March 05, 2006

Powerful Compassion

Mark 9:1-10

Jesus ... said, "I have compassion for these people; they ... have nothing to eat." Mark 8:1-2


Mark describes a serious situation. For three days a huge crowd of people had followed Jesus into the wilderness, listening to his teaching. But now they were far from home, and they needed something to eat.

In response to this crisis Jesus did a remarkable thing. With only a little fish and bread, he miraculously fed every person till they were completely satisfied. There were even seven basketfuls of leftovers!

As Mark explains, Jesus was motivated by compassion to do this miracle for these people. They had come to him because they'd wanted to hear a great Teacher. In the end, they had met not only a great Teacher but, even more important, Someone who loved them deeply. They knew this not just because Jesus said it but also because he showed it. He was concerned even about their daily needs.

They didn't know yet that Jesus had come to show his compassion in an even more profound way: by dying for our sins. His miracle on this day was just a little taste of why he had come into this world.

This passage is a wonderful snapshot of the heart of Jesus. Jesus didn't simply teach about love; he made the ultimate loving sacrifice for us. Today we might feel alone in the wilderness, battling our struggles or fears. But it's a powerful comfort to know his love for us.

Lord Jesus, thank you for giving up your life on our behalf. We confess that you are the living bread. Please nourish us with your life-giving grace and forgiveness. Amen.

About the author — Kevin DeRaaf

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