Friday, April 11, 2014

Lent 2014: Crowd following Jesus

Matthew 14:13-21
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It takes some preparation for most people to go on a road trip. The large number of people following after Jesus were not simply out for the day on paid vacation. They were needy. They were physically sick, they were spiritually thirsty, they needed leaders who thought a little less of their own morality and a little more of the sheep they were supposed to protect. They left their towns and villages for a remote location, an area distant enough that Jesus chose it to retreat from the crowds. They didn't take time to gather supplies for their pilgrimage, and they probably spent a lot of energy helping one another reach Him despite their illnesses and infirmities, so they found themselves without even a meal.
Jesus cares for every aspect of the people's needs. He heals their physical ailments, He teaches them the truth, He provides the loving leadership they were lacking, and He even refuses to send them away without the food they need. Scripture doesn't tell us what happened to the twelve basketfuls of leftover pieces, but I doubt that the disciples took them all for themselves. Most or all were probably carried off by the crowd to provide the next day's breakfast as they returned home to their jobs and families...or pursued Jesus to His next location. They made great sacrifices to seek out the Son of Man, and He did not disappoint them.
What needs do you have? Are you willing to go far out of your way to seek after Jesus in the hopes that He will take care of you? We seem to think that God ought to respond to our every need the very first time we pray or provide for us before we even ask Him to. Yet the people in this crowd put a lot of effort into seeking out Jesus. Perhaps we should expect to put more effort into our petitions also. Yet the reward is greater than the crowd or the disciples anticipated. When we bring one need to Him, how many others will He see and also take care of for us out of compassion for us.

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