Mark 6:34 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 6:34, NIV: "When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things."

Mark 6:34, ESV: "When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things."

Mark 6:34, KJV: "And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things."

Mark 6:34, NASB: "When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things."

Mark 6:34, NLT: "Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things."

Mark 6:34, CSB: "When he went ashore, he saw a large crowd and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things."

What does Mark 6:34 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus has taken the Twelve away to rest, but a crowd of five thousand men plus women and children (Matthew 14:21) quickly follow. As much as Jesus needs to spend time with His shepherds-in-training, He can't neglect the thousands of lost sheep who so urgently need Him now. "Compassion" is from the Greek root word splagchnizomai, which means "to be moved with love in the deepest part of a person." So Jesus postpones the time of rest to heal (Matthew 14:14) and teach the people.

The Jews in Jesus' time have no lack of religious leaders. The scribes were established after the Babylonian captivity (Ezra 7:6) and made sure the Mosaic Law was copied and interpreted correctly. The Pharisees cajole the people to obey not only the Mosaic Law but also their oral laws, placing a burden God did not intend (Matthew 23:2–4). The priests walk a delicate line, keeping the people beholden to the Law while strategizing how much they can rebel against the Roman occupiers without risking destruction. And local synagogue leaders choose readers from among the men to speculate on the meanings of Old Testament passages. In addition, the people must deal with Herod Antipas, the self-styled king, and Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect of Judea.

Very few of these leaders are also shepherds. They control, and they manipulate, but they don't provide protective, loving leadership. Jesus sees them as "fat sheep" who take from the weak to feed themselves (Ezekiel 34:17–24). Jesus is the fulfillment of Ezekiel 34:23: "And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd." As the shepherd of Israel, Jesus cannot refuse the sheep who come to Him.