March 17, 2021
Dear Praying Team,
Thank you again for praying today for our prodigals and for revival. Our God has a true Shepherd’s heart. He longs to save, restore, and care for His sheep. “The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion” (Ps.116:5).
Compassion is a beautiful quality that Jesus perfectly exemplified for us as he lived among the needy. Compassion requires one to draw alongside, to be in the dirt and grim with the sufferers. This was certainly true of our Savior.
The definition of compassion in Strong’s Concordance, “to have the bowels yearn,” can be rather confusing, though. Rather than speaking of a literal organ, it is referring to your inward sympathy, pity, and heart for those who are in need.
The story of Mark six is a great example of true compassion. Jesus and his newly selected disciples had not had it easy. Along with the relentless, hectic pace of life, they experienced total rejection in Jesus' hometown of Nazareth. Instead of believing Jesus, the people had so thoroughly refused both His message and His presence that they had actually tried to kill Him. Then the message arrived about the brutal murder of Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist.
After the trauma of these events, Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile” (Mk. 6:31). He recognized the need for body and soul to have space to grieve and to heal, to rest and be replenished.
However, the people saw them leave, and of course, followed them. As Jesus looked upon the thousands of people milling around on the sandy desert, “He had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he taught them many things.” His rest would have to come another day because His priority was the need of the people. Jesus fed their souls. He gave them truth. He taught them with love.
This story shows His heart of pure gold on full display. He was moved with compassion because they were like hopeless, shepherdless sheep. They were destitute, so Jesus provided nourishment for their souls. They were empty so Jesus filled them. They lacked guidance and direction, so Jesus drew them back to the fold. He is the Shepherd of all shepherds.
Maybe, this is where you find yourself today — wandering, lonely, and running on empty. If you are not careful, life will drain you dry. The world system is designed to do so. Satan is “the god of this world” and he will keep you running from one thing to another until you find yourself exhausted and spent. Satan’s goal is to drag you down and away from God: promising everything but giving you nothing. The Shepherd Jesus sees you and your needs. His heart moves with compassion for you, just as it did with the multitude long ago.
On that day, the people were also hungry. Literally. Jesus performed a miracle with two fish and five loaves and fed them all. They were all satisfied and had plenty to spare. What happened physically in this story can serve as a spiritual lesson. He can satisfy us. He can perform a miracle of nourishment for you right now. He can fully meet your needs today.
Perhaps you aren’t feeling like the hungry people in this story. Maybe you are well-rested and filled, your needs have been met. But lift your eyes because there are many needy hearts around you. Maybe God is asking you to shepherd them. As you cultivate compassion and reach out to meet them in their present needs, you will become a reflection of the true Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Love in Him,
Bryan and Rachel