May 1

Text: Matthew 14:13, 14

Now when Jesus heard it, He withdrew from there in a boat, to a lonely place by Himself; and when the multitudes heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. And when He went ashore, He saw a great multitude, and felt compassion for them, and healed their sick. (NASB)

Sometimes you just want to be alone.  Perhaps you have suffered a great loss.  You crave time to think things through, to acknowledge your anguish to self, to ask God for strength, and to regain your sense of balance.  You feel a special aloneness—you just internally want to feel what has happened.  Your faith relationship with God will survive—you need some time to deal with the rawness of the situation.

It should be of great encouragement to know Jesus needed such moments.  This incident powerfully testifies to Jesus’ humanity.  Matthew indicates that Jesus just had heard of John’s death.  What loss he must have felt!  The man who introduced him and his ministry to Israel was dead.  The man who likely understood him better than anyone else was dead.  He came to destroy evil’s power, and a selfish, self-centered form of evil had killed someone very important to him.  What a useless, senseless happening!  The incident had a powerful potential to be an enormous discouragement, a “what is the use” moment.

His need to be away from people moved him to act.  He withdrew to an uninhabited place.

The next happening astounds anyone who works with people.  The greater the need, the more thoughtless we tend to be.  Hurt justifies our demands.  If someone cares, exploiting his or her concern is okay.  The sad thing: we do not recognize our exploitation.  We just are responding to opportunity.

The multitudes (more than one) invaded Jesus’ privacy.  He recognized a deeper need than they likely saw.  They wanted physical healing for their sick.  He saw a destructive lack of leadership.  Instead of saying, “You foolish people who never learn,” he was moved by compassion.  He healed their sick. 

At times Jesus uses what we want as an avenue to extend what we actually need.

Suggestion for reflection: How do you react to demanding people?  (Read Acts 3:17-26.)

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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell