Yes! Three chapters again. Just a bit of stretching! You're all with me, right?
Jesus travels along with His entourage. Going around teaching, explaining, and healing. Oh, He also finds time to feed five-thousand people; and also to feed four-thousand (not counting women and children). Yes that's two different occasions. I've never seen that on the Food Channel, have you?
Even after all that some people go up to Jesus and ask—no they demand—for a sign. Some neon billboard that proves that Jesus has the authority to do such things.
He answers them, humming: something is going on here but you don't know what it is do you, Mister Jones? (anyone know the song?)
Here we go.
A bit personal today.
It was getting late. The disciples were tired. They were worried about the huge number of people following them. They urged Jesus to dismiss the crowd so that the people could find food. (Matt 14.13-15) But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them." (Matt 14.16) What an answer!
I can hear the disciples: Feed them? With what? Is it not the point of the discussion that we find food for ourselves?
I’m reminded of my dad. My pastor-dad who makes the most of every opportunity to minister to his flock. These scenarios are common in my formative years: It would be late and I’d want to go home, but my dad made a bit more time for the family that needed prayer. We’d drive someone, even it if meant taking a detour 40 minutes out of our way. We’d go (the whole family) to minister somewhere so impractical. To people we hardly knew! These things would always drive me insane.
In hindsight, all my dad was doing was bringing his meagre resources (his version of 5 loaves and 2 fish ) and allowing God to use the little so that he could feed the sheep entrusted him.
I have still so much to learn. Don't we all?
As soon as Jesus heard the news [of the death of John the Baptist], he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them... (Matt 14.13-14)
It's not just me, even Jesus felt the tension. That tug-of-war between personal space and time with others. Keeping that balance between feeding and being fed.
There's an infinite resource for both in Jesus.
Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.”(Matt 15.2).
Has there been a question more asked in the last two year: Have you washed your hands? Sanitiser? Even my wristwatch tells me if I have washed for long enough (30 seconds minimum). Ceremonious, anyone?
Don't get me wrong, hygiene is important. However, internal hygiene is what counts for eternity. I'm not talking about gut-health. I'm following Jesus's lead. I'm talking heart-health. (Matt 15.16-20)
What's your cholesterol count? Ummm, I mean: What springs from your heart?