HE’S ALL HEART
Father, for the people who love me, I give thanks. For the people I find difficult, I ask for restored relationships.
Read Matthew 14:13–21
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat will it cost me today to show mercy and kindness in practical ways?
There’s more than a hint of sadness in the way this story is framed. After Jesus is informed of the death and burial of his cousin John, he withdraws to a quiet place. This is a textbook way of dealing with grief.
The experience of losing a loved one often creates a need to be alone and away from others. We see here the depth of Jesus’ humanity, he feels the need to grieve and mourn just like us.
But he is not alone for long. Even though he’s on a boat, the crowds follow him and Jesus goes out to meet them. Why? He’s motivated by compassion, although this sounds too reserved. The Greek word translated as compassion suggests deep inner turmoil, literally that his bowels were in pain.
Even though he’s dealing with his own grief and pain, Jesus is still vulnerable to the needs of others. And after a full day’s healing, the evening brings a further challenge: feeding at least five thousand hungry people. Once again Jesus’ behavior challenges our own.
How often have you turned away from others because you need to guard your boundaries or protect your space? How can you reach out to someone else who may be struggling today?
Lord, You always make time for me. Help me to make time for others in need.