"...His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. John's disciples came and took his body and buried it. They then went and told Jesus. When Jesus heard about what happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick..."
Jesus had just lost John the Baptist. I cannot fathom the grief, or sorrow. I cannot imagine the weight of losing such a person in such a way. Jesus withdrew from everyone. He wanted to be alone.
The people heard, and they wanted to be with Jesus. They followed him, on foot, to where he went. They were devoted to his cause, and wanted to hear him, see him, be near him. They needed him to heal them.
When Jesus saw the crowd, after he had gone to be by himself, he felt compassion for them. Through his own pain, he felt compassion and the need to reach out and heal these others.
How comforting to know that we serve a God who, even through his own anguish, has compassion for us and wants to heal and comfort us. It is so exciting to think that even in the midst of tragedy, our savior will heal and provide. He will never leave and never forsake us, never. Not even in his own grief and hurting would he pull away from us.
How do we show compassion? When we are mad and hurting, are we able to look on others with compassion? Are we able to put aside our own grief and sorrow for the benefit of others? To live compassionately is not to give to the hurting in our time of strength, but to give to the hurting in our time of grief.