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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Gospels

Chapter 31 - Mark 6:33, 34 - Christ's Teaching the World's Great Need Light & Truth: The Gospels by Bonar, Horatius




Christ's Teaching The World's Great Need.


     "And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran a-foot thither out of all cities, and out went them, and came together unto him. And Jesus, when he came on; saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things."-Mark 6:33, 34.



     We get here, first, a description of the people, and then of the Lord himself, in His dealings with them. Each word is descriptive and full.

     I. The People.

     (1.) The people saw Him. He was withdrawing to a desert place, beyond the sea of Galilee, for rest to himself and his disciples; but he could not be hid. He might have hid himself wholly; but he did not; he allowed himself to be seen.

     (2.) They knew Him. They recognized Him. This is Jesus of Nazareth! Blessed recognition to them! Have our eyes seen him, and our hearts recognized him? Recognition of Jesus by the sinner! How much there is in that! It may be but a glimpse, but it leads to more.

     (3.) They ran a-foot thither. They saw Him embarking near the head of the lake. They had no boat or boats to follow with; but they ran round the head of the lake to get to the other side. It was quite a crowd, more than five thousand men, out of all the cities, flocking to Jesus.  Blessed running; blessed eagerness, when Jesus is the goal!

     (4.) They outran and reached Him. They were first at the spot. As they were going round the lake, they could easily see the spot whither he and his disciples were going. Thither they ran with all might, and reached the place before him. Blessed outrunning! Thus they reach Jesus, and crowd around him. Nor does he withdraw himself. He allows himself to be outrun and reached; for surely he could easily have outstripped them, as his was the shortest course, but he allows himself to be overtaken. He lingers for them. How willing to be reached! How accessible! How gracious!

     II. The Lord. It is His grace that we find specially here.

     (1.) He came. The "coming out" may be the coming out of the desert place to which he had gone for rest, or coming out of the boat in which the sea had been crossed. It matters little which, though probably it is the latter, as it would seem as if they had intercepted him on his way to the desert place. He came out! He did not hide himself; he allowed the crowd to meet him. He turns not away from any one, nor makes it a difficult thing to reach him.

     (2.) He saw. His eyes lighted on the crowds that were gathering round him. It was no unwelcome sight, this "gathering of the people,"-earnest of the great gathering of the people unto Shiloh. He saw everything with human eyes, exactly as they were; and they made on him impressions such as they make on us, for he was man all over, with human eyes and ears, and a human' heart beating within.

     (3.) He pitied. He was moved with compassion toward them. The sight of the thousands was to him touching and affecting. He could not but feel, for he saw through and through them, understanding their temporal and their eternal wants; all their hunger and thirst, of body and soul. He saw them as they were at the moment. He saw their eternal prospects. And he pitied them!  With all their sins about them, he pitied them. The special thing at present which excited his pity, was their shepherdless condition. They were wandering sheep, with none to gather, none to feed them, none to guard them. It is a sinner's friendlessness, helplessness, forlornness, that awakens the pity of the Son of God. And that pity is sincere. He feels for the wandering sinner. He stretches out his hands to him; he says, "I would have gathered you." Oh the true, the profound pity of the Son of God! He, the great Shepherd, is touched with the scattered, weary, forlorn condition of his wandering creatures. He is "very pitiful." His "compassions fail not."

     (4.) He taught. "He began to teach them many things." It was to this that his pity prompted him. He saw what they needed so specially. They were perishing for lack of knowledge. He knew what would bless them, what would cure and comfort them,-teaching, divine teaching. This is the soul's true cure. That which Jesus speaks is the cure of the soul. His words, his truths, are all we need. For in them is contained that which alone can heal all our diseases, and fill all our emptiness,-the great love of God. Hence he said, "Learn of me;" for He has compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way.

     Yes, it is teaching that we need; the teaching of Jesus. He has "many things" to teach them; and all of them contain the heavenly medicine. His words are health, and rest, and food, and joy, and liberty. That teaching is all we need. Having it, we can dispense with self-teaching, or man-teaching, or church-teaching, or priest-teaching, or book-teaching. Who teacheth like him? Let us resort to him for the heavenly instruction which alone can profit. It is with him that we have to do for instruction,-"wholesome words," true teaching. He is now in heaven, yet he teaches the multitudes still. He is as accessible as ever, as compassionate and condescending. His gracious words are still flowing down to us, for the health and joy of the inner man.

     In these days, we need to keep this in mind especially. Amid the Babel of human words, and the contradictions of human teaching, let us resort to Him for the one teaching which profiteth. There is at present a tendency to turn away from him, and listen to others. Other teaching seems more intellectual, more learned, more eloquent, more "abreast of the age." But what profits it? There is but one teaching and one teacher that can make wise for eternity.

     The strong delusion is abroad. There is no remedy for it but the teaching of Jesus. The enticing words of man's wisdom are misleading millions. Let us be on our guard, lest we too be led away by the error of the wicked. Satan is working with his snares and sophistries, to deceive, if possible, the very elect. Let us close our ears against him, and listen to Jesus only. All other teaching is poor and vain. This only fills, and gladdens, and leads us to God.

     The world has but one teacher after all. Jesus the Son of God. So also has the church. Only one teacher. He has wisdom; others have only folly. This one teacher offers himself to us. Allow him to teach you, and he will! Beware of the world's folly coming under specious names,-the verifying faculty, the higher criticism, spiritual intuition, advanced liberalism, enlarged views, emancipation from bigotry. Try the spirits, whether they are of God; for many false prophets are gone out into the world.