Read: Mark 6
Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. (Mark 6:34, NLT)
Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, had just been beheaded, and most likely, Jesus was grieving John’s loss when he suggested to his disciples, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” (Mark 6:31, NLT) Of course, both Jesus and his disciples were in an incredibly busy season of ministry and the needs of the crowds were emotionally draining, but add the sorrow of this personal loss to an already demanding situation and you have the perfect storm of spiritual and emotional exhaustion.
Yet when the needy crowds found Jesus in his place of retreat, he responded in a way most of us would find impossible under such an exhausted state: He has compassion on them. He saw their need. He saw their vulnerability—they were like shepherd-less sheep, unprotected, unfed, unguided. So Jesus tapped into a source of inner reserve of grace and “began teaching them many things.” (Mark 6:34, NLT) Then he performed one of the outstanding miracles of the Bible by feeding “five thousand men and their families” from five loaves of bread and two fish. (Mark 6:41-44, NLT) And, as if he needed to do anything else to prove his deity, Jesus topped it all off by walking on the water. (Mark 6:47-52, NLT)
So what are we to make of all this, other than Jesus was not only a great guy, but without a doubt, God come in the flesh? Let me offer three things for you to consider:
First, Jesus’ compassion for people reveals the heart of God for you. If Jesus could set aside his own emotional grief and physical tiredness to minister to hurting, hungry and helpless people, you can be certain that nothing will get in the way of him coming to your aid, too.
Second, Jesus’ willingness to find a place of retreat to refresh the tired spirits of both he and his disciples is a reminder that you, too, ought to honor the rhythm of renewal the Creator has hardwired into your DNA. If even the Son of God got tired, if even the Creator of the Universe rested from his work on the seventh day, perhaps you’re not so important and indispensable to interrupt your busyness to renew yourself once in a while. Rest is an act of worship that honors your Designer.
Third, Jesus’ willingness to interrupt his grief and take a time out from his time out to minister to hurting people shows that the best therapy for what ails you is to find someone worse off than you and serve them. God never calls you to deny your pain or ignore your woundedness, but at some point, serving others is God’s prescription for our own recovery.
Mark 6:34 ends by saying, “Jesus began teaching them many things.” He can teach you a few things, too!
What a person should do if he felt a “nervous breakdown” coming on? “Lock up your house, go across the railroad tracks, find someone in need, and do something for them.” ~Karl Menninger
What If God Took Over?
No matter what you are facing today, God’s therapy is the cure for what ails you. So which of these three things that Jesus teaches you do you most need to lean into today? Do you simply need to marinate in God’s compassionate love for you? Do you need to honor the Creator’s rhythm of renewal? Or do you need to find someone worse off than you and do something for them? Whatever God shows you to do, just do it!