TO CHEW ON: "And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick." Matthew 14:14
Our reading today starts out with Jesus trying to get away from the crowds: "When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat…" The "it" is news that his friend and relative John (the Baptist) has just been killed (decapitated no less!) by Herod, instigated by Herod's concubine Herodias.
We can understand Jesus' need to be alone at such a time. But when He gets to land, a crowd is there to meet Him. However, instead of being annoyed at this (how I would have felt if my expectations of a quiet afternoon had been dashed like that) He is "moved with compassion."
["Moved with compassion" is splanchnizomai is from the word splanchna - bowels. The Hebrews regarded splanchna as the place where tender mercies and feelings of affection, compassion, sympathy, and pity originated - Dick Mills, Word Wealth, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1317.]
Out of this compassion Jesus spends the afternoon healing the sick and, when it gets late, multiplying the five loaves and two fish to feed everyone before He sends them home.
Jesus performed other miracles as a result of splanchnizomai.
- He fed another large crowd after a three-day healing and teaching 'conference' (Matthew 15:32).
- He restored the sight of two blind men who sat beside the road calling out, even as the people around told them to shut up (Matthew 20:34).
- He healed a leper (Mark 1:41).
- He raised a widow's son back to life (Luke 7:13).
- He gave this compassion to two parable characters: the Good Samaritan (Luke 19:33) and the father of the prodigal son (Luke 15:20).
I need more of this compassion in my life. Instead of seeing people as threats, or irritants, or losers, or rivals, or… I would like to see under and beyond behavior to the need of which it's a symptom—a need that's best filled by Jesus and what He offers.
What about you?
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, please give me a softer heart, that is moved by the things that move You. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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