“When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them, and healed their sick.” (Matthew 14:14)
In this passage, Jesus had just heard about the tragic death of John the Baptist at the hands of Herod, and He was going off to a secluded place to get some needed time alone with His Father. But something interrupted that plan. Verse 13 says that when the people heard that Jesus was going away, they followed Him on foot. Jesus’ response to this situation speaks volumes.
Perhaps you have been in a situation where you have really needed “some time away.” You were overdue for a vacation; or just needed a break. Then you have at least some idea of how Jesus must have felt here. He needed to be away. But :14 says that when He saw the crowd of people, His response was that He “felt compassion”, and He began to minister to them. It was later in this very episode that Jesus fed the 5000.
Now, Jesus would eventually get His needed time alone (:23) (and this is important, as we saw in the devotion here) but the fact that He took the time to care for these people teaches us a couple of important things:
— First, Jesus loves us very much. As weary as He was, humanly speaking, and in need of time away, Jesus did not see these folks as “annoying” or “interruptions” of His plans. He had compassion for them. He really does love us. He loves YOU — in case you had any doubt of that.
— Second, we should ask Him to fill us with His same Spirit of love for people. May we not see those we encounter as annoyances, interruptions, distractions, or anything less than the people that Jesus loves very much, and to whom He wants to minister through our gifts, time, and care.