August 24, 2003


In Mark 6:7-13, Jesus sent His apostles out on what we often call “the limited commission.” Their preaching was directed to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel,” (Matthew 10:5-6). As the apostles traveled and preached from place to place, Jesus came along behind them and continued to build on the foundation they had laid, Matthew 10:23.

In Mark 6:30-34 Mark continues: “Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.’ For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves. But the multitudes saw them departing, and many knew Him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to Him. And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.”

At this particular time, Jesus and His apostles were enjoying great popularity among the Israelite people. Having just returned from preaching to Israel’s lost sheep, they did not even have time to relax or eat their meals because of the demands of the people for more instruction. The need for a few moments of solitude, a brief time to relax and refresh themselves was a legitimate need. No man can continually work at peak performance without having the necessary time to rest and recuperate

But, at the moment, Jesus saw an even more pressing need. He saw that the multitudes were like sheep with no shepherd. Sheep with no shepherd will soon lack the food and water that is necessary to sustain health and life. In the 23rd Psalm, David gives us insight to some of the duties of the shepherd: “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul’ (Psalm 23:1-3a).

Sheep with no shepherd are lost. They have no guidance, no sense of direction. They stand at the crossroad, not knowing which way to turn. David says of the shepherd, “He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake,” (Psalm 23:3).

Sheep with no shepherd are in constant danger. They have no protection, no defense against predators, no one to bind up their wounds, take them into shelter, and care for their needs. The shepherd psalm continues, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).

Jesus saw Israel’s need for guidance and direction. Jesus “was moved with compassion... So He began to teach them…”

--Clarence R. Johnson


"'My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.'" If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Heb. 12:5-11).

How does God chasten us? In the Bible the term "chasten" is equal to the word discipline. There are three kinds of discipline or chastening: (1) instructive, 2 Tim. 3:16-17; (2) preventative, 2 Cor. 12:1; 1 Cor. 9:27; and (3) punitive, Eph. 6:4; 1 Tim. 1:20.

There are several agents or agencies that God uses, or has used, to chasten His children: 

1. His word and those who teach it, 2 Tim. 3:16.
2. Parents in the home, Eph. 6:4.
3. Civil rulers in society, Rom. 13:1-7.
4. Spiritual leaders in the church, 1 Tim. 1:20; 5:20.
5. Nations have sometimes been used to chasten other nations, Lev. 26:14-46.
6. Persecutors have been used to strengthen Christians, Acts 8:1-4.
7. Even Satan and his devices have been turned to an advantage, 2 Cor. 12
8. Natural agents such as storms, wild animals, etc. have sometimes served God's providential purposes in humbling those who have not learned in other ways, Lev. 26:14ff.

We are not suggesting that God causes all these things, but we believe He uses them for our good. Chastening, whether in the form of mild rebuke or that which is punitive in its nature is not pleasant, but it is always for our good. 

--Clarence R. Johnson


The Hebrew writer admonishes us in the face of adversity to follow the example of Jesus, who endured the cross and the sinners who aligned themselves again Him, and continued to faithfully serve the heavenly Father, (See Heb. 12:1-3). As a matter of fact, Jesus faced all the things that sometimes cause us to lose heart.

1. Jesus found the organized religion of His day riddled with hypocrites. See Matt. 6:1-18; Matt. 23. Most likely there were some hypocrites present every time Jesus attended the synagogue, but Jesus never quit attending. "So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read" (Luke 4:16). 
2. Jesus was not able to convince His family or His boy-hood friends of the truth of His message. "He came to his own" -- His own nation, His own hometown; His own family -- "and His own did not receive Him" (John 1:11). See Luke 4:22-29; John 7:1-5. This is enough to discourage many of us but Jesus didn't quit.
3. As it turned out, many of those who initially followed Jesus did so for material gain, and later turned away from Him (John 6: 66-87) but Jesus didn't give up,
4. Some He was kind to, forgot Him in ingratitude (Luke 17:12-19; Mark 5:15-17).
5. He was falsely accused (Matt. 12:24; John 9:16; Matt. 26:61) But Jesus didn't quit. 
6. He was misunderstood (John 21:21-23); He was denied (Mark 14:66-71); He was betrayed (Matt. 26:46-50). But Jesus didn't quit loving man-kind. He didn't quit serving God. He didn't quit reaching out in forgiveness for those who would accept it, (Luke 21:34; 2 Pet. 3:9).



When Jesus went to synagogue
And taught the people there
He found among the worshipers
A pretense for a prayer.

Some people there were covetous,
And some were filled with pride.
Some were spotless outwardly,
But dead men's bones inside.

Some were less than grateful;
Some were less than fair.
Some were filled with hate and greed,
And some just didn't care.

Some were morally impure,
And some were hypocrites --
But God be thanked forevermore
That Jesus didn't quit!

--Clarence R. Johnson



Sept. 14-19, 2003

Hyde Park, PA

Steve Klein

Sept. 24-28, 2003

Dexter, Maine

Clarence Johnson

Oct. 17-19, 2003

Washington, NJ

Mark Russell

Blessed is the man who can adjust to a new set of circumstances without surrendering his convictions.



Clarence R. Johnson
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