What do you think Jesus wanted to teach his disciples?
34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. ~Mark 6:34
One lesson is to have compassion. In general, I think if you polled most people, do you think you are compassionate, most would say yes. If I watch a movie and someone dies in the end, I cry. If I see a video of kids in Ethiopia dying of hunger, my heart is moved.
But compassion is not an emotional response. Compassion is shown by what Jesus did. He and his disciples had their plans. He saw the crowd. He set aside his plans. And he taught them all day even though it was not part of his schedule. And in the end, he figures, it is late and the crowd must be hungry so he feeds them. This is the picture of compassion. It involves much more than an emotional response. It involves obedience.
By comparison, you can quickly see that the disciples were not that compassionate.
35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” ~Mark 6:35-36
A late day became even later. Now they are really hungry and tired and probably frustrated. Send the people away. It’s a very natural, human response.
If being compassionate is the first lesson, the practical application of this is to expect a life of interruptions.
Following Jesus is a life of constant interruptions. Because following Jesus is completely unpredictable. One moment Jesus is teaching, the teaching ends, everyone is tired, then it’s time to get away, then a need arises, they are ambushed by a crowd, and all the plans go out the window. It’s a life of constant interruption.
I hate interruptions. I have my week planned out and the kids get sick or the babysitter gets sick.
All Christians are disciples of Christ. We are his disciples because we responded to his voice when he said, follow me. Follow me is not just a metaphor. It’s not following a lifestyle or a religious philosophy or modifying your worldview. I think he meant, follow me, literally. Because Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship.
As ones who are in a relationship with Jesus, we hear his voice and we respond to his voice. And as you follow Jesus and fellowship with him more intimately, we grow in compassion for others.