Matthew 15:21-39; Leviticus 26-27; Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26
“Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.’” (Matthew 15:32 NKJV)
Didn’t we go this route before? A large crowd followed Jesus and dinner time came around, and the disciples were ready to send them away hungry. After all, it wasn’t their fault those people had come to see Jesus. The disciples weren’t very quick learners, if you think about it. One chapter earlier, Jesus had fed five thousand people under similar circumstances. I don’t know what length of time that would be in real life, but I kind of imagine the disciples remembered that Jesus had fed that crowd with five loaves and two fish. Thus, when Jesus said to feed them, they should have been ready. If Peter was on top of things, he would have said, “Oh, yeah Lord, just like before.” Perhaps they looked at the differences. This wasn’t Jewish territory with Jesus re-doing Moses’s miracle of the manna; this was hostile territory with a bunch of Gentiles. We see from the words of Jesus that they’d been around Him for three days. Most likely, any food they’d brought was long eaten, or beyond recovery. They had about seven loaves and a few fish. Yet Jesus, in a foreign land, among people who most likely didn’t like the Jews, fed four thousand people, with leftovers. I think it was only later in life (Around the time of Acts 15) that these disciples would realize the importance of Jesus caring for the Gentiles.
Do you have your list yet? “What list?” you may ask. The list of people that God doesn’t love. Some people have a nice long list of those they are sure God’s ready to zap because He doesn’t love them. My list is much shorter. If Jesus healed the daughter of the Gentile lady who bugged Him; if Jesus fed four thousand mostly Gentile people because He had compassion on them, He probably loves and has compassion on all people. In short, no one ends up on Jesus’s list. While my actions don’t always show it, I know that’s what my list ought to look like also. If you list is longer than mine, let me make a suggestion: take your list and nail it to a cross as a reminder that God loves everyone – even those who would oppose Him.
Lord, I know that there is no one beyond the reach of Your love, but I must admit that there are some people I find hard to love. Give me Your heart to love others as You do. Break down the walls of prejudice I’ve established so that I can love them.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.