Let’s review a bit here; Jesus, after healing the wild man of Gadara, returned “to His own country” and was not well received, which prompted his statement in v. 4. He then went about “teaching” as a counter to their unbelief, and as a response to their rejection. As Jesus taught, He increased in compassion, and as His compassion increased, He taught all the more. To be able to teach also requires a knowledge of what we are attempting to teach. The compassion sort of gets things going in the right direction, then compels us to learn so that we too can teach. So what is our duty and our joy? It is to learn the Word of God, and to know the Lord personally so that we can effectively and accurately teach others of His great and mighty works, with salvation being at the top of the list of things to teach. A closeness with our Lord will teach us much, and prepare us for a better and more effective ministry in our lives, and in the lives of others. This closeness cannot be accomplished until we “abide in” the Word of God and in Jesus Himself. The better we know Him, the better our chances are of emulating Him and of glorifying the Father.

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