马太福音 14:13-14 耶稣听见了，就上船从那里独自退到野地里去。众人听见，就从各城里步行跟随他。 耶稣出来，见有许多的人，就怜悯他们，治好了他们的病人。
Matthew 14: 13-14 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
What a selfless Savior we have! When Jesus heard that his cousin, John the Baptist, had been executed in such a brutal and shameless way, he took to the hills so that he could be alone by himself for a while. We have a Savior who was affected by the circumstances and sorrows of this life, just as we are affected by them. Sometimes we just want to be alone by ourselves and weep through our sorrows. When you feel like that, understand that Jesus knows what that’s like. “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows,” says Isaiah (53:4).
But the crowds followed Jesus. This was a time when Jesus enjoyed (?) some celebrity status, and the crowds in Galilee followed him everywhere. When our schedules are packed from morning till evening, it’s ok for us to take a retreat once in a while. In fact, it’s a good thing, especially when that retreat incorporates time for our souls in prayer and meditation.
But Matthew says that when he saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them. The Greek word pictures a “gut wrenching feeling.” Have you ever felt so bad for someone that it literally hurt in your stomach? That’s how Jesus felt for them, for people who needed a shepherd, for people who were sick, for people who needed to know the peace that passes all understanding. And that’s how Jesus feels for you and me as well.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for carrying my sicknesses and my sorrows on your heart. You are God who rules all things in heaven and on earth, and yet you also shared our humanity. You know what it’s like to be weak and tired and alone. Thank you for making room in your heart for me. Amen.
马太福音 14:15-21 天将晚的时候，门徒进前来，说：“这是野地，时候已经过了，请叫众人散开，他们好往村子里去，自己买吃的。” 耶稣说：“不用他们去，你们给他们吃吧！” 门徒说：“我们这里只有五个饼，两条鱼。” 耶稣说：“拿过来给我。” 于是吩咐众人坐在草地上，就拿着这五个饼，两条鱼，望着天祝福，擘开饼，递给门徒，门徒又递给众人。 他们都吃，并且吃饱了，把剩下的零碎收拾起来，装满了十二个篮子。 吃的人，除了妇女孩子，约有五千。
Matthew 14: 15-21: 15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” 16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. 18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
If Jesus wanted to guarantee a crowd of five thousand or more every time he preached, all he had to do was offer free food. Everyone shows up for free food! But that was not what his ministry was all about. His ministry was to preach the gospel and then to make the gospel a reality by his death and resurrection. But the crowd had been with him all day and they were very hungry and Jesus gave them their daily bread. That’s what God does. And by this miracle, Jesus shows himself to be God.
God still provides our daily food. Mostly he provides it through work and labor and ordinary means. Sometimes it comes to us in ways we do not expect. In my last year at the seminary, about January, we were beginning to run short. Working twenty hours a week in the apple orchard that fall hardly paid the bills, or the doctor and hospital bills for our new baby. Then in one week God showed me that I shouldn’t worry about my daily bread. Unexpectedly, I got a $400 scholarship from the seminary. It came out of nowhere, and that was a lot of money back then. The same week my landlord told me she sold the house to the state for a road improvement, and that I didn’t have to pay rent for the next six months. The secretary at the seminary called me in to ask me if I wanted a job with my wife, babysitting for a family while they were on vacation. That job led to several others like it. The bills got paid and I had time to study that last year of my training.
Thank you, Jesus, for giving me my daily bread, and forgive me for doubting!
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I take so much for granted in my life, my health, my family, my food, my home and all that I need for my daily life. And still, I worry! Forgive me for my thanklessness and for my doubting. Forgive me for not being content with the necessities of life. And thank you for having always provided, even when I did not deserve it. Amen.