Compassionate Good Sense
Mighty God, Your name is above every name. Your power is above my comprehension. I acknowledge my great need of You today.
Consider: Jesus' compassion and power provide an even better solution to the people's needs than the disciples anticipated. We need to tap into his compassion and power in our service to others.
Compassion and common sense go together in Jesus. The story is told of a missionary in the early days of his Chinese ministry who had food to give to a large crowd of hungry people, but the riot that its distribution caused led to several deaths. It is clear that making the 5,000 plus people sit down on the grass in an orderly fashion was a sensible procedure. However, it is Jesus' compassion we notice most. Though he needs the respite and the solitude (13), he responds graciously to the crowd's interruption, expending more energy healing people and anticipating that it is unreasonable to expect them to trek back home or even to neighboring villages to get food at the end of the day. Mark and Luke add that this intrusion into Jesus' time with his disciples occurs when they have just come back from an intensive period of ministry and have had little time to eat, let alone process their experiences in conversation with the Master (Mark 6:30-31).
This is the only miracle recounted in all four gospels and it is significant that it involves food. Food in the desert was a resonant theme for the Hebrews. Manna was God's provision in their Exodus wanderings; Elijah and Elisha were fed and they fed others in desolate places (1 Kings 19:5-8; 2 Kings 4:42-44). My husband, whose lifetime of research is focused on growing food in places short of rain, resonates with this too, pointing to this area of the world as the birthplace of several significant crops best able to produce sustenance in marginal areas. No wonder that the messianic picture of the incoming kingdom is a banquet of plenty (Isa. 25:6). This picture finds fulfillment in Jesus, both in this miracle and in the consummation of his reign in the future.
What insights about Jesus impress you in this story? How can you incorporate them into your life?
Lord Jesus, so often I feel my offerings to You seem so meager. I thank You that service to You and others is multiplied in Your hands.