Matthew 14:13-21 – THE JESUS DIET
18 days of demonstrations during 2011 leads to a PEOPLE POWER COUP in Egypt and PRESIDENT MUBARAK resigns. Widespread allegations of corruption, abuse of power including murder are made. Mubarak is put on trial and his role in the assassination of his predecessor Anwar Sadat is investigated.
It had been a turbulent time. John had stirred the crowds to repent and prepare the way for the Messiah. With John’s murder they flock to Jesus, perhaps to see what He will do. If He is the promised Messiah, will He stage a coup, overthrow Herod and usher in a new Government? Instead of people power, He shows them the power of God.
Herod’s banquet ended with a MURDER (Matthew 14:1-12). Jesus’ banquet begins with a MIRACLE. Instead of feeding their vengeance, He feeds them physically and spiritually. Instead of BLOODSHED there is HEALING. He WELCOMES them and TEACHES them about the Kingdom of God, and He HEALS those who are sick” (Luke 9:11 NLT). He HAS COMPASSION on them because they are like sheep without a shepherd. (Mark 6:34 NLT). Herod’s banquet pales into insignificance when Jesus provides a picnic.
He waits until I am well and truly hungry, late in the afternoon. When my resources are not enough. When my humanity is inadequate when faced with the enormity of the need. When I am empty, drained of solutions and concern, and feeling lost. That’s when I want to leave work, go home, forget about those in need and be with my family. Let those in need learn to find a way to meet their own needs (Matthew 14:15)! Ever feel this way? That’s when Jesus says, “That isn’t necessary—YOU FEED THEM” (Matthew 14:16 NLT).
There are times when I am so “NOT moved” to compassion as Jesus is (Matthew 14:14). Pity maybe, but not compassion. Compassion is different. Compassion is committed to lean in and to DO something when pity has been overwhelmed.
Andrew says “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” (John 6:9 NLT). Who is this kid, anyway? Are his parents around? If my grandsons had been there, I’m sure it would have been one of them. I like this little guy who gives his lunch to Jesus. He is the only one to come up with the beginnings of a solution to the problem.
5000 men. Some of the women and children would have stayed at home but many were there. 10,000 people? 20,000? “You can have my fish and barley loaves”. It’s absurd to seat ten to twenty thousand people with the view to feeding them 2 fish and 5 loaves. Surely! “Unsatisfactory, insignificant, insufficient, inadequate, deficient, lacking, not enough, a child’s portion!”
Jesus simply says “BRING THEM HERE,” Bring your limited human resources to Me. The blessing is given and Jesus breaks the bread.
Jesus invites the disciples to distribute the bread. It seems that it multiplies in their hands as they go. He takes it, blesses it, breaks it, gives it away. One loaf to every thousand men. The more they distribute the more there is that remains. 12 disciples. 12 baskets left over, untouched.
Healthy too. Omega 3 fish oil, barley bread. Why isn’t there a FISH AND BARLEY LOAF DIET? THE JESUS DIET? (Saw a book once called “What would Jesus eat?”) “Could I have mine battered and with some chips?”
What would the world look like if we brought what was in our hands to Jesus. Compassion and responsibility would accomplish the extraordinary (Matthew 14:15-21). More than enough.
Jesus, using bread as a symbol of relationship says, “I am the bread of life. Whoever COMES to Me will never be hungry again. Whoever BELIEVES in Me will never be thirsty” John 6:35 (NLT). THE JESUS DIET.
Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) says “Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Jesus says “… pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (Luke 6:38 NLT) More than enough.
It seems Jesus is deliberately inviting His disciples to look beyond the simple awareness of a need. By the way, these people could go home and have their own food, so this is NOT speaking about feeding the poor.
Jesus is inviting us NOT TO MISS AN OPPORTUNITY to accomplish the EXTRAORDINARY in ANY situation of need. He invites you to be responsive to what God can do through you, to use what you have in your hand. To show COMPASSION and not just pity. To rely on Him to get you through. So take what resources you have to God right now and allow Him to use them for His purposes. God’s EXTRAVAGANCE, your CO-OPERATION. Remain in a place where God wants you to be to see His purposes accomplished despite your reservations and your limitations. Be open to a MIRACLE! Never be hungry! Never be thirsty! Taste and see that the Lord is good. Bread of Life. Cool diet.