Whenever we put the actions and the character of the disciples into contrast with the action and character of the Lord, we have a sharp distinction which shows only the wonderful glory of the Lord. The disciples were selfish, but "Christ pleased not himself" (Rom. 15:3). One evening when the disciples were walking with the Lord, a great crowd followed Him. He, with His shepherd heart, was concerned with the need of the crowd. He was moved with compassion toward them because they were as sheep not having a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.
The story does not only tell us about John, however. It also tells us about Herod, and what it tells us is that he was the exact opposite of John at every point.