For the Gospel reading this coming Sunday (Lutheran Worship pericopes), we find Jesus demonstrating that he is indeed the shepherd who would accomplish the Father’s will. In this pericope (Mark 6:30-34), Mark uses this word (ἐσπλαγχνίσθη “he had compassion”), and it always catches my attention. Throughout the Gospels, it is used only of God or Jesus (or in the case of a parable, the one who represents Jesus). For Mark’s Gospel it appears four times, each with a slightly different context.
Mark 1:41 when Jesus heals the people
Mark 6:34 when Jesus teaches the people
Mark 8:2 when Jesus feeds the people
Mark 9:22 request for compassion, after which Jesus casts out the demons
These four incidents show the fuller nature of Jesus’ compassion, identifying the problem and need of the people, then addressing it as part of his ministry. The disruption of Genesis 3 affected all aspects of life as God intended. Jesus’ compassion marks his life and ministry as he fulfills all that the Father desired from eternity to correct the affects of sin.
Jesus had compassion on them… and us!