April 24, 2021
Mark 6:30-34 NIV
Mark 6:30-34 NIV
Smoky Mountain district
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 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.
What do you call people who keep pestering you? People who always want you to do something for them? People who even interrupt you at mealtime? Jesus called them "sheep without a shepherd."
In the sixth chapter of his Gospel, Mark tells us that Jesus and his disciples tried to escape the crowds who wouldn't leave them alone by sailing to the opposite shore of the Sea of Galilee. But alas, it was not to be. When they reached the shore, another crowd was waiting for them.
I suppose they could have rowed back from the shore to gain the needed privacy in the boat, but Jesus couldn't do that. He explained to his disciples that the people who were demanding his attention were sheep without a shepherd. So he taught, he healed, and he ended up feeding 5000 people with one boy's meager lunch.
Sheep without a shepherd. In his informative book, "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23," East African sheep rancher, Phillip Keller, writes, "No other class of livestock requires more careful handling, detailed direction, and meticulous care than do sheep."
We, the Good Shepherd's flock, need the guidance, the grace, and the mercy that only Jesus can provide. Without Jesus, we too are sheep without a shepherd. The good news is: no matter how often we implore Jesus to help us, to heal us, to forgive us, or to rescue us from a bad situation, he never loses patience with us. He never abandons us. He never ignores us. He is the Good Shepherd who cares for us just as Phillip Keller meticulously cared for his flock on the East African plains. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for assuring us that we never need to go through life as sheep without a shepherd. Amen