He has just heard about the death of John. He asks his closest companions to come away with him for a while so they can talk about how their missions have gone (1-13). Their solitude doesn't last. People recognize them and want to be near to them.
Jesus had compassion on them because he could see that they were like sheep without a shepherd.
And from his compassion, he begins to teach them many things.
What are we supposed to do with this example? When does teaching take precedence over feeding?
They just showed up? Do we run our churches as if we believe that's the best way to get followers--go off somewhere by ourselves and they'll just show up?