Can you imagine the scene? Five thousand hungry people with no leader to help them fill their empty stomachs. Jesus then steps in and becomes the shepherd of the flock, the leader of the gathering, and the one who hurries to feed them. I have enjoyed listening to many sermons on these verses under the theme of "miracles," or "feeding the hungry," or "the shepherd."
We have too often reduced this miracle to a mere supernatural multiplication of food. But there is something deeper, more significant here, summed up byMark in three small words, "he had compassion." What can we learn from these words?
Here we see Jesus, the bearer of ultimate compassion. The compassionate heart of Jesus saw hungry, empty stomachs and was moved to feed them. Jesus' compassionate shepherd's heart saw sheep without a shepherd. This was divine compassion embodied in a human heart. Jesus was not simply deciding to take over as their leader; he was not using their hunger for political reasons (in fact, when they tried to make him king afterward, he hid from them). He chose to feed them because his heart had compassion for them; he met their needs and asked nothing in return.
Our hearts should be like the heart of Jesus, soft and compassionate, not stony. Let us allow our kind feelings to appear on the surface, grow, and bear fruit. The Holy Spirit often deals with our feelings to move us to do the work he has chosen for us. If you see a hungry person, do not hesitate to feed them. If someone comes to you with nothing to wear, give them what makes them warm. Let us remember Jesus' words, "Whoever has two shirts must give one to the man who has none, and whoever has food must share it." (Luke 3:11).
- 22 JULY -