We often find ourselves in over our heads. Life has a way of crowding in on us. And it can take a huge toll on our personal health as well as our spiritual wellbeing. Both are necessary if we are to disciple others, we need to live the life of Christ before we can preach it. That’s not an easy thing to do, the disciples found that out and while it’s no easy thing the rewards can be tremendous and like anything that is worthy of God it carries a great responsibility as well. Now you may be thinking “why would I” get into this and “how do I get out”? Relax, Jesus isn’t asking you to do it alone. There’s a reason that the great commission is two by two and why the disciples rarely traveled alone, even Paul was usually accompanied by another disciple or a local who followed the Way. If you listen closely to the scripture you can see that Jesus first concern is not the people that are following Him but rather His disciples, 31 He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Because Jesus recognizes the fact that we need time to decompress, kingdom work is hard work and often dangerous. As disciples we need to take time off to be with the Lord. We need to recharge our spiritual batteries so to speak, as well as our physical ones, sleep is just as vital to our ministry as prayer is. God took a day off, Jesus frequently went off alone to pray and to be by himself. We are no different in our need for alone time, we need to rest. We also need to share our Joys and our frustrations with Jesus. It’s important to take not just your problems to the cross but also your joys. We need to repent for redemption, but life is not an endless series of forgive me God for my sins. We need to be thankful for our blessings as well. To rejoice “Praise God” in what it means to be children of the most high. The disciples knew this and despite being weary their excitement and joy because they were once again with their master is abundantly clear as we read the scripture. 30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. When I read this, I imagine them all talking at once and excited to be back, to tell Jesus about how many people they healed, and demons cast out, how people repented and called on God. I can just imagine them like children coming home from camp, excited about all the things they saw and did and the friends they made, eager to share it all with those that they love. The joys and the heartaches the laughter and the tears, because make no mistake as many as were healed and sought God there are as many more who were not healed and who will not seek the kingdom of Heaven. Today though we are going to focus on the Joys of ministry, 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 34 As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. [Mark6:30-34] This is what discipleship is all about, compassion and what is compassion? It’s defined as sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. To me the simplest definition is Love, because you must have love to feel compassion and it was compassion that led to our redemption, it was God’s compassion for us that led Him to sacrifice His Son, it was compassion that led Jesus to the cross and ultimately, it’s compassion that leads us to Him. The desire to love and to be loved, to be understood, to be wanted, to know who we are in Christ. We crave that sense of being anchored. We need to have stability in our lives and so too did the disciples. 53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. There is a sense of finality in this sentence. Jesus is done traveling back and forth across the sea of Galilee, he is about to begin His main ministry. The constant back and forth has served its purpose. Jesus is well known throughout the land and beyond, there is no longer any need for Him to continue to travel by boat. Indeed, I don’t think that Jesus set foot in another boat again once He docked at Gennesaret. 54 When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, 55 and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. Now you might wonder why Jesus picked Gennesaret to do the bulk of His ministry instead of the major cities like Jerusalem, Caesarea, Tyre, or Joppa, well this region was known as lower Galilee and  According to Josephus their soil is universally rich and fruitful, and full of the plantations of trees of all sorts, insomuch that it invites the most slothful to take pains in its cultivation by its fruitfulness: accordingly, it is all cultivated by its inhabitants, and no part of it lies idle. Moreover, the cities lie here very thick; and the very many villages there are here, are everywhere so full of people, by the richness of their soil, that the very least of them contain above fifteen thousand inhabitants. [1] The very least of the cities in this area had as many people as Silver City or Deming. Sure, you could get a million people into Jerusalem during Passover, but the bulk of the people lived in villages and small town, most people were no different than today. In fact, minus the technology everyone probably wanted the same things that you want right now. A roof over their heads and food on the table, they wanted their kids to grow up and be doctors and lawyers or the equivalent. They wanted to make good money and provide for their families, they wanted easier ways to do things, so they could spend more time with their families. Above all though they wanted to be healthy, remember limited technology translates to limited effective health care. Healing was a big thing, something we tend to brush aside but issues we consider minor or easily correctable now were debilitating and often deadly in Jesus time. 56 And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed. [Mark 6:53-56] The keywords in this passage are “all who touched it were healed.” This is where we want to be anchored, we want to be anchored in Jesus’ compassion. All who touched it were healed, none were denied, Jew or gentile, local or Foreigner, none were excluded. It is Jesus’ compassion that provides the anchor for His disciples to weather the storm and that same compassion provides us with an immovable anchor as well. No matter how great the storm, we are always anchored in Jesus’ compassion. It provides us with stability, it keeps us from being left adrift in life’s swift currents. That compassion scares me, when I think about Jesus walking on water, feeding 5000 or healing the sick with just His presence, I cannot imagine it, it exceeds my ability to comprehend it. In my head I can see it but, in my heart, I cannot encompass it. I can only thank God that He Has compassion for me and that He relieves my fears and fills me with His peace, Amen. I thank God that I can rest in His presence and be anchored in His compassion, that I don’t have to understand it to take part in it. I only have to accept that it’s God’s will and to follow where He leads. No matter the task, no matter the cost, Jesus will provide us rest in our work and a compassionate anchor to resist the storms of life.

[1] Josephus, F., & Whiston, W. (1987). The works of Josephus: complete and unabridged (p. 641). Peabody: Hendrickson.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.