Monday, January 26, 2015

Jesus Teaches the People First, Dinner Later (A Reflection on Mark 6:30-34)

After Jesus sends out the twelves disciples for a mission, “the apostles returned and met with Jesus, and told him all they had done and taught” (Mark 6:30, GNB). The disciples must be excited but tired, and so they wanted to have a refreshing rest, away from the crowd. Jesus told them, “Let us go off by ourselves to some place where we will be alone and you can rest for a while” (Mark 6:31). “We” said Jesus. Jesus in his humanity also felt the need for a rest. They worked very very hard, don’t you think? God’s calling is not for us to sit back, relax and hoping for the best, right? We must “go” (Matthew 28:19) and work hard, then, only then we’re deserve to rest.

But “many people, however, saw them leave and knew at once who they were; so they went from all the towns and ran ahead by land and arrived at the place ahead of Jesus and his disciples. When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw this large crowd, and his heart was filled with pity for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:33-34). Jesus heart was yearned for the spiritual needs of the crowd flocking to him. Jesus was “moved with compassion” (NKJV). It is a feeling of strong-deep emotion acted with positive action. It is a costly, self-giving compassion. Why? Because Jesus saw them as a starving flock of sheep without a shepherd. They were like orphans with no one to care for them. They were leaderless. This is why, I convince, Jesus wasn’t annoyed but showed compassion.

There were a lot of religious teachers during Jesus time, but why they were still leaderless? Same as today, the people are “like sheep without a shepherd.” When I read this, I’m thinking of how many young people that I know of went to this and that event, jumping and singing, having fun and ‘empowered’ by almost hysterical prayers, come back home empty and their hearts and minds still hallow. There is something missing – God’s Word. Someone missing – Lord of the Word – in their lives. When the supposed teachers should feed the flock, they care more about church attendance, personal spiritual growth and success, defending the faith with all might and power, emphasising on musical worship, teaches church history and doctrines, and even doing social work – everything – everything (secondary) but feeding the people with God’s Word (primary). Where are the teachers who supposed to teach people the Word of God?

For a shepherd, a teacher, a leader the main thing is God’s Word. When I asked most people, which book of the Bible are you all studying now, they blurred. When I told a story of Jesus (basic) and asked do you remember reading this, I get silent treatment. When I read this one church mission statement: “Untuk mempersiapkan jemaat dengan Firman TUHAN” (To equip the church with God’s Word), I was so excited until I heard the preacher talked about his endless journey of accomplishments and successes. Teachers, if you read this, we need you to feed us with God’s Word. Sheep without a shepherd, and so the first thing Jesus does was “he began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34). Not complaining and whining about having no rest (or salary) but seeing people as God’s answer to our revival prayer. Not irritated by them but having a deep compassion with action like Jesus. Not feeding the five thousand with five loaves and two fish first but feeding the people with God’s Word first. Jesus teaches the people first.

Let continue Mark 6:35-44 in another article.
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