Irvin Wasswa- Tylertown Campus Pastor LHBC
13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
I have read the story of the feeding of the five thousand many times since coming to know Christ. For the longest time the thought I had in the story was that Jesus displayed His power in providing a buffet out of one child’s lunch. I never made the effort to choose to ask the question as to why He chose to demonstrate His power in providing food for the large crowd. Sure it was in part due to His revealing Himself as the Son of God, but also I believe that it was also a display of His love and compassion for the people in choosing to bless them.
In the context of Matthew 14, we see that Jesus just learns of his friend John the Baptist being beheaded per the request of the daughter of Herodious. When He heard the news He went to a place to get alone by Himself. Many times when He did this it was to spend time with the Father. While dwelling alone we see that large crowds surrounded Him and that He was MOVED WITH COMPASSION. Jesus was stirred from within so deeply to help the crowd that He responded by choosing to meet needs and provide food for them. Jesus did not have to do any of these things for the people of Jerusalem, but because of His compassion He chose to do so.
I cannot help but to think of the moments Jesus shows us His love and compassion each and every day. From the times we may fly off the handle with that co-worker or your kids, how instead of striking us dead, His conviction moves us to potentially respond by way of repentance. Those times when we are experiencing His blessings in our life are moments where we see His love and compassion on display in He being the great Giver. The evidence of His compassion towards His children is endless, and for that reason we ought to possess an attitude of gratitude.
As we reflect on Good Friday today, perhaps the greatest display of love and compassion was this same Jesus we see in Matthew 14 lay down His own life so that we could find true life. As we reflect on that great move of compassion today, may we choose to have a heart of gratitude for our great God who is compassionate, slow to anger, rich in mercy and steadfast in love. May we choose to be aware of and praise Him for the moments of compassion we experience in our life from Him every single day as well. We serve a wonderful and compassionate God. Let us rejoice in the fact that we belong to Him today!
PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord God, as I reflect on your sacrifice this good friday, help for me to remember that it was because of Your compassion that You hung on that tree for me. Help for me to choose to praise You for all the times I see Your compassion on display in my life. I love you! In Jesus’ name, Amen!
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.