There are two key phrases in this chapter, that jumped out at me today:
1) He was moved with compassion for them (vs. 14).
“Moved with compassion” is a single Greek verb; it means to have sympathetic consciousness’ of others’ distress, together with a desire to alleviate it. Jesus not only had the desire to alleviate whatever distress was being experienced by the multitude, but He also had the ability to alleviate it. And He did so out of love, out of compassion, out of sympathy. He had just received devastating news that His cousin and the Lord’s prophet had been beheaded because of drunken promises made at a licentious, worldly, depraved feast. I am sure His desire to be alone to grieve or pray was great. However, the distress suffered by the multitude moved Him to compassion, and He willingly served them and met their needs before His own.
2) Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid (vs. 27).
“Be of good cheer” is a single Greek verb; it means to be of good cheer, comfort, or courage. It means to encourage to greater hope, courage, or comfort; to give strength or hope to. Do not be terrified, frightened, or seized with alarm; it is Jesus! Who is moved with compassion for us. 🙂
I know this happens to me: those who spend a great deal of time studying Torah, and who are conscious of their desire to be obedient to it, can have the Scriptural admonition to fear the Lord sometimes eclipse the Scriptural admonition that the Lord greatly loves us. He greatly loves us!
Jesus is the express image of the Father, and he who has seen Jesus, has seen the Father. If Jesus was moved with compassion, sympathetic to our distress coupled with a desire to alleviate it, you can bet that it is because the Father was first so. If Jesus wanted us to be encouraged to greater hope, courage, and comfort, it is because the Father was first so.
We can come boldly before the throne of grace – He is moved with compassion to alleviate our distress, and desires to give us greater hope, courage, and comfort. 🙂