Wednesday, June 22, 2005

compassion of Christ and works in progress

Jesus feeds 4,000
Compassion of Christ and Works in Progress
Matthew 15.29 – 39 and Mark 8.1 - .13

Matthew follows the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 men (Matthew 14.13 - .21) with the story of Jesus feeding 4,000 men (Matthew 15.29 - 39.) Mark records the story (Mark 8.1 - .13) shortly after the feeding of the 5,000 (mark 6.30 – 44). If you read these two stories together they are essentially the same. In both stories a large crowd is with Jesus. There is nowhere for them to get food. The disciples have a little bit of food and Jesus uses that to feed the crowd. The specifics in each story differ but the overall stories are the same. Which leaves us with a big question, “Why tell this story?”

We already know from reading the 5000 that Jesus can do a lot with a little. We also already know that when God gives us a flock to care for we must do that. Both of these lessons are learned again in the feeding of the 4,000. So why tell this story?

I am going to focus on two reasons that I see.

First, this story demonstrates Jesus’ love and compassion for us. He has been healing and teaching the crowd with him for the last 3 days and they have nothing to eat. He looks out at the crowd and tells his disciples that He has compassion for them. The disciples ask him where will they get enough food to feed them. Jesus asks them how much food they have. He takes their 7 loaves of bread and the few fish they have and feeds the hungry crowd. Once again Jesus’ love and compassion for us is demonstrated. He doesn’t just tell us he loves and cares for us but shows it with his actions.

The second reason I think this story is told is to show us that the disciples, like us, are works in progress. They are still learning to rely on Jesus and his power. He takes the small amount of food they have and feeds all the people. Again he shows them his power so that they will learn to rely on it. Again they are shown that no matter how powerless they feel He will take what little we have and do great things.

Matthew and Mark tell us this story to show us that Jesus has compassion and love for us. When we are in need and can not provide for ourselves, Jesus is there for you and me. They also tell us this story to show that the disciples are still learning. If you don’t know all there is about being one of God’s people. If you don’t know how to rely on Jesus Christ’s power instead of your own. Don’t worry you are in good company the disciples didn’t either but they learned over time to rely on Christ’s power. They learned more and more about living as one of God’s people by following the SON.
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