Are you in place where you desperately need Jesus? I know I have been there a time or two.
So, do you ever have those moments when you’re reading the Bible and suddenly something you’ve missed for years pops off the page?
Surely, it’s not just me who experiences that, right? I don’t know what happens. I’ll be reading a familiar passage and suddenly, it’s like I see something in new light. Or maybe, God just reveals it to me? I don’t know.
But, this happened just this morning when I was reading Shannan Martin’s YouVersion reading plan, The Ministry of Ordinary Places.
The scriptures that jumped off the page? Matthew 14:13-21.
Yep, when Jesus feed the multitude.
Jesus Feeds the Hungry
Now, Jesus feeding the multitude is a pretty familiar story. If you grew up going to Sunday school, I’d almost bet you a Hershey kiss that you colored outside of the lines on a loaves and fishes coloring sheet. (I mean, no offence or anything, but if you didn’t take a green Crayon over the whole page when you were three, you did it wrong. Kidding. ;-))
We all know Jesus can do anything. There is no limit to what His power can do. But, the story of Jesus taking the five loaves and the two fish and feeding a ton of people amazes me.
One Bible commentary I have even floated the idea that those fish were probably sardines.
You know, the tiny little fish that smell real bad in the tin can? Yeah, those. So, think about that and Jesus multiplying those little fish to feed all those people, plus having leftovers for the next day.
Miracles, y’all. Miracles.
That story is just one in a long, long list of proof that proves He cares for us and can provide for all of our needs.
But, that, friend, isn’t what stood out to me this morning.
The People Desperately Need Jesus
Matthew 14:13 says, “When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.”
Now quick back story: the beginning of Matthew 14 depicts the tragic story of John the Baptist’s death. If you remember, Herodias’s daughter, Salome, danced for Herod for his birthday. When he offered her a gift for performing for him, her mother insisted she ask for John the Baptist’s head on a charger.
And that’s exactly what she got. His poor head on a plate.
John the Baptist paved the way for Jesus to preach the Gospel to the people. So, it’s understandable that when Jesus heard the news, He probably wanted some alone time and some time away to process what He just learned. Hence, probably why He departed and was going to the desert. (Pure speculation here, may not be the reason at all. I’m just thinking out loud here.)
But, the people followed Him. Even when Jesus was on the ship going to his destination, the people found a way to follow him on foot.
Because, they desperately needed Jesus.
It Pays to Follow Jesus
The people knew Jesus could heal them, save them, and offer them eternal life. They believed in His power and wanted to be near Him to witness a miracle. So, they did whatever they could to follow Him. Even if it meant walking alllllll the way around the sea to get to where ever it was that Jesus was sailing to.
And when Jesus saw it, the Bible tells us in Matthew 14:14, that he “saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.”
Sometimes, y’all, that’s what it takes– a determination to follow Jesus no matter what obstacles are in the way.
The multitude didn’t give up in their pursuit for Jesus, even when it looked like they might not walk fast enough to keep up with His ship.
They were determined and kept going.
And because of their determination, Jesus chose to bless them and healed them.
Friend, if you’re anything like me, sometimes when you see an obstacle pop up in your path, it knocks you back a little. In those times, don’t give up. Take a deep breath and keep following after Jesus. The obstacle that was meant to derail you will lead to a blessing, if you stay determined to walk the path before you.
We know that when we’re faithful to Him, He is faithful to us. That fact has been so evident in the Bible time and time again.
Keep walking, friend. Jesus will meet you where you are.