We all experience pain. Sometimes it’s physical. Often it’s more of an internal, emotional, or mental pain. Grief. Doubt. Anxiety. Fear. Left unchecked this type of pain can become debilitating, rendering us almost incapable of any activity. How do we deal with that sort of pain?
Since that variety of pain, the internalized not obvious to the outside observer pain, is so common, we likely encounter people suffering in a such a way quite often, whether we recognize it or not.
Jesus experienced many of these things during His earthly ministry. Upon learning that Herod had beheaded John the Baptist, His cousin, Jesus went off by Himself to a secluded place.
The Bible doesn’t tell us what Jesus did there or how long He stayed. We can imagine the He prayed and grieved for John.
As Jesus was off by Himself word spread of His whereabouts and thousands of people came out of the neighboring cities to find Him. When Jesus returned He saw the crowd and, in the midst of His grief, felt compassion for them and healed their sick.
The day wore on. As evening fell the disciples asked Jesus to send the crowds away so that the people could go into the neighboring villages and find something to eat. Jesus told the disciples, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!”
The disciples scrambled and finally came up with five loaves of bread and two fish, nothing, they thought, in comparison to the need. Jesus took the meager offering, had the people sit down and then blessed the food. He then had the disciples distribute to the crowd.
“All ate and were satisfied.” The disciples then picked up the leftovers. Twelve full baskets. Those five loaves and two fish had fed 5,000 men plus an unspecified number of women and children.
This feeding of the five thousand is the only one of Jesus’ miracles recorded in all four of the Gospels. The lessons found in the account are many. The healing power of serving others as Jesus did even in the midst of His grief over the passing of John, the importance of not only recognizing need in others but of being willing to offer what we have, no matter how meager it may seem, to meet that need and trusting that God will multiply what we bring.
During Middays Prayer Time this week, around 10:30 AM and 2:30 PM I’ll be sharing from Matthew’s account of this miracle.
Mon 11/08/21 Matthew 14:1-5
Tue 11/09/21 Matthew 14:6-11
Wed 11/10/21 Matthew 14:12-14
Thu 11/11/21 Matthew 14:15-18
Fri 11/12/21 Matthew 14:19-21
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