In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. – Mark 8:1-3
Mark doesn’t specifically locate the area where these events occurred, but biblical scholars believe that the location is somewhere in the Decapolis region, East and Southeast of the Sea of Galilee.
Looking at verse 1, it says the multitude was great. Think back to the times when the scribes and Pharisees tried to blemish Jesus’ reputation and undermine His authority. They were saying the power He had was from Satan and started suggesting that He was out of His mind. I think their attempts were of little avail.
Also think about what type of people these were. They were common people, mainly Gentiles. They were probably a more hardcore type of people than in most cities. But Jesus humbled Himself and made Himself of no reputation encouraging these hardcore people to come to Him for life and grace.
Now look at verse 2.
I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: – Mark 8:2
All the people (including the disciples) had not eaten for three days. I’m sure it was not easy following Jesus in the hilly country and listening to His teachings. There may have been some that brought food with them but by this time it was probably all gone and they still had to go back home, which for many would be a long distance. Still, they continued with Jesus and did not think about leaving until he dismissed them.
When a person is very passionate and has a true zeal about something, hardships like hunger take a back seat. Remember what Jesus told Satan when He was tempted to turn stones into bread.
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. – Matthew 4:4
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. – John 6:35
Jesus has compassion for all that are in want and in dire straits. He has even more for those who give up almost everything to follow and serve Him.
I have compassion on the multitude. – Mark 8:2
The religious leaders sure didn’t. They looked down upon them (especially the Gentiles) as second class citizens. Jesus looked upon them with pity and tenderness. They were His main concern.
they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: – Mark 8:2
If we go through hardships or experience loss for Christ’s sake, He will take care of us.
but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. – Psalm 34:10b
Finally look at Jesus’ sympathy in verse 3.
And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. – Mark 8:3
In no way could Jesus have sent them home fasting. It is not His character to send anyone away empty. Christ’s time to act for the relief of His people was when things were brought to the last extreme. When they were ready to faint He provided for them. And He will for us.
Do you have compassion? What are we to do?
- Pray that God will give you Christ-like compassion. Pray that God will put opportunities in your path.
- Look for opportunities to serve others. Have compassion on others that are in need.
- Show God’s love.
- Share about God. Witness!! Get ‘r’ done.