Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "All Things Bright And Beautiful"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 14:13-14 – When Jesus heard what had happened [to John], he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. (NIV)
When I experience losing someone that I love, or if I'm having a difficult time, my natural response is to retreat and find somewhere quiet where I can reflect on what has happened. During those times, I tend to push people away, just wanting to get lost in my thoughts. It may seem unusual to some others, but that's how I cope with what may be breaking my heart or worrying my mind.
We often read in the gospels about Jesus healing crowds of people, but today's highlighted verses take place at a deeply emotional time for Christ. He has just heard that His cousin John had been beheaded by Herod, which causes Jesus to go and find a solitary place. He wants to be alone to deal with His grief, because the pain that He must have felt had to have impacted Him. It was a time to get away from the world and reflect upon where His future lay. It was a time to be alone, in order to weep and grieve the loss of family.
But even in the midst of His seeking to be isolated, the crowd clamoured to find Him. There were still people to heal, sicknesses to cure, and demons to cast out. The people needed Jesus to do something for them, and they wanted Him to fix their problems now. When Christ saw them, He could have been angry with them for breaking His time of grief. Instead, as Matthew clearly states it, "he had compassion on them and healed their sick".
I don't know about you, but Jesus' response deeply affects me. It tells me that He always has time to help His people and that He is willing to hear our prayers, complaints, and issues, no matter how long they take or how often we approach Him. Christ's compassion confirms my faith in Him. He knows who I am, and He understands what I need. He helps me when I'm down, and He lifts me up when I most need Him.
Perhaps you're going through a difficult time, or someone you know is having some serious problems. Please understand this: When you come to Christ directly, He hears your prayers and holds you in His compassionate, healing hands. Be embraced by His goodness today, and be encouraged by His love.
Points to ponder: What issues am I struggling with today? Am I willing to bring them to Jesus in my prayers?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank You for Your compassion and mercy, forgiveness and grace. Be with us throughout this day, and grant us Your guidance and love. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.