Matthew – Fulfilled.
Our world is a busy place. We work, we think about work when we are not working, not giving much thought to anything else. Then something happens to stop us cold in our tracks. It is usually something monumental like the death of a loved one. The world stops moving in our minds and all focus is placed on grief and mourning the loss. Nothing else matters. But then mercy steps forward and helps us deal with the situation.
John the Baptizer has been sent to prision by the ruler, Herod, for telling the truth of this man’s adulterous situation. His relationship with his brother’s wife, Herodius (parculiar to have a similar name) is celebrated at a birthday party in Herod’s honor. His niece dances provocably in front of him to get what her mother wants…the head of John the Truthteller. Being drunk and perverted, Herod delivers. Literally…the head of John of this beloved prophet and earthly cousin to Jesus on a silver platter to Herodius. The news is given to Jesus, Son of God.
What does Jesus do? He “slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by himself.” Did Jesus, Son of man, grieve? Yes. I believe our Lord cries when we cry. The interesting thing Jesus does next is an act of sheer mercy. His grief prompted mercy and love. This is an interesting perspective as followers of Jesus with a desire to become more and more like Him in our behavior.
Matthew 14, The Message
Supper for Five Thousand
13-14 When Jesus got the news, he slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by himself. But unsuccessfully—someone saw him and the word got around. Soon a lot of people from the nearby villages walked around the lake to where he was. When he saw them coming, he was overcome with pity and healed their sick.
15 Toward evening the disciples approached him. “We’re out in the country and it’s getting late. Dismiss the people so they can go to the villages and get some supper.”
16 But Jesus said, “There is no need to dismiss them. You give them supper.”
17 “All we have are five loaves of bread and two fish,” they said.
18-21 Jesus said, “Bring them here.” Then he had the people sit on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples. The disciples then gave the food to the congregation. They all ate their fill. They gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. About five thousand were fed.
What do we learn?
–Characteristics of Jesus are profoundly given to us in Matthew and the other gospel writings. Focus on Christ and what He does.
–When our grief transforms us to be more mercifuly, we are following the example of our Lord and Savior.
–Be willing to provide a meal, blessed by God, no matter how much you have in front of You. People are more important than what is on the table.
–Be merciful. Be kind. We will be a difference.
Dear Heavenly Father, You are show us, once again, how to be more merciful, especially in trying times. You are God and we are not. We do not understand all that goes on in this world, but because of the mercy and kindess you have shown us, we can cope and even help others find and follow you. Thank you for your word that speaks to us in new, fresh ways each morning. Now, help us to live it. In Jesus Name, Amen