9th Sunday after Pentecost

When He (Jesus) went ashore, He saw a great crowd; and He had compassion for them and cured their sick…They (the crowd of over 5,000) need not go away; you give them something to eat. Matthew 14:13-21.

Scripture has a way of reaching us in ways that nothing else can. Scripture also has a way of challenging us with new or deeper perspectives every time we interact with it. This is all true because of it being God’s word to us. This section is no different. It has so much to meditate upon but I want to focus on one element for now…the compassion flowing into action.

The immediate point is that Jesus looked upon the people and had compassion upon them and He healed them. It is equally true that Jesus is looking at you now, wherever you are, with compassion. Compassion may mean “with passion” but not in a sexual way in this context. It is a more old-fashioned meaning in that “with strong caring emotion” …that is how Jesus looked on the people, on us. He looks at us with feelings that are strong and deep (please read last week’s post below). Jesus still does. He sees you struggling with illness, job loss, physical/emotional pain, and all the other issues we deal with as humans. He was both human (in every way) and God. Jesus gets it. That is good news. But that is not the end of the good news. Jesus did not walk by the needs of the crowd. Rather, He looked and did something: Compassion with action.

After Jesus healed the people we read that they are far from home and are hungry. Jesus asked the disciples to “see” the situation and not ignore it. They looked around and saw the people, so many people, and started down the path of hopelessness. They had a little but there were so many people. They looked at the resources and not the Resourcer; they looked at the creation and not the Creator. We do that as humans. We forget the truth during the struggles. But we can choose to refocus our attention.

Jesus took what they had to offer (Note: Jesus will always take what we offer to Him no matter how small it may seem to us.) and blessed it and gave it to the people. They were filled! And there were leftovers! He did not just meet the need but He met the need with overabundance. Jesus is so extravagant.

Compassion in action did not stop in the first century of the church. It still happens. We see it with Christians who feel the pain of others and do something about it. Maybe Christians share their time, their talents, their treasures, themselves. Maybe they weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who are rejoicing. Maybe they stand by during the funeral or throw a party for the graduate. They are moved with compassion to action, and in so doing, are “feeding” those they serve…abundantly.

You may have only five loaves and two fish but remember, Jesus can do amazing things with gifts given to Him. If you are “hungry” I know Jesus will “feed” you with exactly what you need and generously to boot. Amen.

Author: PastorBianca

Bianca is a Christian, married to Jim, a mother of two grown sons,, a grandmother, and great-grandmother. She likes to spend time with her family, read, do various hand-crafts, and drink coffee.

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