Without Jesus we are simply sheep without a shepherd, wandering and lost.
As I observe the events going on in our world and even closer in my life, I am reminded of the story of Jesus feeding the people in Mark 6:31-56
The story takes place after the sending out of the disciples and the martyrdom of John the Baptist.
Jesus knowing that the disciples were in need of a break, says “come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest”.
So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. Mark 6:30-32
But the crowd of 5000 or more followed Jesus to this desert place arriving ahead of Him.
Each one had their own reasons.
Maybe they had heard about the miracles and healing.
Or about this teacher whose words stirred hearts as no teacher ever had before.
Maybe they were curious, or maybe just following the crowd.
Maybe they sensed that this man had something to do with the emptiness in their heart, that nothing seemed to fill.
In his excellent commentary on the book of Mark, “A Ransom For Many” Mark Wilmshurst writes, ” without Jesus we are all simply sheep without a shepherd, wandering and lost.”
Not much has changed from over 2000 years ago.
Today we still seek the miraculous, someone to speak to our situation, to help us make sense of it all, healing.
Sometimes we are curious, just following the crowd, and like the seed scattered by the wayside, nothing much ever comes of our curiosity.
But I believe the three things we all seek regardless of our reasons, is direction, rest, peace.
And most of our efforts, money, success, power, sex, drugs, to find these things are temporary at best they do not last.
In this story Jesus does not perform miracles at least to start with, or healing.
He sees this crowd although purposeful in following him to this deserted place, like sheep about to wander off the edge of the cliff.
And Jesus understood the real need.
God, my shepherd!
I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. –
Psalm 23:1 The Message
These words written by David during the most difficult time of his life, have real meaning in our time and our situations.
Jesus knew for those gathered that day and all who would come after our greatest need is Him.
He will provide the direction to take us through the storms of life.
And even in the midst of them will lead us to the green pastures, quiet waters, refreshing our souls, and right paths.
It is interesting to me that even though Jesus understood the real need of the crowd gathered that day was not miracles, He still provided for their physical needs.
Not just a snack but an abundant meal. So much so that twelve baskets full were collected when it was over.
Wherever you may find yourself today remember there is a Shepherd who loves his sheep.
If you’re found He will never stop caring for you.
If you’re lost He will never stop looking for you.
Green pastures, still water, rest, peace, a shepherd who always watches over us, sounds like just what we need…