Key verse: Mark 6:34
Big idea: The Son of God lived with compassion.
Compassion is a big word. The Greek word is even bigger: σπλαγχνίζομαι (splanchnizomai). If we look at its parts com/con (with) and passion (feeling) it becomes apparent that compassion is when my heart is moved by your situation. This is not our normal mode of operation. Generally, we are not moved by things at a distance, but that only those things which affect us directly. In fact, the more pressure we experience personally, the less we even notice the suffering of other people. But this is not the world of Mark 6. Here, Jesus had been serving for an extended period of time, His cousin John the Baptist had just been killed, and He was just looking for a brief reprieve. The Scripture tells us they had not even had a moment to eat, so they got onto the boat to get away from the crowds.
But they followed Him to the other side. When He saw the people, scattered like sheep without a shepherd, and His heart moved for them. What did He give them? He did not crush the Roman forces. He did not heal all of their sick. He taught them. What they needed for their chaos and confusion was a Word from God and that is what He gave them first.
We ought to be people of compassion but we cannot fall into the world's definition of the term. Compassion is not saying, "I'm okay and you're okay." Compassion is not loving a person's actions because you love them. It is loving them enough to apply the Word of God to their sorest places and deepest wounds. It is love enough to tell them the truth, that sin kills and Jesus saves. When our heart breaks with them, because Jesus' does, then we can give them Jesus to mend it.
Discussion idea: Some Christians take black and white issues and make them gray, while others take gray areas and make them black and white. How does the model of Jesus' Word-centered compassion repudiate both of these errors?
Prayer focus: Lord, make my heart like Yours. Like King David, may I weep over the things that make you weep and shout over the things that bring you joy. May the suffering of people cut me to the core and may Your perfect answers be always on my lips.