Thoughts for the Day

Sunday, 4th February 2024: The need for leaders

Disciples Miracle Jesus Mark 6

Reading : Verses from Mark, Chapter 6

Jesus teaching

As Jesus went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, the disciples of Jesus came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.’ But he answered them, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said to him, ‘Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?’ And he said to them, ‘How many loaves have you? Go and see.’ When they had found out, they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’ Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


The crowds have tracked Jesus down to where he has gone to be alone with his disciples to continue their training, and here we have a wonderful insight into the mind of our Lord. We are told that he has 'compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd'. To have 'compassion' means to have a deep awareness of another's suffering and a wish to do something to help them. We might want to give a homeless person some shelter and a bed; or cuddle a baby who is crying; or help to stop a bleeding wound.

Now we might jump straight into thinking that Jesus acted on his compassion by feeding 5,000 hungry people. But Mark says that Jesus had compassion for the people, and so 'he began to teach them many things'. Compassion shown as teaching is not usual. The people have the Law of Moses and the scribes and pharisees to help them understand it, but this has led to a narrowing of the Law into petty rules and regulations that often make no sense. Jesus can see that the people need feeding spiritually. They need to learn about God's love as applied to them.

Before the miracle of the Feeding of the 5,000 occurs Jesus turns to his disciples, to test them. "You give them something to eat," he says. Despite just returning from their mission work which included healing people, their vision of God's power is still too small and they quibble about the cost of purchasing bread. They still have much to learn.

It is no different today. Just as the shepherd takes the sheep to water, keeps them safe, and finds fresh water for them, Jesus knows that his people need leaders, and leaders come from educating a wide group of people and allowing God to call them forth. Perhaps God is calling you to lead His work!


Lord Jesus Christ,
we thank You for all teachers of the faith,
who listen to Your Word
and faithfully pass it on to others.
We pray for those who hear their message
and step forward to lead Your people
as shepherds of Your sheep.
May we continue to learn about You
and Your plans for our life.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to light a virtual candle and pray for someone you know who needs to learn more about God and His work in the world:

Or read this blog about being called to ministry (not sure about the cow picture, though):

If you think God is calling you to ministry then speak to your vicar/pastor, or someone from the ministry division of your denomination.

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