“His Heart Goes Out To Them” ( Matthew 14: 14, NEB ) by Carley Evans


Jesus hears of the murder of John the Baptist, takes a boat and withdraws ‘privately’ to a lonely place. People “come after Him in crowds by land from the towns.” (Matthew 14: 13) We don’t know how long the people wait for Jesus to return, but when He “sees a great crowd; His heart goes out to them.”

What does He do? He doesn’t pray for them. Instead, He heals those who are sick. (Matthew 14:15) Then He sees the people are hungry. Likely they waited for Jesus all day for the disciples complain that “the day is gone.” (Matthew 14:15)

Jesus wants the disciples to feed the crowd. He says, “There is no need for [the people] to go.” (Matthew 14:16) But the disciples don’t have much in the way of provisions. Jesus takes what little they have, and multiplies it — just like that. Everyone has more than enough to eat — even leftovers! Jesus feeds about 10-15 thousand people, given that men, women and children are in the crowd.

Jesus meets needs. He doesn’t stand afar off in the boat, and lift hands to heaven. He comes ashore. He heals the sick. He feeds the hungry. He loves strangers and sinners, men, women and children. He disciplines His disciples. He takes care of Himself, going away ‘privately’ to a lonely place.

Guess which one He does first?

“Bring Them To Jesus” (Matthew 14:17-20, NEB) by Carley Evans


‎” ‘All we have here’, they say, ‘is five loaves and two fishes.’ ‘Let Me have them’, He replies. So He tells the people to sit down on the grass; then, taking the five loaves and the two fishes, He looks up to heaven, says the blessing, breaks the loaves, and gives them to the disciples; and the disciples give them to the people.”

 

Jesus tells His disciples not to send the hungry people away; instead He commands them to feed the five thousand men not to mention their women and children who are scattered along the hillside. Jesus tells the men “to sit down on the grass.” He says, “Take a seat, relax. We’re going to make sure you all have something to eat, and even more than you need.” Can’t you just see the smile in Jesus’ eyes as He says this to the crowd?

 

The disciples are incredulous. “We’ve only got this little bit of food. This is not even enough for us! And you want to share it with all these people? No way, Lord.” Can’t you just hear the whine, the anxiety in their voices as they say this to Jesus? What He is asking of them is just too much!

Jesus’ response is: “Bring them to Me.” He tells the disciples to give over what they have to Him. “I’ll take care of the hard part,” He says.

 

Then He prays over the five loaves, breaks them into pieces, gives the pieces of bread to His disciples who scrounge about for enough baskets to hold all the bread Jesus continues to hand back to them.

 

The little we give to Jesus comes back to us in ever abundant amounts. Not only do we gain what we need, we gain more than we need. [And for leaders, that which they give to Jesus He asks them to give back to those they shepherd. And everyone will have more than enough!]

“God Is Kind” (Proverbs 21: 21, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Whoever pursues…kindness will find life…”

We speak of God being loving, but how many of us ever say, “God is kind?” The kind person is considerate first. Do you think of God as considerate? As Jesus is the “exact imprint of [God’s] nature,” we might be able to imagine God the Father as considerate. Jesus is certainly considerate of the crowd when He tells His disciples to “give them something to eat.” (Matthew 14: 16)

“And great crowds come to Him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at His feet, and He heals them, so that the crowd wonders, when they see the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. Then Jesus calls His disciples to Him and says, ‘I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.’ ” (Matthew 15: 30 – 32)

Jesus, the Son of God, is kind. He feels compassion.

Jesus says, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him, and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.” (Luke 11: 5 – 8)

Jesus tells us to pursue kindness and find life.

Jesus tells of the persistent widow who keeps coming to a judge “who neither fears God nor respects man.” (Luke 18: 2) The widow is seeking justice, and comes to the judge repeatedly. Eventually, to rid himself of her, he grants her justice. “And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? I tell you, He will give justice speedily.” (Luke 18: 8)

God, the Father, is kind. He gives us righteousness and life.