Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.” Matthew 14:14-16
I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. John 14:12
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields" .... Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness .... Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but only to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep. Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received! Matthew 9:36-38, 10:1, 5-8
Life is a series of moments. We experience life one moment at a time. Each moment we live contributes to what we are becoming. Our expectations for the moments yet to come have everything to do with what each moment will be like when we live them. Hope is expecting that the moments to come will be filled with goodness. Faith is embracing each moment confidently for the goodness it holds. For the Christian, Christ is the centerpiece of hope and faith. Through redemption we have been established in a relationship with Christ that is meant to be a deep and abiding relationship of love. It is the consistent experience of Christ's love that makes it possible for us to expect (hope) his goodness in the moments ahead and to embrace (faith) his goodness in the present moment. So, for the moments we live to be lived properly through faith we need the foundation of Christ's love to be solidly in place and we need the framework of right expectation (hope) for the future.
Becoming a people of hope is what our present series is all about. Through the story of the feeding of the 5000 we are being helped to see that it really is posssible for us to be a people filled with hope and right expectations. It is important to recognize each situation that Jesus and his disciples faced was an occasion Jesus used to teach and train his disciples. For us this means that when we read about these occasions in Scripture they are teaching and training moments for us as well.
The disciples have already experienced Matthew 9 above when the occasion of the feeding of the 5,000 takes place. We are also told in the Matthew 14 passage above that Jesus has just finished healing their sick. So, why are they so constrained by human understandings of both the difficulty before them and the available solutions for it? You would think they would have expectations for a divine solution directly by Jesus or maybe even a divine solution indirectly by Jesus through them. The disciples need more training. Jesus is building into them a framework of expectation (hope). Jesus tells them to forget their human solution (send the crowds away) and tells them to meet the food needs of the crowds themselves.
What does this mean for us? As we face circumstances we need a divine expectation. Jesus can do the miraculous. He can even do the miraculous through us. The miraculous is not the focus but rather Jesus is. We need to expect Jesus to make a difference in all our moments and all our circumstances. Do you have the "Hope" that Jesus will always make a difference and fill all your moments and circumstances with his goodness? That is the teaching and training we need today.
Lord, continue to help me be immersed in your love. Deliver me from being a person who is locked into a human understanding of circumstances (difficulties) and human resources (solutions). Transform me into a person of hope who truly expects the moments to come to be filled with your goodness.
Posted on Tue, April 14, 2015
by Alan Porter