In Mark 6 we find the Lord and His disciples busy in serving the Lord. Amidst such busyness the Lord counselled that they should go to a place of quiet to rest and be refreshed. Many saw what was happening though, and followed them to where they would alight. Whereupon we read these words. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things (Mark 6:34).
The next verse reads By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. ‘This is a remote place,’ they said, ‘and it’s already very late (Mark 6:35). This would indicate that time was getting on and that it would be best to disperse the crowd as soon as possible. Being aware of this brings the Lord’s approach into sharper relief. Rather than send them away, he chose to teach them. His priority was getting the Word into their lives.
It is as if he saw them wandering through life without true knowledge of how to live. Accordingly, they were, in His sight, sheep without a Shepherd. But how could they find a shepherd? It was through the teaching of God’s Word that they would find out about the Shepherd and the way to find life and live life.
It is further interesting that He taught them many things. He was prepared to stretch them with much from the Word so as to maximise the benefit into their lives.
It would have been so easy to have prioritised getting them home or getting them food, but his priority was getting the Word to them. We must remember this. People need the Words of life that are in Scripture. The world is filled with harassed sheep wandering through life with no shepherd. And we need to teach them.