Sunday, July 22, 2012

Shepherdless Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

Years ago a good teacher told me ministry happens often in the interruptions of our plans and of our days.  Jesus ministry was no exception to this rule.  He was often out in the open. Even when he tried to get away with just his closest disciples crowds came looking for him.  Mark 6 make the crowd's desire to be near Jesus most clear.
Mark 6 is famous couple of miracles.  5000 men fed (Mark 6:35-44) and Jesus walking on water (Mark 6:45-52) leaving these two stories aside for a time reading Mark 6 gives a sense of the crowd yearning for Jesus' ministry along Lake Galilee. 
Mark notes that Jesus looked for a time to be with his friends, to share news of their ministry, take leisure to eat, and maybe even reflect on the loss of John the Baptist (Mark 6:30-32). 
The people hungry for a leader came looking for him.  Whichever direction he chose somebody came following the group, probably nudging his way in like a sheep needing a shepherd.  And that's just how Jesus met them; as the always faithful shepherd ready to lead and guide.  His flock is open to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Indeed Christ's body is open to all who believe.
Jesus was moved by the crowd, and he responded to that inmost feeling by teaching them about the kingdom of heaven coming into their midst (Mark 6:33-34). 
Jesus response to the crowd was gracious.  As the day grew longer hunger crept in and Jesus provided a meal for 5000 men  starting with only a few loaves and a few fish.  He sent his friends out and dismissed the crowd choosing to get away on his own.  He caught up with his friends as he walked across the lake scaring them and intensifying their faith in his power.
And reaching the other side of the lake a crowd met him, and once again he reached out to them in mercy.  Those who touched him were healed and those her heard him heard the truth. (Mark 6:53-56)  It was the interruptions that provided the moment for God to come closest.

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