“I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat.”
They were stupid. They were the wrong race. They were just the worst of the worst. That is how one could be tempted to view the crowd gathered in Mark 8. Jesus had been preaching in the Decapolis, among the gentile nations. And they had followed Jesus out into the wilderness to listen to Him, but they hadn’t brought enough supplies. Now they were hungry, on the verge of fainting. Even the disciples themselves were running low – Jesus had preached so long that they were down to seven loaves.
Jesus, though, doesn’t see foolish people. He doesn’t see them as “other” or any of the many myriad ways we in our sinfulness can come up with to denigrate people, especially when they are inconveniencing us. No, Jesus has compassion. Literally in Greek, His guts are wrenched, twisted. He sees them not on the basis of any sin or strife or folly, but Jesus sees them as people who have been with Him for three days. And He cares for them, so He feeds them.
How does Jesus see you? Does He see you with a harsh and critical eye, like the one that we use to judge our neighbor? Does Jesus look at you and facepalm over the repeated stupidity you show (because let’s be honest, we all have our pet stupid sins that we repeat)? No – He has compassion upon you, because you have been with Him three days.
Paul writes, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” You too have been with Jesus three days. You have been united to Him by baptism, and He cannot but have compassion on you. He cannot but help to care for you and forgive you your sins. You have Jesus’ love all of your days, even unto the life of the world to come.