Matthew 14:13-21 – New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, 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 themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Jesus received the news that his cousin, mentor and dear companion in the struggle for righteousness and justice had been murdered in a brutal, premeditated way. His response demonstrates the goal of his work. He did not respond with violence for violence, killing for killing. Jesus did not respond the way the U.S. responded to 9/11. Jesus did not respond to this violence like the modern state of Israel responded to Hamas with escalating bombing and more killing.
Jesus grieved, and entered into holy mourning. He did not shut down his feelings but he let his compassion and sorrow advance him to another deeper love. He healed the suffering crowds with God’s reconciling love and bestowed peace upon the brokenhearted people and demonstrated the restorative justice of the God of love by feeding the crowd.
Let us face the escalating crisis of our violent world with this Spirit of Jesus. May we not shut down our feelings but let our compassion and sorrow advance us to another deeper level of love so that we respond today with the goal of the good news of the Kingdom/Queendom of God. Respond to violence with the ministry of reconciliation and restorative for all humanity and all creation.
Yes! Jesus we will give them something to eat!
R. Lawton Higgs, Sr.
August 4, 2014