Summary: Jesus has one overriding concern in life - our welfare. He had compassion on us, sacrificing himself for our benefit. We take comfort in a God whom we can fully trust.
To the early Christians, this particular event in the life of Jesus is an important one. It is the only miracle of Jesus that is reported in all 4 Gospels. Apparently there is something significant here that the 4 authors want us to see.
After a particularly intense period of ministry, Jesus had gone off by himself. But the crowds followed him, and at the end of the day they were hungry. The disciples wanted Jesus to dismiss them but He said, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” (14:16).
What motivated Jesus to say that? Verse 14 give us a clue – “He had compassion on them.”
Now if we understand the MENTAL STATE Jesus is in, we’ll appreciate Him much more.
Jesus did not plan to meet this crowd. 14:13 says He was withdrawing by boat privately to a solitary place. Why? Possibly to grief over the loss of a friend, and to spend time praying. Verse 13 says He wanted that quiet time after hearing the news – v.12 that John the Baptist was beheaded (His forerunner and kinsman).
But this crowd interrupted His plan. And that’s why after the whole event was over – v.22-23 Jesus asked the disciples to get into the boat and go on ahead of Him, while He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. That was His original plan. He needed that quiet time.
So this crowd spoilt His schedule. They did not give Him any peace. They followed Him on foot and when Jesus landed on the shore, the large crowd was there. His plan was interrupted. Yet He wasn’t angry. He wasn’t irritated.
Yet Luke says “He welcomed them.” (Luke 9:11). Mark 6:34 “He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.” Jesus loved them. Taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed the sick. CAN YOU SEE THE HEART OF JESUS? What was He motivated by? Not His own agenda, but your needs!
Do you doubt that God can meet your needs? Are you like these people, stranded in the wilderness without food?
1. If you feel helpless, allow God to take the lead
We can’t solve every problem, and God don’t intend us to. But He is going to challenge us, to push us to the edge... and cause us to put our faith in Him.
Taken from Max Lucado’s Experiencing the Heart of Jesus, pp.3-4
This interview is between the Holy Land Press (REPORTER) and Moses.
REPORTER: Tell us about your conflict with the Egyptians.
MOSES: Oh, the Egyptians - big people. Strong fighters. Mean as snakes.
REPORTER: But you got away.
MOSES: Not before they got washed away.
REPORTER: You’re talking about the Red Sea conflict.
MOSES: You’re right. That was scary.
REPORTER: Tell us what happened.
MOSES: Well, the Red Sea was on one side, and the Egyptians were on the other.
REPORTER: So you attacked?
MOSES: Are you kidding? With a half-million who were previous slaves? No, my people were too afraid. They wanted to go back to Egypt.
REPORTER: So you told everyone to retreat?
MOSES: Where? Into the water? We didn’t have a boat. We didn’t have anywhere to go.
REPORTER: What did your leaders recommend?
MOSES: I didn’t ask them. There wasn’t time.
REPORTER: Then what did you do?
MOSES: I told the people to stand still.
REPORTER: You mean, with the enemy coming, you told them not to move?
MOSES: Yep. I told the people, ’~Stand still and you will see the Lord save you."
REPORTER: Why would you want the people to stand still?
MOSES: To get out of God’s way. If you don’t know what to do, it’s best just to sit tight till he does his thing.
REPORTER: That’s odd strategy, don’t you think?
MOSES: It is if you are big enough for the battle. But when the battle is bigger than you are and you want God to take over, it’s all you can do.
REPORTER: Can we talk about something else?
MOSES: It’s your paper.
REPORTER: Soon after your escape...
MOSES: Our deliverance.
REPORTER: What’s the difference?
MOSES: There is a big difference. When you escape, you do it. When you are delivered, someone else does it and you just follow.
2. God will sustain us, even if that takes a miracle. We just need to trust.
1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
When Jesus asked Philip to get food for the people, it was a test. John 6:6 “He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.”
· Their problem is my concern
· Trust God to deliver us
How would man respond in such a situation? We get a clue from the disciples. According to John’s Gospel (chap.6), Philip asked, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” They said, “That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?" (Mark 6:37) One bible translation says, “They protested!” Man’s response is calculative. How can? It will take a fortune to feed these people. Do we need to do that? This is not our problem! They come and unprepared for this. Let them solve their problem – get back to the village and get their own food.