Year 2 Day 336
Read - Mark 8:1-3
Message - Alan Burke
"You’ve told me that story before!” Ever said something like that? Or maybe you’re just to polite to say anything and listen to it all over again in order to not cause offence. Well today we come to Mark’s gospel and we think of another feeding of a multitude, some have argued that Mark just got a little confused and this is just a repeated the stories, or rather recycled what happened, reworking it into this setting, in what is called a doublet. Yes there are similarities between the feeding of the five thousand and this feeding of the four thousand but there are also differences.
Mark’s intention by including another account of Jesus feeding a multitude, is to help us understand something significant. We have already learn and we know of Jesus power over creation and his creative power so that’s not the thrust of what we are to take away, rather it it is here to help us to understand that Jesus has come for those who by birth are the people of God, but those who are not. He has come to redeem all who will repent and believe, it doesn’t matter if they were part of God’s covenant people are those who were not. For God is the God of the Jews but also the God of the Gentiles to (Rom 3:29) and all who received him, to those who believe in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (Jn. 1:12).
Jesus still in the Decapolis, and once more we have Jesus surrounded by a large crowd, there’s nothing new in this, but once more, to see the compassion of Jesus. The word that is used here for the compassion of Jesus means to be moved deeply within from the seat of emotions. The greek word for compassion is derived from entrails or vital organs, like you feel it in your belly being so moved with what you see or hear. This compassion of Jesus as he looks at the crowed is of a gut-wrenching emotion on their plight.
Here with this crowd, Jesus looks at them and has compassion. We might think sure that’s not really a big deal but a word that could possibly help us, a word that we have been all to familiar with is that of ‘sectarian’. There was prejudice, discrimination and hatred all in a big mixing pot in various measures between Jews and Gentiles. To the first readers and hearers of this gospel, when told of the compassion of Jesus towards a crowd such as this would have been earth shattering. It would have been so striking, a Jew, but not only a Jew, the Son of God, the long awaited Messiah of God’s people having compassion on such as these.
They were those who were outsiders, those who were not part of the people of God. So is our compassion confined to ‘us’? On a purely practical and temporal sense do we just have compassion on those who are like ‘us’? Do we try to love our neighbour as ourselves as long as they are like ‘us’? If that’s the case then we need to repent, plain and simple we need to repent. The example of Jesus here confronts us with the extent of what our compassion should be like, even for those who are not like ‘us’!
Next, the God that we come before this day is one of compassion. His compassionate character is revealed to us in that we are needy and He gives us aid. It is not that our bellies our empty this day although yours might be rumbling, but it is that his compassion is show towards us in and through the person and work of Jesus Christ, the compassion of God incarnate, who has provided for us eternally though the salvation He achieved as He atoned for the sin of all who will repent and believe on the cross. The compassion of God is that we might be saved from our sin!
Q90 How is the Word to be read and heard, that it may become effectual to salvation?
That the Word may become effectual to salvation, we must attend thereunto with diligence, (Prov. 8:34) preparation, (1 Pet. 2:1–2) and prayer; (Ps. 119:18) receive it with faith and love, (Heb. 4:2, 2 Thess. 2:10) lay it up in our hearts, (Ps. 119:11) and practice it in our lives. (Luke 8:15, James 1:25)