The Joy of Jesus is Compassion

Matthew 14: 13-21

And when he went ashore he saw a great throng; and he had compassion on them, and he healed their sick. And when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a lonely place and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves. Jesus said, They need not go away; you give them something to eat".

When we read the synoptic gospels, we are struck by the fact that Jesus was always followed by large crowds of people. He attracted crowds in his public ministry. Listen to what Mark says:

Jesus and his disciples went away to Lake Galilee and a large crowd followed him. They had come from Galilee, from Judea, from Jerusalem, from the territory of Idumea, from the territory on the east side of Jordan, and from the cities of Tyre and Sidon. All these people came to Jesus because they had heard of the things he was doing. The crowd was so large that Jesus told his disciples to get a boat ready for him, so that the people would not crush him. He had healed many sick people, and all those who were ill kept pushing their way to him in order to touch him. And whenever those who had evil spirits in them saw him, they would fall down before him and scream, "You are the Son of God." (Mark 3:7-11)

Wherever Jesus went he was in the midst of people. "When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door..." (Mark 2:1)

Jesus among the multitude, Jesus among the crowd, Jesus with the people, this is one of the themes of the Gospel story. We often think of Jesus as a solitary preacher, a religious recluse or a hermit. He was not an arm-chair rabbi or a theological professor. He was a man of the people.

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