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The Compassionate God

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Intro: We have been trekking through the book of Mark, in which he writes the memoirs of Peter. We know the purpose of his book/Gospel is to proclaim Jesus is the Christ, the son of God. He has been making a case for us, by first pointing to the fore runner that is to come, John the Baptist. Mark also shares with the testimony of the Father and the Spirit pointing to Jesus.

Mark continues presenting his case by displaying for us that Jesus has power over sickness. sin, demons, nature Jesus even has power over humanity.
Mark paints a picture of Jesus as a Rabbi who teaches with authority, unlike any other rabbi.
In , we find a summary statement, this is Mark’s 3rd summary statement, his first is in
Mark 1:32–34 ESV
That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
Mark 1:
Mark 3:7–12 ESV
Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.
Mark 3:
Do you see it? Mark is displaying for us what says, “he looked on them with compassion because they were like sheep without a shepherd”Mark has been painting the portrait of Jesus the son of God, but this picture would be incomplete if he didn’t highlight Jesus as the compassionate God. What we find in Mark is the compassionate God on display. Mark paints a picture of the compassionate God in the flesh.
At the same time there is this crowd, who has been following him. What we have seen in Mark is Jesus and his band of 12 doing ministry around the sea of Galilee. There are a few other faithful followers, but the picture Mark has been painting is Jesus relationship with the 12, pouring his life, teaching and mentoring them. Mark has also been painting a picture of the crowd, a large group of people, following Jesus, not because he is the Christ the Son of God, they are following because he provides immediate and free healthcare & enough food to satisfy. What we see in Mark today is,
The Compassionate God in the Flesh
The Crowd’s Selfishness & Indifference Towards the Compassionate God
I. The Compassionate God In The Flesh
A. What is compassion?
Defined -Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.
Defined-sympathetic awareness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it
Compassion is not the same as empathy or altruism, though the concepts are related. While empathy refers more generally to our ability to take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another person, compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help. Altruism, in turn, is the kind, selfless behavior often prompted by feelings of compassion, though one can feel compassion without acting on it, and altruism isn’t always motivated by compassion.
Biblical Words- merciful, favorable, i.e., pertaining to showing favor, and not punishment as is often deserved, implying a forgiving relationship
Compassion is God showing favor, grace mercy on a suffering people, in love God is willing to come along side the one suffering and provide relief from your suffering.
B. Where in scripture do we first see declared God is Compassionate?
Certainly we can look in and see that God had compassion on Adam and Eve, but he is not declared to be compassionate here.
What about in when Cain kills Abel?
What about in the flood, when God remembered Noah?
What about God choosing Abram? Was he being compassionate?
Did you know it isn't until Exodus
Exodus 34:6–7 ESV
The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
Do you remember what is going on here? God is entering into a covenant with the people of Israel. Moses is on the mountain, getting the ten commandments and instructions from the Lord and he asks Lord show me your glory?
God tells Moses no one can see me, in the fullness of who I am, and live. Then the Lord proceeds to tell him I am going to give you a glimpse of who I am. What does the Lord choose to show him?
The Lord is a compassionate God.
We see God described this way through out the OT
Deuteronomy 4:31–32 ESV
For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them. “For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of.
Nehemiah 9:17 ESV
They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.
Nehemiah 9
Psalm 78:38 ESV
Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath.
Psalm 86:15 ESV
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
psa 8615
Psalms 78:78
Psalm 103:8 ESV
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Psalm 145:8 ESV
The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Jonah 4:2 ESV
And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.
C. What we find in the NT is Jesus is the embodiment of the Compassionate God
Deut 4
John 1:14–18 ESV
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

merciful, favorable, i.e., pertaining to showing favor, and not punishment as is often deserved, implying a forgiving relationship

Mark 6:34 ESV
When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.
Matthew 14:14 ESV
When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
The decision for the Father to send the Son, the decison of the Son to come into this world is based on compassion.
While he was on this earth we see time and time and again he is moved with compassion, for the crowd and for individuals. We see Christ fulfilling the definition of the compassionate God
Merciful & Gracious
slow to anger
abounding in steadfast love
We see it here in our passage again.
Mark 6:53–56 ESV
When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.
D. Jesus is still compassionate now
Hebrews 2:17–18 ESV
Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Hebrews 4:14–16 ESV
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16
Hebrews 4:15 ESV
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:25
II. The Crowd’s Selfishness & Indifference Towards a Compassionate God
When Jesus started his ministry,
You may think “Josh, i don’t see that here.” I just see hurting people seeking to be healed. You are right, we don’t explicitly see the selfishness & indifference of the crowd in this passage, but that is the blessing of the other Gospels they help us fill in what is going on.
When Jesus started his ministry we have this summary statement from John.
John 2:23–25 ESV
Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.
John 2:23-
When we turn the pages of John to , which is the parallel passage to , we get a clearer picture of the crowd.
John 6:22–28 ESV
On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”
A. The Crowd Wants The Miracles Not Jesus
They want the miracles!
They want to do the miracles
Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
B. The Crowd Seeks A Sign
John 6:30–40 ESV
So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6:30
C. The Crowd Is Never Satisfied
John 6:41–51 ESV
So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
John 6:41-
D. The Crowd Wants What Jesus Can Give Them, They Do Not Want Jesus
John 6:52–59 ESV
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
John 6:52-
E. The Crowd is Offended By Jesus and Does Not Want To be Associated With Him
John 6:60–71 ESV
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.
John 6:60-
Conclusion: Where are you at today? Are you part of the crowd? A disciple? Are we willing to allow the compassionate God to come along side us in our suffering?
Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
It is an interesting question, we see God’s compassion in Cre
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