Matt. 14: 13 through 21
(paraphrased in my own words)
When Jesus heard of John the Baptist being beheaded, he departed into a deserted place. John was his cousin so naturally, it bothered Jesus that this should happen to him. While He was there, many people found out where He had gone and followed him on foot to be near him. When he became aware of them he had compassion on them because they were far from home and he healed the sick that they had brought with them.
Afterward, toward evening, his disciples came to him saying for him to send them away so that they could get something to eat. Jesus said “they need not depart; give them something to eat”. What do you think Jesus was trying to do at this point? Have you any idea?
He was trying to get them to exercise their faith in Him. They told him that they had five loaves and two fishes. The multitude numbered about five thousand men not counting women and children and yet he told them to sit in groups of fifty and an hundred. Then He blessed the food and brake the loaves and fishes and gave them to his disciples to distribute. They all ate their fill and had twelve baskets left over.
What was shown during this feast? The power of God and His Son to be sure but what else? The power of faith in Him. If the disciples had not had faith in Jesus when He gave them the pieces of fish and bread, would they have distributed it as he had told them to? I don’t think so. Their faith was rewarded with substance, just as ours is today. When we have faith in the prayers that we pray and the outcome of those prayers, then the result with be answered prayers.
When Jesus came into history and chose His disciples we began to learn about Him and the Father because they wrote down their experiences with Him and what He said and did. Jesus and His Father worked together and that they loved all of us, not just one people. We learned by Jesus’ words and His work that He wants all of us to come to Him. Many people look at this and say that we are to be slaves to Jesus. Is that actually so bad? Considering that He will reward us with eternity in Heaven, is that so bad?
Granted, God may not answer our prayers in the way that we want Him to but they will be answered.
Can we have faith as they did when they were with Jesus? Yes, we can because we have the testimony of the Bible to bolster our faith. Many people today think that the bible is outdated and useless for the twenty-first century but God can see the time we live in and beyond so His Word and the promises contained within it is never outdated.
We, on the other hand, have our own agenda. We gravitate toward discounting the Word of God and not give it the power that it actually has. Is it possible that we don’t look at God the way that He is portrayed in the Bible? Why would we do such a thing? God created all that is around us, for our benefit and for His Glory. He created us the way we are, warts and all, to reflect His glory so that others will see what we have in Christ and want it too.
Do you look at the bible as being an old book full of children’s stories but not something that we should not pay attention to today? God revealed Himself to Israel through His prophets and they wrote down the words that He gave them to say and to write down. In those writings, we can learn who He is and we can learn about Him. We can learn what He wants of us today, not just Israel. How we are to treat others, how He will treat us, how much He loves us.
Some religions today say that we can be gods. Can you, by willing it, be any taller or slimmer than you are? I know we wish we could at times, but we can’t. Our Creator, Jesus, loves and cares for each of us. Right down to the last hair on our heads. How can you possibly understand a love like that? It is hard for anyone to understand it, but He does. He and the Father have loved all of us since the beginning, long before we were born because God sees the end from the beginning. Time was created by Him and yet He is outside of time. We cannot understand the concept of this, but it is true.
The universe was put together by Him for us so that we could see His majesty and power, even if we never heard a sermon preached. Nature cries out that the Creator is here! He has been from the beginning. The smallest life-form is perfect in its ways because He made it so, not because of some accident.
We cannot make it without Him. He is the One who sustains us, protects us, gives us our faith and our courage for everyday living. Oh, we can pridefully do it on our own for a while but what happens when the really bad stuff happens and our way just doesn’t cut it anymore?
What about the times that we have lost someone dear to us or they have been diagnosed with cancer that is inoperable? Can you hold up to that on your own strength? Maybe for a while, but eventually your strength will fail, then where will you turn? To what or who will you turn to? If you don’t know Jesus, will you blame Him or God for all the bad things? Many people do, which is exactly what Satan wants us to do.
The provision that Christ showed to the five thousand, He will give to us if we only turn to Him. Whether we turn in our hour of greatest need or we turn because we are drawn to Him by the Spirit. He loves us, which is why we are all still here to begin with. If it were not for the love that God has for us and the mercy that He bestows on us daily, the world would have ended years ago. We might never have been born, but God knew that we would because He has a purpose for each of us. That is why the mouth of hell is not yawning beneath us, because of His pleasure and His mercy toward us and those who have not accepted Jesus yet.
We are loved by the Creator! The One Who put all of this together perfectly so that we could see its majesty and His Glory! Can we comprehend a love like that? I can’t and I would imagine that you can’t either! Almighty God, His Son and the Holy Spirit did an awesome work in this universe and man cannot fathom why we are special enough to be the only life here. In reality, we may not be or God may have something else in mind, who knows? Only God Himself knows why He did what He did.
The love and mercy of Jesus, His compassion toward the people that He fed and healed and toward us, is what is keeping hell and the end of the world at bay and Satan too. What will you do when the time comes that Satan’s wrath comes to earth? If you are still here, who will you turn to?
Jesus is the only way to eternity, regardless of the promises you may hear from any “false Christ”. The end of our life is only a heart beat away or one more breath away, what will you do about Jesus? You don’t know when your life could end. It might end tonight or tomorrow. I may not make it home, but I will be with Jesus. Some might ask me: “How do you know that you will go to heaven?” Because the Spirit within my heart gives me peace in the knowledge that I am His. Are you?