That’s Not Necessary! (but compassion is!) A sermon on Matthew 14:13-21 from Concordia
That’s Not Necessary!
(but compassion is!)
† In Jesus’ Name †
May the grace of God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ become how you live and breathe, resulting in compassion that is miraculous!
What is necessary….
There are times i our lives where the Lord’s lessons are subtle, where He sets the example of what living in a relationship with God and with God’s people should look like, and we completely miss it.
That’s what happened in the gospel reading this morning, as Jesus sets and example of servant leadership, and the apostles are given and opportunity to imitate that example, and fail to learn the lesson—and so Jesus has to point it out a little more clearly…
Most of the time, we fail to see the lesson as well, because of the miracle of seeing 5 hamburger bun sized pieces of bread and a couple of tilapia, That is an amazing miracle but the lesson in compassion that Jesus lived out before their very eyes.
A Little Background…
Just before Jesus and the apostles try to escape and find some time to relax and pray, two things happened – two devastating things. The thing right before their trip was to hear the news that John the Baptist was executed by Herod – his head chopped off to make his wife and daughter happy.
Still not sure why flowers, or chocolates or a nice dinner at Carl’s Jr. wouldn’t have worked, but Herod messed up – and had to make up for it with John’s head.
The other more devastating thing that happens in chapter 13 is that Jesus was rejected in His hometown by all his family and friends.
Between the grief of his cousin being killed and his own people rejecting him, trashing him, dismissing the very things they were praising God for – until they realized it was him… that was brutal, it would drain all the energy from him, and so he wants to escape, and tries…. But cannot.
And he sees people, and they are looking for hope. One of the other gospels has Jesus describe them as sheep without a shepherd.
And He sees us, and He can’t go on without us…so he sits on the hillside and has compassion and taught and heals us. That is what scripture says,
“14 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
As physically, emotionally and spiritually tired as he must have been, as filled with grief. He took time to meet people where they were.. were we are.. and give them more than a quick word, he gave them himself.
We Fall Short – but why?
Compare that to the apostles, After a day where Jesus met their needs, and the needs of these people and then scripture tells us,
15 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.” Matthew 14:15 (NLT2)
Now while they see the needs of the people, they don’t have the compassion that Jesus demonstrated—and they definitely weren’t will to give away their filet-ed fish sandwiches!
Whether it was a lack of belief that they could do anything, or simply that they didn’t want to, they wanted Jesus to close up shop, and tell them all to go home.
That is where they missed the mark, that is where they failed to care for their neighbor. It was where sin entered and they became more self-centered. “Tell them to get – lost – to go care for themselves—it doesn’t even matter that it’s already late and even the 7-11 and Denny’s will be closed by the time they get there!
We do the same thing at times – when we see people in need – and we decide not to help…or even to help them find help.
Can we help everyone? Probably not – but to ensure they find the help – we can.
That’s why Jesus says…”16 But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.” Matthew 14:16 (NLT2)
That brings them back to Jesus, for they have no where near the food they need!
That’s the point—with us—there isn’t enough to feed anyone—spiritually or physically – Jesus must supply it all – and He always pulls it together!
If we have compassion for people—if we see their needs and brokenness, our job isn’t to meet every need on our own but to bring them to where Jesus provides for them.
“Bring them here,” he said. 19 Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. 20 They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. 21 About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children!
We should know this – for His compassion is why we are here!
We can take that comfort and compassion and shown to us and pour it out on others, bringing them to Jesus, getting them to sit and take their rest, while God multiples whatever we have to help them.
Even it it’s a can of tuna fish and a bagel,
Or a piece of round bread, and a 10th of a sip of wine—that is, by His declaration – His body and blood!
That is necessary – getting them to realize they are in God’s presence, as it is necessary to help us know we are. That is what is required – and even was in the Old Testament, where Micah wrote,
8 No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 (NLT2)
And if we are walking humbly with Him, that means this – that the Lord is with you! AMEN!