Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor
The Ninth Sunday After Pentecost
Option One: "Compassionate Love"
1) How it thinksMatt. 9:36ff., 14:14, 15:32ff.; Rom. 15:1ff. 2 Cor. 1:3
2) What it doesMatt. 15:29-31, 20:34; Mk.1:41-42, 6:53-56; 2 Cor. 1:4; Heb. 4:15-16
Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. 1: Mark 6:34 They were as sheep not having a shepherd (eôsan hoôs probata meô echonta poimena). Matthew has these words in another context (Matthew 9:26), but Mark alone has them here. Meô is the usual negative for the participle in the Koiné. These excited and exciting people (Bruce) greatly needed teaching. Matthew 14:14 mentions healing as does Luke 9:11 (both preaching and healing). But a vigorous crowd of runners would not have many sick. The people had plenty of official leaders but these rabbis were for spiritual matters blind leaders of the blind. Jesus had come over for rest, but his heart was touched by the pathos of this situation. So "he began to teach them many things" (eôrxato didaskein autous polla). Two accusatives with the verb of teaching and the present tense of the infinitive. He kept it up.
Richard Lenski, Interpretation of St. Luke--According to John 6:3-5, Jesus did secure a few hours of quiet with his disciples on the mountain side, where no one disturbed them. From this retreat Jesus came out and saw the multitude gathered below along the shore of the lake. It was this sight that melted his heart. ...The eyes of Jesus saw more than a mass of people, they saw the spiritual condition of these people. Sheep without a shepherd stray helplessly and are bound to perish. He saw the fate of these people unless they were shepherded. So "He began to teach them many things." Luke is more specific: "He spoke to them about the Kingdom of God."
+ + +
CHILDREN'S MESSAGE ON MARK 6:34 When Jesus saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
Do you have cats in your house? We have two of them. There was a story in the paper the other day about how good it is for Grandmas or Grandpas who live alone to have a cat. So they decided to make it easier for them to get one and to solve another problem while they were at it. The Doctors know that if Grandma has somebody to take care of and talk to, she is more healthy. Her blood pressure goes down, she doesnt get depressed as much, and she may even live longer. So here is what they decided to do. They took the cats in the Shelter, age 7 and older, and made them available to Senior Citizens for only $10. It usually costs $50 to adopt a cat. So Grandma gets a companion and the cat gets a home. Pretty good idea, wouldnt you say?
Cats that dont have anyone to take care of them are called "feral cats". They are loose on the outside and we often see them lying dead on the highway. Cats that have someone to care for them dont let them outside. Some friends of ours lost one of their cats. They think he ended up as a Coyote supper!
You didn't come to Church to learn about cats, but actually Ive been talking about us too. Like those stray cats, we needed someone to take care of us. Jesus looked at the people and saw them as sheep without a shepherd, so He began teaching them many things. When we listen to Him and when we talk to Him in prayer, were much better off, just as the cat is living with Grandma.
Jesus said that He came to seek and to save those who were lost. He had compassion on us. That means he cares about us, wants to help us and take care of us now and forever. He does that when we listen to His Word. He makes our lives a lot better when we listen to His Word.
People at the Animal Shelter take care of lost cats and dogs and try to find them a home. The Bible says that God is our Home (Ps. 90). Jesus said that He is preparing a home for us and is coming back to take us to our Fathers House forever (John 14).
So if you see a stray cat, think of those sheep that Jesus saw. Think of yourself as a stray who has been found by Jesus. Then enjoy his care for you now and in the life which is to come.
+ + +
"De-Fleece The Flock"
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A.
the most grievous sins are committed by those religious leaders who
subvertand pervertthe Gospel of Jesus Christ.
prophecy records Gods wrath and anger at those unfaithful shepherds who lead
Gods people astray. The people of God in the Southern Kingdom of Israel had
certainly experienced a long, unending string of unfaithful shepherds. The
unbridled unfaithfulness of kings, priests and other leaders resulted in an
unprecedented state of national decadence and decline in the southern Kingdom.
could not let this go on any further. As He sent prophets to the kings and
leaders of the northern kingdom of
Israel just a little over century before, God sent Jeremiah and other prophets
to call the leaders and people of the southern kingdom of Judah to repentance.
The people of Israel failed to respond to Gods call. The result for them is
that their nation was decimated and the people taken captive by the Assyrians.
Jeremiahs call was to prophesy to the southern kingdom to keep them from
having the same experience. Ultimately, he would be unsuccessful. Judah would be
overrun by the Babylonians. The people of Judah, like their neighbors to the
north, would experience slavery. Their nation would be left to ruins.
however, was not totally unsuccessful. His preaching was heard by a remnant of
the faithful. To them Jeremiah proclaimed restoration, and an uplifting message
to Gods pattern of grace, Jeremiahs preaching was not just words of
judgment and condemnation: I will bestow punishment on you for the
evil you have done, saith the
Lord). They also included words of promise to the remnant of those who would
repent and believe.
days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a
righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in
the land .. (v. 5)
proved himself a faithful prophet of God. He preached the word of God in
season and out of season. In doing so he unflinchingly proclaimed Gods
judgment while also faithfully proclaiming Gods Word and promise of grace to
those who repented. Central Jeremiahs preaching was his proclamation of the
coming Messiah, the Good Shepherd. Gods ministers, have as their
highest responsibility, faithfully proclaiming Christand not themselvesto
the people of God. The result of such faithful preaching is indicated in verse
will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be
afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing.
In general, one would do well
to research the Biblical concept of shepherd. Rich in Messianic imagery,
this metaphor is one of the most central themes of the Scriptures.
Shepherds can refer to keepers of sheep, kings, rulers, spiritual leaders
and, of course, Jesus Christ Himself. The shepherd metaphor frequently has
associations of quiet pasture, feeding, dwelling in safety, the quieting of fear
and, most significantly in this text, an association with a faithful leader.
Psalm 23, John 10, Isaiah 40 (vs. 11!), Ezekiel 34 et al all come to mind.
Note also other shepherd
references in Jeremiah, such as that in Jeremiah chapter 31.
10 "Hear the word of the LORD, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: 'He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.' 11 For the LORD will ransom Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they. 12 They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD-- the grain, the new wine and the oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more. Jeremiah 31:10-12 (NIV)
v. 1) Woe is the
prophetic means of calling attention to great dread and punishment. Combined
with Thus says the Lord, these words of Jeremiah are, by virtue of this
formula, are of the highest moment.
destroy is a Hebrew Piel,
with meanings ranging from Destroy To allow one to be destroyed (as
if through abandonment). Apparently, the shepherds are destroying the flock
through both intentional abuse and wanton, careless neglect. Either will
destroy. Combined, the destruction can be enormous.
v. 4) Fear connotes the
experience of terror or
fearful dread, probably not unlike that reported by citizens of Iraq after
the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein.
#1) Since the fall of
Saddam Hussein, we have been dumfounded by the enormity of the terror of his
regime. Mass graves, horrific torture, countless executions and, overall, a
reign of terror characterized this regime. Amazingly, amidst all this evil
Saddam lived at an almost unprecedented level of
opulence, luxury and excess. While killing even members of his family,
Saddam fleeced the Iraqiswithout guilt, without shame, without ceasing.
Though we do not know the
precise details of the Kingdom of Judah to which Jeremiah preached, I think we
can safely say that the people of this kingdom were also fleeced by their
#2) The Episcopalian Church
in the United States recently considered Rev Robinsons election to Bishop of
New Hampshire. CNNs McAfferty
Report (Monday, August 4th, 2003), interviewed one conservative
Episcopalian church leader regarding the Robinson nomination. He responded, A
bishop is to be a symbol of unity not disunity. Another interviewee said,
It would not bother me if my bishop was gay. I can understand why it might
bother some people. But cant we just get along?
Doesnt it seem strange
that, at least in the media, no one is asking, What does God say? When
leaders refuse to use Gods Word of Scripture as their guideor when they
construe and twist it for their own meansthe expected result is that the
flock will be fleeced.
#3) The calling God
gives to His Shepherds is like that which Doctors take in the Hippocratic Oath.
Do no harm. Unfortunately, there are plenty of pastors, priests, bishops
and other church leaders who, for a multitude of motives, would rather fleece
the flock at their own expense rather than submit themselves in humility to
ministering to Gods people in a way that brings honor to God and His Church.
#4) NBA star, Kobe Bryant,
recently appeared at the 2003 Teen Choice Awards, where he was picked as the
favorite male athlete. In his acceptance speech, he reminded us of a famous
quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. An
injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere. Nowhere is this felt more than
in the Body of Christ. The prophecy of Jeremiah is just one of many examples in
which selfish, ungodly rulers fleece the flock.
#5) Liberals in the United
States Senate are
stallingfilibusteringthe confirmation vote for Alabama Attorney General
Bill Pryor. Pryor -- a conservative Roman Catholic has been nominated for a
seat on the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.. Why the delay?
Allegedly its because hes Roman Catholic. Some, apparently, are afraid
that his Christian faith will influence him in his decisions on the bench. If
such bias is true, in what ways might this affect the way our nation perceives
#1) The need for discerning
Evangelist Billy Walked told a
story about the city fathers of New York as they contemplated the future growth
of the city. They laid out the streets and numbered them from the center
outward. When they began, there were only six or seven streets. In their
planning maps, they projected how large they thought the city might grow.
Reaching beyond their wildest imagination, they drew streets on the map all the
way out to 19th street. They called it "Boundary Street" because they
were sure that's all the larger New York City would become. But history has
proven them to be shortsighted. At the last count, the city had reached 284th
Street -- far exceeding their expectations!
#2) President Dwight
Eisenhower On Integrity of Leadership:
In order to be a leader a man must have followers. And to have followers, a man must have their confidence. Hence the supreme quality of a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, on a football field, in an army, or in an office. If a man's associates find him guilty of phoniness, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. The first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bits & Pieces, September 15, 1994, p. 4.
#3) Checklist For Christian
Myron Rush identifies tough issues facing every Christian leader in The New Leader. We are wise to ponder them slowly.
- You must be willing to stand alone.
- You must be willing to go against public opinion in order to promote what you believe.
- You must be willing to risk failure.
- You must become master of your emotions.
- You must strive to remain above reproach.
- You must be willing to make decisions others don't want to make.
- You must be willing to say no at times, even when you'd like to say yes.
- You must sometimes be willing to sacrifice personal interests for the good of the group.
- You must never be content with the average; you must always strive for the best.
- People must be more important to you than possessions.
- You will have to work harder to keep your life in balance than people do who are not leaders.
Borthwick, Leading the Way, Navpress, 1989, pp. 177-178.
International Examples: Regime of Saddam Hussein
2. National: Bias against Christianity? Judicial Nomination
3. Ecclesiastical: Will Biblical standards for Bishops and Clergy be upheld in the
Biblical: Will God allow the leaders in Judah to fleece the flock?
why He called Jeremiah
What happens when flocks are fleeced
1. People experience fear, dread, terror, injustice, etc
2. Leaders indulge in immoral excess, lack of restraint, etc
Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely
3. People and Leaders: in danger of losing faith, hope and Gods blessing
A. Gods strategy: Send a prophet
1. Not a new strategy
but a repeatedly used one
2. Results? Only a remnant remains faithful
B. Common thread in prophetic ministry
The prophet must stand against the crowds, go up before Kings, preach judgment
2. Prophets proclaim grace, promise and hope to the remnant
3. Most important prophetic task: Proclaim Christ, the Messiah, as the center of this hope.
A. Corporate level: having God-fearing secular and religious leaders
B. Personal level: God call uswhoever we areto be de-fleece
1. Be rooted in His Word
2. Proclaim Gods Word with conviction
Ministry Health Sermon Starters
Copyright 2003 Ministry Health
All Rights Reserved
Go to Main Page
Main Site: http://ministryhealth.net/
FrontPage and Microsoft Internet Explorer are registered trademarks of
This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:33 PM