Yesterday we heard the story of how Herod murdered John. Herodias finally got her way. John’s disciples came and removed John’s body. After dealing with John’s remains, they went and told Jesus about it. We join Jesus after He receives the news.
John was Jesus’ cousin. He was also Jesus’ forerunner in ushering in the new covenant. Jesus knew that John’s ministry had to end before His own could be completed. Jesus knew that this would also include John’s death, but that didn’t make the process any easier. Jesus loved John and it grieved Him when John was killed.
Jesus needed some time alone after getting the news about John. He went by boat to the most isolated place He could find. He didn’t go completely alone because He brought His disciples with Him. I imagine the disciples are the ones that captained the boat that took Him there. I assume He was there to pray and spend time mourning John with His disciples. Some of Jesus disciples were John’s disciples before joining Jesus. They knew John very well and were probably hurting too. They were probably sharing stories about John on the way out.
When Jesus and His disciples arrived at the place they were going, they found a crowd of people already there waiting for them. Matthew says “when the crowds heard it, they followed Him” (verse 13). What was it that the crowd heard? Did they hear about John’s death and want to comfort Jesus? Or did they hear where He was going and wanted to have Him minister to them? Were there people there for both purposes? There were certainly people in need within the group.
Jesus’ heart was still hurting when they made landfall, but He set His own needs aside to minister to the crowd’s needs instead. “He had compassion on them and healed their sick” (verse 14). Jesus’ whole life here on earth is about His compassion on us. That is His heart’s truest calling.
Lord Jesus, thank You for your compassion. Without compassion You wouldn’t even have come. You and the Father began Your act of compassion at creation and bestowed it for the first time on Adam and Eve. You could have started all over when man first blew it, but You didn’t. Instead You orchestrated Your whole plan to demonstrate what lengths You would go to for us. Thank You again!
Today I need Your compassion. I am tired from the tasks I have undertaken today and have spent very little time in Your word. You showed me AMAZING compassion as I navigated the roads to our destination. THANK YOU for protecting us and bringing us safely here. Please have the doctors show Steve compassion tomorrow.
I’m tired God. Thank You for wrapping Your arms around me and reassuring me it is ok with You that I stop for the night. Jesus’ I’m sorry for You having to live through Your cousin’s death. I’m very glad that You were absolutely certain that You would see John again. You mourned his passing for the hole it would leave to the living, but celebrated that he was waiting with the other saints for the completed promise.