Formations lesson for March 16: The Gospel and Proclamation
February 28 2003 by David Stratton , Mark 6:30-44

Formations lesson for March 16: The Gospel and Proclamation | Friday, Feb. 28, 2003

Friday, Feb. 28, 2003

Formations lesson for March 16: The Gospel and Proclamation

By David Stratton Mark 6:30-44

The desperate woman on the phone could not pay her electric bill. After hearing her plight, the pastor, a friend of mine, said, "Electricity is not a necessity."

"Excuse me?" the woman replied.

"Electricity is a luxury that many people in the world live without," he said.

The woman hung up.

Do you think that conversation drew the desperate woman closer to the Lord? In Mark 6 the compassionate ministry of Jesus and the disciples drew a crowd of needy people who heard the good news proclaimed.

Compassion that meets spiritual needs Jesus sent out the Twelve to preach, cast out demons and cure diseases (Mark 6:7-12). They returned and reported their experiences to Jesus of meeting spiritual and physical needs (v. 30).

He led them to a boat so they could find a quiet place to rest. However, a large crowd followed and waited for them on shore. The people reminded Jesus of sheep without a shepherd. Moved with compassion He taught them many things (v. 34).

Jesus saw a spiritual need and His concern moved Him to meet that need by teaching the people.

Compassion that meets physical needs The Lord's compassion did not end with meeting spiritual needs. Miraculously, Jesus took five pieces of bread and two fish and He fed the hungry crowd of thousands who did not even ask to be fed (vss. 35-44). The Lord broke the bread and divided the fish and the disciples distributed the food to everyone.

Jesus did not direct His disciples to check people out and to feed only those who were "deserving." As He did on the cross, Christ acted graciously, treating people better than they deserved.

The Lord saw a physical need and His compassion moved Him to meet that need.

Running to the compassionate One of the most striking features of this passage (besides the miraculous feeding) is the excitement created by the ministry of Jesus and the disciples. They left for a quiet place because so many people were coming and going (v. 31). Yet a crowd "ran on foot" ahead of them (v. 33). We do not know how far they ran. What is clear is that the people went to considerable effort to follow, not just Jesus, but also the disciples.

Mark states that the people saw them and recognized them and ran ahead of them (v.33) - not Him, but them. The disciples' ministry of meeting spiritual and physical needs in the region (Mark 6:7-12) had an impact upon the people.

Compassionate obedience to Jesus' mission on the part of His followers drew people to themselves and ultimately to the Lord.

Jesus and the disciples compassionately met spiritual and physical needs and the needy went running after the compassionate ones.

Who is running to us? The message of Jesus often presented such a challenge that people walked away. Indeed John's account of the feeding of the 5,000 tells us that Jesus, on the next day, chastised those He fed because they followed Him only for the food (John 6:26). When He explained the radical commitment involved in being a disciple, many turned and followed Jesus no more (John 6:66).

The disciples helped Jesus as He preached to the crowds and worked miracles among them.

Were all of these ministry efforts wasted since the recipients eventually rejected Jesus? No! Through their compassionate ministry Jesus and the disciples drew a crowd that heard the good news.

That miraculous testimony of obedience still challenges followers today. Besides, the text states many, not all, turned away.

Drawn by our compassion, may the needy run to us to hear the good news of Jesus.

A pastor told me that some in his congregation are concerned that the church is being very generous with the benevolence fund and the food pantry. The word is getting around among the needy and they are beginning to flock to the church seeking help.

The pastor hopes those concerned members are correct. He prays that some, drawn by obedient compassion, stay and are transformed by the good news of Jesus.

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2/28/2003 12:00:00 AM by David Stratton , Mark 6:30-44 | with 0 comments
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