10 So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. 11 And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12 Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
13 When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.
The setting of this event is the beheading of John the Baptist. You know the story, Herodius’ daughter dances seductively before Herod and he promises her anything. Her wicked mother wants the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Herod concedes and John the Baptist is executed. Not long after the execution, the disciples of John come and tell Jesus what had happened. According to the text, when Jesus hears of the death of his cousin he leaves the city and goes out to be alone for a while. We would consider the actions of Jesus to be normal. He just heard of the brutal execution of the one who prepared the way for him, baptized him, and loved him. Jesus wanted some quiet time in light of John’s death.
However, news got out that Jesus was on the move and multitudes of people, probably in the neighborhood of 15,000 or more, followed him. (That number might be conservative because we read in the next verses that Jesus fed the 5,000 but the number was just the men.) You or I might have told the multitude to go away and to come back tomorrow, we just needed some time to grieve. We just lost a dear friend and can’t deal with needy people right now. If Jesus had said this we would fully have understood. But this is not what Jesus did.
The heart of Christ was a heart of compassion. So, when the multitudes came, Jesus put aside his own needs and once again cared for theirs. The lesson here is simple: regardless of how we feel, regardless of what we have just had to deal with, when people come by with a need we must take the time and energy to show them compassion. We find that Jesus taught them, healed them, and even fed them. When did Jesus take time to grieve? We are not told; we just know that the Savior set aside his feelings to care for others. The next time someone calls or comes by in their time of need see if you can’t put aside your struggles to show compassion and to care for them. They will be grateful and you will be blessed.
Tomorrow night is our outdoor movie night. As we show the movie about the life and conversion of Steve McQueen, do take time to invite some friends to come. The movie will keep the attention of anyone who grew up in the McQueen era. We will start the movie near 8:00. Bring lawn chairs or a blanket. If it rains, we will be inside.
Sunday, I am planning to bring a third message on our communion with God. This one will focus on how we overcome the enemies of our communion. We will look at the Psalms and the Gospels and the Epistles as we study our plan for this battle. In the end, we defeat the enemies of our spiritual life by faith in the Word of God and in the God of the Word.
Have a great day in the Lord,