Stirred To Action

Matthew 15:32 gives us great insight of the heart of our Savior and how He viewed people. It says, “Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, "I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way."

Jesus here feeds a group of 4,000 men and not even counting all the women and children who were present. As we read the text we learn why He did it, what His motivation was. Jesus said He had compassion on the multitude. The word "compassion" is best defined to mean, “to be stirred inwardly to an outward action” and describes Jesus perfectly. Jesus never left anyone the same way He found them. Jesus was not only a teacher of words, He also taught by His actions. He instructed His disciples not to just think and speak a particular way but to demonstrate their convictions by their actions. The opposite of a hypocrite, which Jesus condemned, is to live outwardly consistent with what is going on inwardly in ones heart. Jesus loved people and it showed by the things He did, big or small.  

Love gives birth to great faith. When you love someone you will move heaven and earth to do whatever needs to be done on their behalf. Love has a way that makes even the most difficult tasks look easy. Matthew 15:33 goes on to explain how the disciples saw the situation when it says, “Then His disciples said to Him, "Where could we get enough bread in the wilderness to fill such a great multitude?" Their lack of love and faith limited their beliefs. And then we read how Jesus responds, “Jesus said to them, "How many loaves do you have?" And they said, "Seven, and a few little fish."

Seven loaves of bread and a few little fish to feed most likely a group that numbered around 10,000 people. On a human level it is virtually impossible, but then again when it comes to Jesus the limitations get lifted as nothing is too difficult for Him. Matthews account goes on in verse 35 to explain what happened next, “So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets full of the fragments that were left. Now those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children.”

Every time I read this story I wonder why the Lord felt it necessary to include both the feeding of the 4,000 and the 5,000 in Matthews account and it never takes long for the Lord to bring to mind the simple reason. We forget. We forget the faithfulness of God to be able to do the miraculous more than once, to perform the exact same miracle again if needed. I have a tendency to forget the faithfulness of God so I get excited as I read this story. If God did it once He can do it again. Remember, Jesus is compassionate!

The disciples forgot about the feeding of the 5,000 for if had they remembered they would have responded to Jesus, “Lord we need you to do a miracle again and feed these hungry people.” Sometimes it’s fatigue that keeps us from exercising faith, other times it’s just plain fear which stems from a lack of love. We fear God won’t come through instead of exercising faith and remembering that He who called us is faithful. Jesus gladly took the bread and broke it and gave it to the disciples to give to the multitude until everyone was filled.

If Jesus can take a few loaves of bread and a few small fish and feed thousands of people you can rest assured He can meet your needs and mine today. Jesus can even meet the needs of those you come in contact with during your travels. Just bring Jesus the little you have to offer and give it to Jesus and allow God multiply it to satisfy the needs of others. Remember, nothing is too difficult for our God.

Another lesson from the feeding the 5,000 and the 4,000 is God wants us to learn to focus on the needs of others and not just our own. Next time you think that you have hardly enough to meet your own needs remember, God can take the little we have and multiply to satisfy not just our needs but as well as the needs of others. Pray and ask God to give you a heart of compassion, a heart that won’t settle until the needs of those who are in need are met. What a privilege we have today to be used of God in serving others.

Don’t forget that God could have used angels to meet the need that day. Jesus could have rained down mana from heaven to feed such a large group of people but He chose to let the disciples take part in the miracle. Jesus prefers partnership, a partnership with me and you!  Take a step of faith today and allow God to use you!  

“But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.”

Psalm 86:15



Michael Osthimer





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