Mercy and Teaching

And he got out, and saw a great mass of people, and he had pity on them, because they were like sheep without a keeper: and he gave them teaching about a number of things.

Mark 6:34

The Job

Wenn Jesus had mercy, he taught.

To hear this is great stuff for a teacher, believe me.

At times it is very frustrating to be a teacher. Most topics are rather theoretical. Think of it this way:

A prophet is just like a summer rain. Pleasant, refreshing, with immediate effect. Or a fall storm. Hard and wild, cleansing, pruning. With immediate effect.

A teacher on the other hand is like ground water. He fills up the reservoir of people for future droughts. There often is no immediate take-away. But wait for a climate change, and you will be more than happy to draw from that water. But usually, by then you have forgotten where it came from.

And that is OK.

But it gets worse.

The Bible tells us that there will be times—and we are right in the midst of them—when people refuse to be taught and just want to have their was tickled. Whatever send thrills down my spine or excites my emotions, as long as there is no call to action. No reproof. No correction.

The Effect

I have to be fair. Jesus did not, as Mark writes, just teach. All the other gospels recount him healing their sicknesses as well. Now that part we love, we usually just do not believe it. Hasn’t that stopped when the Bible was finished? By no means.

It is interesting that Mark only talks about the teaching. Mark got his insight and inside information from Peter, with whom he travelled late in Peter’s life. John and Matthew had first hand experience, and Luke was a doctor. For John and Matthew, the immediate impact of Jesus in this situation was very important, and with Luke it struck a professional chord.

But Mark was interested in the long term effect of Jesus’ life. Yes, the miracles made the people open to receive, by either astonishing them or just plain ease their pain so they could listen and concentrate to the message. Enabling the people to later act on the message.

The Message

We do not know what Jesus taught that day. Do you remember what your pastor taught last week? We know that five thousand men, some with their families, stayed and listened all day. At the end, they experienced a great miracle.

We tend to talk about Jesus’ miracles, all of them. Be it healing or provision. When talking about mercy, we tend to remember his readiness and authority to forgive. Forgive the woman caught in adultery. Or the one with a past.

And we construct great stories from those miracles and acts of mercy. And we rightly do so.

But we tend to forget that Jesus was called Rabi. Teacher. He was rarely called Navi, prophet, or Abba, father. He was known for his miracles. But his teaching had the most influence.

It was his teaching in authority that got him into trouble. If he had just quietly done his miracles, nobody would have cared. But his message was one that uncovered the helplessness of the leaders of the day, the powerlessness of the established religion.

Nothing changed

Today, it is no different.

We tend to run to see the miracles and the outpourings of the Spirit. Travel the world, spend money and time to experience the thrill of all the miracles.

Yet we leave our local church if the messages gets uncomfortable. If relationships get too costly. If accountability gets real.

Without the teaching, we remain sheep without a shepherd.

Having Mercy

I have mercy with the people of Christ. Therefore, I will keep on teaching, in time and out of time. In season and out of season. Whether they like it or not.

Yes, I hunger for the authority to set people free and heal them. I know that will come, and has been in the past from time to time.

But I will always keep empowering the people that listen to me with words and sound teaching. Because I love them. I will challenge them, challenge their understanding, challenge their religion so they grow.

Don’t you ever stop doing what God called you to do. To serve from mercy.

Will you?