From Lynda Lindsey
And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When He went ashore He saw a great crowd, and He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And He began to teach them many things. Mark 6:32-34
Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted His people and will have compassion on His afflicted. Isaiah 49:13
...I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. ... I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me. John 10:10(b)-11;14
Jesus and the apostles, traveling by boat, sought a private place to momentarily withdraw from the exertions of ministry. They needed time to debrief from a completed mission and to rest and replenish their bodies with sleep and food. However, many people from the surrounding towns recognized the men and ran ahead to intercept them upon arrival. When Jesus saw the great crowds assembled, He had compassion on them, comparing them to sheep without a shepherd. Compassion, from a word meaning to suffer with, involves sympathy, sorrow, and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
Instinctively sheep band together for safety, are easily frightened, and run from perceived danger. When the lead sheep move, the others follow, which can be unfortunate if the sheep head toward danger or become scattered. Good shepherds keep close watch on their flock; they are compassionate and tender caregivers, able to oversee and provide for the big-picture needs as well as individual needs of the sheep. Grass, water, and shelter are primary necessities, along with guarding against illness, injury, sickness and predators, plus overseeing the birthing lambs and caring for any orphans.
Jesus, the ultimate Good Shepherd is compassionate and merciful. He is good, righteous, just, trustworthy, and selfless to the point that he laid down His life to save His sheep. He is our protector and provider. Jesus nurtures us, giving us everything necessary for abundant life, life that overflows with His goodness and grace. Tenderly he feeds His flock God’s life-giving words. Have you need of a shepherd? A good shepherd? One that’s caring and compassionate? Listen carefully: Jesus is calling your name, issuing you a personal invitation. He is a tender teacher; He wants to school you in the many facets of His love. Won’t you please respond?