The most effective instruction is based on compassionately meeting the needs of others

Instructing others in the way of God is an act of compassion toward those who are willing to hear.

Jesus came out, saw a great multitude, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things.

Mark 6:34

Yeshua’s compassion here is expressed through a recognition of the general population of Israel’s lack of correct doctrine, and their eagerness to learn.

The context of this  verse is set as Yeshua and his disciples have been tirelessly ministering and are now attempting to find a secluded place to be refreshed. Yet, thousands of people find out where they are going across the lake of Galilee and end up waiting for them on the shore when they arrive. Seeing these crowds, Yeshua is moved with compassion, and decides to continue to provide instruction.

Whenever a text mentions Yeshua has compassion on someone, he immediately does something to help them.

Matthew 14:14 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Matthew 15:32 Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.”

Matthew 20:34 Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed him.

Mark 1:41 Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!”

In this case in Mark 6:34, his response is to provide them instruction. Instructing others in the way of God is an act of compassion toward those who are willing to hear. The most willing disciples are those who are hungry to learn. This is symbolized through the story immediately following this verse: the miraculous feeding of the five thousand. Although Yeshua and his disciples had limited resources, God provided enough food to satisfy everyone with more left over.

This metaphorically reinforced his act of compassion to begin with: instructing them in the way of God. The crowds’ hunger for truth was not only satisfied, but there was so much more left over. In like fashion, we can be sure that when we act compassionately in faith, whatever our response, God will be faithful to fill that need through us.

Instructing others in the way of God should be motivated by compassion for others who are willing to hear. Teaching only for the sake of prestige, or wealth, or obligation will rob that form of instruction of its power and purpose. But teaching that is coming from a heart of true compassion will be blessed with multiplication and fulfillment.

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