Mark 6:32


1. The physical exhaustion and hunger of the people.

2. Their restlessness.

3. Their inarticulate longing for some higher truth and life.

II. THE CHARACTER IT ASSUMED. Shepherdly anxiety and care.

1. An intense compassion and solicitude.

2. A deep religious sense of the Divine ideal from which they had departed. The spirit, the very words of prophecy, occur to him in the connection (Numbers 27:17; Zechariah 10:2).

3. A practical undertaking of their care.

III. HOW IT EXPRESSED ITSELF. He taught them many things. By word and act he strove to lift their hearts to God, and to suggest the ineffable mysteries of his kingdom. The miracle that followed. - M.

And Jesus, when He came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion.

1. The people saw Him.

2. They knew Him.

3. They ran afoot thither.

4. They outran and reached Him.


1. He came.

2. He saw.

3. He pitied.

4. He taught.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

Scottish Pulpit.
I. THE COMPASSION OF JESUS CHRIST. Compassion is a branch or modification of kindness of heart, or of benevolence. Under the influence of it we enter into the circumstances and feelings of others; prompted to aid and relieve them. The term "compassion" signifies to sympathize, or to suffer along with others; and, therefore, while it is a most lovely affection, and the exercise of it yields the purest delight on the one hand; yet, on the other, it is always attended with uneasy feelings and painful sensations, and that in exact proportion to the strength of our compassion. Hence you will see, that when compassion is ascribed in Scripture, as it often is, to God, it must differ in some essential points from human compassion. We are compound beings, having not only bodies, but rational souls; and possessing not only the powers of understanding, will, and conscience, but instincts, affections, or passions. But "God is a Spirit" a simple uncompounded being. In Him there is no such thing as passion; and, consequently, no uneasy feelings or painful sensations can attend the exercise of compassion in Him. It is the benevolent and ready tendency o! His gracious nature to pity and relieve the miserable, when this is consistent with His sovereign and wise pleasure. "I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." This ready and benevolent tendency of nature, to pity and relieve the miserable, was one of the brightest and loveliest features in the character of the Saviour; and, from eternity, and as He was a Divine person, it was exactly the same in Him as in the other persons of the adorable Trinity. But in the person of Jesus Christ are now closely united both the Divine and human natures; and, thus, when He was in this world, in the form of a servant, and acting and suffering in our stead, compassion in Him partook of the nature and properties both of Divine and human compassion. He possessed not only the perfections of Godhead, but the sinless feelings and affections of manhood. "In all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God." In His present state of glory, He wears our nature, and will do so forever; and He is said to be "touched with the feeling of our infirmities," yet, as His humbled suffering state is completely at an end, He is really and tenderly, though not painfully, impressed with our weaknesses, sorrows, and dangers. But the case was widely different with Him while in this world. It was then a part of His humbled suffering state to take our infirmities on Him, to bear our griefs and carry our sorrows. In His human nature, He felt our sorrows and wretchedness as far as His sinless and unsinning nature could feel them. He was then literally "moved with compassion." He felt as a shepherd does for his straying sheep; as a compassionate man for suffering humanity; as the incarnate Son of God, in the character of Redeemer, for perishing sinners. "And Jesus, when He came out, 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."


1. Sinners of the human race were the objects of His Divine and eternal compassion. In common with the Father and Spirit, "He remembered us in our low estate; for His mercy endureth forever." His compassion was not of the sentimental speculative kind, which leads many to say to the naked and destitute, "Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled;" but to do no more. No. It was real, deep, operative. He pitied sinners, "and so He was their Saviour," and did and suffered all that infinite wisdom and justice saw to be necessary to procure eternal redemption for them.

2. During the time the Saviour was in this world, the condition of sinners daily moved His compassion. When He saw the widow of Nain following the bier of her only son to the grave, "He had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not."

3. All His people, even the best and holiest in this world, are the objects of His compassion. All need it. "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect." "For in many things we offend all."

4. The weak, the timid and doubting, are peculiarly the objects of His compassion — who are weak in the faith, who are of a fearful mind, who are harassed with temptations, and borne down with poverty and oppression, vexations and bereavements.Application:

1. Do you wish to have objects of compassion presented to your view? Think of the heathen.

2. This subject reads an important lesson to all ministers of the gospel We should be imitators of the compassion of Christ.

3. Will sinners have no compassion on themselves?

4. Let weak and timid Christians be encouraged, We have set before you the compassionate Saviour. Put your case into His hands. Trust in His compassion.

(Scottish Pulpit.)

We often speak of love as the ultimate passion, but there is a depth even beyond love. For love is largely its own reward, and so may possibly have an element of imperfection, but pity or compassion has not only all the glory or power of love, but it forgets itself and its own returning satisfactions, and goes wholly over into the sufferings of others, and there expends itself, not turning back or within to say to itself, as does love, "How good it is to love!" It may be a factor in the solution of the problem of evil that it calls out the highest measure of the Divine love; a race that does not suffer might not have a full revelation of God's heart. What! Create a race miserable in order to love it! Yes, if so thereby its members shall learn to love one another and if thus only it may know the love of its Creator. In the same way it is man's consciousness of misery, or self-pity, that reveals to him his own greatness — a thought that Pascal turns over and over. Pity is love and something more: love at its utmost, love with its principle outside of itself and therefore moral, love refined to utter purity by absorption with suffering. A mother loves her child when it is well, but pities it when it is sick, and how much more is the pity than the love! How much nearer does it bring her, rendering the flesh that separates her from it a hated barrier because it prevents absolute oneness, dying out of her own consciousness, and going wholly over into that of the child whose pains she would thus, as it were, draw off into her own body! To die with and for one who is loved — as the poets are fond of showing — is according to the philosophy of human nature. Might not something like it be expected of God, who is absolute love? And how shall He love in this absolute way except by union with His suffering children? Such is the nature of pity; it is a vicarious thing, which bare love is not, because it creates identity with the sufferer.

(T. T. Munger.)

It is not to be thought, however, that this Christly pity embraced only the conscious suffering of men. It is an undiscerning sympathy that reaches only to ills that are felt and confessed. We every day meet men with laughter on their lips, and unclouded brows, who are very nearly the greatest claimants of pity. Pity him who laughs but never thinks. Pity the men or women who fritter away the days in busy idleness, calling it society, when they might read a book. Pity those, who, without evil intent, are making great mistakes, who live as though life had no purpose or end, who gratify a present desire unmindful of future pain. Pity parents who have not learned how to rear and train their children: pity the children so reared as they go forth unto life with undermined health and weakened nerves, prematurely wearied of Society, lawless in their dispositions, rude and inconsiderate in their manners, stamped with the impress of chance associations and unregulated pleasures. "No! it is not pain that is to be pitied so much as mistake, not conscious suffering, but courses that breed future suffering." Who then calls for it more than those who have settled to so low and dull a view of life as not to feel the loss of its higher forms, content with squalor and ignorance and low achievement or mere sustenance? It is now quite common to say at the suggestion of some very earnest philanthropists that the poor and degraded do not suffer as they seem: that they get to be en rapport with their surroundings, and so unmindful of their apparent misery. This may be so, but even if the wind is thus tempered to these shorn lambs of adversity, it is no occasion for withholding pity. Nay! the pity should be all the deeper. The real misery here is, that these poor beings do not look upon their wretched condition with horror and disgust, that they are without that sense and standard of life which would lead them to cry, "This is intolerable; I must escape from it." Hence, the discerning Christ-like eye will look through all such low contentedness to the abject spirit behind it, and there extend its pity. Not those who suffer most, but oftener those who suffer least, are the most pitiable.

(T. T. Munger.)

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