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Mark 094 - Leading to Action

But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 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 6:33,34

When it’s time to go, I immediately pull out my checklist. I have a routine that I developed while traveling for work. It’s a short, often repeated routine to make sure that I have everything I need before leaving.

It sort of looks like how the police pat down someone, except it’s done my yourself. I start with my chest, patting my shirt pockets, then my pants pockets. If I’m wearing a jacket, I repeat the process, but on the jacket pockets, both inside and outside.

I’m looking for my wallet, keys, phone, reading glasses, pens, boarding pass, anything that I might have put down. And now that I’m wearing a hat anytime I go outside, I’m also touching my head.

But these people didn’t stop to check for their keys or phones. They were so excited and enraptured about being with Jesus, that they immediately got up and ran along the shore. As Jesus and his apostles were trying to get alone for some much-needed rest and refreshment, the crowd was so wound up that they ran along the shore, telling people in the towns they passed that Jesus was near. This was their chance to be with him.

The crowd grew and grew as they followed the boats along the shoreline. Their excitement was infectious. They just couldn’t control or contain themselves.

When was the last time you felt that way? When you were so excited to meet someone, be with someone, that you lost at least a little bit of control and started talking fast? Your infectious excitement attracted others who caught your fever, dropped what they were doing and came along.

We don’t like this kind of unscheduled, undisciplined, unplanned life. It must fit within our schedule, be entered on the calendar, be planned. But there’s a time and place for almost uncontrolled excitement. And being with God is one of those times.

But this is way outside our expectations and experience when it comes to meeting with God today. It’s a quiet, somber, serious meeting with the lights dimmed, with low music in the background. We’re there, but our mind many times is somewhere else.

Now, there certainly is a time and place to be serious when it comes to meeting God. I get it. But where is the excitement for the chance to be with the King of the universe? To come into his presence?. To run after him, telling others about their opportunity to be with him?

And Jesus responds to that crowd, who has that kind of energy and anticipation. He stops and starts to teach them. He keeps this up for a while. This was not a minute to stop, shake hands, and speak to reporters. This was an extended time of teaching.

The people were exhausted by the flavorless teaching of the professional spiritual leaders of their time. Jesus was new, fresh, alive, exciting, engaging. When Jesus taught, he taught many things. He moved from topic to topic, from truth to truth, from illustration to illustration.

And why did Jesus do this? To bump up his numbers? To provide the media with some fresh footage to post on their website?

No, Jesus put his own schedule on hold because he had compassion on these people. This wasn’t an intellectual determination and decision. It was that he felt their lostness, their aloneness, their wandering, and needing someone to lead them.

They were like sheep without a shepherd. And sheep aren’t just dumb, they’re just plain stupid. They can’t lead themselves. There is no Alpha-male or lead female that other sheep can follow. No, sheep are like a blob that just sort of goes wherever the wind blows. They don’t know where to get grass to eat, and sometimes they don’t even know the good grass from the bad.

It’s easy to think of these people as poor country folk. Uneducated. Unsophisticated bumpkins. And we’re so much smarter, wiser, better educated, sophisticated.

They clearly see themselves as needing Jesus. But we’re less inclined to think about ourselves that way. They certainly need help, but we’re more independent. We can solve just about any problem, look up the solution on our phone.

But perhaps they were the wiser. They realized that they needed help. They needed Jesus.

What does the gauge on our spiritual tank read? Needing replenishment? Needing refilling? Needing rejuvenation? Needing revival?

The really smart thing is to realize our need and not to stop there. Let it lead to action. To following Jesus.


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