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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood

 

Compassion

During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.” (Mark 8:1-3, NIV)

If you had been there that day as one of the disciples, what response would you have made to Jesus’ concern?

It’s easy now to answer because we know what happened. You and I would say, “Well, Lord, just a few weeks ago You fed a very large crowd that had only been with You for one day, and these folk have camped with us three days listening to You teach hour upon hour even though they’ve been hungry (Mark 6:34-44). They’ve certainly demonstrated their sincerity, and You don’t want them to faint or even die on the long walk back to their homes. So, Lord, we’ll go looking for another little boy with some small loaves and fishes!”

That’s what we think we would say!

But I’m afraid we are more like the disciples who don’t connect the Lord’s past miracles to the present situation. That’s why Jesus poses the problem rather than just announcing He’s going to do another feeding miracle. He’s testing His disciples to see if they can come up with a right solution.

We’ll look at their response in a subsequent devotional. But, for now, let’s focus on Jesus.

You cannot fail to be struck by His magnetism. We know from Mark 7:31 that Jesus is in the area of Decapolis, in Gentile territory. He had initially withdrawn from Galilee to be alone, but that proved impossible. People found Him. The word of His presence spread, and great crowds gathered.

This time, thousands of people had clustered around Jesus for three days, listening to Him teach and probably bringing their sick folk as well.

I was recently in a country that has only a tiny fractional minority of Christians. If you walk into one of the church buildings of the historical denomination, with its “smells, bells and icons” you immediately understand why non-Christians aren’t attracted. There’s no life in the place. Their symbols of Jesus are there, but He is not.

The absence of Jesus can just as easily be seen in nearly empty Pentecostal or other evangelical churches in North America. What good is the building, organization or program if Jesus is not the main attraction?

What makes Jesus so attractive? Certainly His teaching. Certainly His works of healing and deliverance. But is that all? There’s something underlying all He does. It’s His love. He teaches, heals and delivers because He loves people.

And that’s seen here. He has compassion on people. They know it. They feel it. He’s more than a great lecturer or wonder worker; He’s the Good Shepherd who cares for us, His sheep.

When we, His people — His Church — act with compassion as did our Lord, then those who do not know Christ realize we’re not interested in them as growth statistics for our church, but because we too love as did our Lord.

When we care about people who are tired and without food, sooner or later the word gets out: “Jesus is in the house.”

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, help me to remain sensitive to the needs of others — especially those around me. Let me not be indifferent to the hungry, the homeless, the helpless. Give me a heart to care, eyes to see and hands to help.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

Previous Years


2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark


Podcasts of On Your Mark are available in video and audio.
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