The Considerateness of Christ
St. Mark VI. 30 to end.
"An high priest who can sympathize with our infirmities."
T HE whole Lesson is about Christ's considerateness. Do not underestimate the importance of teaching the lesson about holidays here. It is most injurious to children to associate God's will only with work and school, and disagreeable things, and to fancy that He only "puts up with" play and holidays, and laughter, and all that they enjoy. Apply the third section as a "parable of life," as indicated in the Lesson.
§ 1. Considerate for Tired People
Disciples just returned from their mission; dead tired
after tramping from village to village in the hot sun,
preaching and arguing with unwilling hearers. What did
they tell Him?
Is it right to teach boys and girls that only lessons, and work, and sickness, and disagreeable things are God's will, and not to tell them that the games, and amusements, and merry romping everywhere are God's will, too, so long as wrong-doing is kept out? Would your parents like to see you never playing, or laughing, or enjoying yourselves? Would God like it? Parents want you to enjoy life. Does God? Yes; far more than parents do. Not lazy, constant idling. He hates that. He delights in hearty work. But He delights, too, in hearty play after work. Therefore, always remember in the midst of games and holidays that God rejoices in His children's enjoyments. He intended the lambs to skip and jump in the fields. He intended you to laugh, and play, and be full of happiness. Only one thing He forbids in your play, because it would spoil your happiness and your lives. What? Sin.
§ 2. Considerate for Hungry People
if you would like, just at
holiday times when very tired, to find holidays
stopped. So here. Crowds saw them going, and noted
direction, and came swarming after them—no rest; no
quiet. Did He get vexed?
Directions about seating them—in ranks— word means
"garden beds." Evidently they were placed in regular
rows and squares, and, with their bright-coloured
dresses, looked like a number of huge flower-beds. Why
so arranged? That all should be orderly, and none
passed over. Like arrangement at big Sunday School
treat. How many "flower-beds" would there be if all
fifties? How many if all hundreds? Women and children
sat in other rows separate. Therefore, easy to know
Now, see the gaily dressed groups, like garden-plots, a huge crowd, and the five little barley-loaves in Jesus's hands. How the people would stare and wonder. What could He do? First He looked up to Heaven and blessed them. His thoughts were always of Heaven and thankfulness. (Refer here to grace before and after meals.) Then? Then? Gave to disciples and they to poor hungry people—men, women, and children. How thankful the mothers would be to see the hungry children fed by Him. How glad He would be, for He so loved children. But how could five loaves feed 5,000? We know not. With God all things are possible. Does He ever do that miracle now? Would you be surprised if I had seen it done last year! How? Farmer put in a bushel of corn in ground, and left it, and God made it into fifty bushels! That miracle is going on every year. It was nothing difficult to our Lord. It was His ordinary work. He is always doing it. So the "water turned into wine." (John ii.) Nothing strange or difficult in it. It is God's everyday work, only just done then in a shorter time. In vineyards of Italy the vine roots suck up the moisture out of the ground, and God turns it into wine. To us all these things are miracles. To God they are easy, ordinary things.
Notice how considerate he was for these people's wants. He loved men's souls, and helped and saved them. Yet He did not think of people merely as "souls" to be saved, but as men and women to be helped in every way. He is always like that. While thinking of the danger of sinful human souls, He thinks also of the burden of weary human hearts, and the hunger of starving human bodies. He loves to bless us, comfort us, help us, but, above all, to make us noble and good.
§ 3. Considerate for Frightened People
Is He looking at and thinking of them? Do they know? Some do. Most people doubt or forget that there is One always looking down, caring more than their nearest and dearest for the hard struggle of life. Just as on the mountain-top that night, so always. What did He do? Why? Bring out the thought of His care and consideration in going to help and cheer them, and apply it to the help He gives to frightened strugglers still. "Be of good cheer, it is I; be not afraid." Carry on the story, and apply it as a parable of life. When they received Him into the ship, the storm ceased, and there was a great calm. Show how that happens still when they receive Him into the ship.