“And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34).
This verse noted Jesus’ compassion when he saw the crowd. The reason? Jesus saw them as sheep without a shepherd. This description harks back to the Old Testament especially in Numbers 27:17 and Ezekiel 34:5, 23, which pictured God’s people as helpless, leaderless, defenseless, directionless exposed to the perils of sin and spiritual destruction. The theme of these two OT passages of the shepherd is closely linked to the wilderness. For example, Jesus, like Moses, leads his people into the wilderness (Num. 27:17); and Jesus, like David, provides rest for them (Ezek. 34:23). It is significant that God appointed Joshua as shepherd, whose name in the Septuagint (the OT Greek version) is Jesus (see also Heb. 4:8 which translated Joshua as Jesus).
But our Lord Jesus did not just stand there and do nothing. He began to teach the people about the Kingdom of God and healed many (Luke 9:11; Matt. 14:14). It is my conviction that if we look at people through His eyes, we will not only have compassion for their souls but we will also be moved to share the good news of salvation with them.
Recently I felt an urgency to share the gospel with my older sister who is now in her mid-seventies. She suffers from an acute rheumatoid –arthritis (a chronic disease which causes inflammation and pain of the joints) for many years. Her condition is getting worse as the years go by. She has heard the gospel before, but for some reason did not respond to its call. The opportunity came when I heard that she was hospitalized for treatment. I visited and shared with her the simple gospel message. When I asked her whether she wanted to make right with God, she responded immediately and prayed with tears of repentance and gratitude to the Lord. What a joy it was to see a soul being added into the fold of God!
I am sure many of you have friends, colleagues, relatives and loved ones who are still outside the fold of God. It is also your prayer that all of them would be saved one day. I pray that the Lord will enable you to see them through His eyes. As you do, you will be moved to do something about it. Do not be discouraged, if they did not respond immediately. Though the context of the passage refers to the hope of Israel for their deliverance from Exile, yet we could also apply it to our situation. We can also hope for the salvation of our loved ones as we faithfully sow the seed of the gospel.
“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psa 126:5, 6).
Rev. Mark Tay