Sunday, July 22, 2012
Good morning, everybody!
One of the many things that makes Jesus so special is how much he cares about people. He cares about the whole person--our spiritual needs, our emotional needs and our physical needs. Let me show you what I mean.
One day, Jesus was with his disciples. They had all been working very hard and were tired. Jesus suggested they all go away together to someplace quiet for a rest. So they all boarded a boat and went on a short trip for what they thought was going to be some R&R--rest and relaxation.
But some people saw where Jesus ad the disciples were going. They told their friends who told their friends, and by the time the boat carrying Jesus and the disciples landed on shore, there was a huge crowd waiting for them.
Now remember, Jesus and his pals made this trip to get some rest, and here was an enormous, unexpected welcoming committee in need of a leader. Jesus could have told the people, "I'm sorry, but this is my day off. I just don't have the energy to speak to you today." But he didn't. He cared too much about the people who came to hear his teachings about God. The Bible says, "He had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd." So he taught them. He taught them all day, sharing what they needed to learn to live a life of faith in God.
Finally, the disciples came to Jesus and said, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send the people away so they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat." Jesus answered them, "You give them something to eat."
This may have been a reasonable thing to say if there were ten people there that day, or maybe even fifty. But the Bible counts five thousand men gathered to hear Jesus, and that doesn't even include the women and children! There was no way the disciples had enough money to buy food for all of those hungry people, and they told Jesus that.
He told them to check and see how much food they had with them. The disciples reported back that they had five loaves of bread and two fish. Hardly enough tuna sandwiches for a crowd that size! But Jesus cared about the people. He cared that they know about God's love, and he cared that they not go home with hungry tummies. So he ordered the disciples to have the people sit on the green grass in groups. Then something amazing happened.
Jesus took the five loaves of bread and the two fish. He looked up to heaven and blessed and divided the food in pieces and gave it to the disciples to serve to the people. And every, single person in that huge crowd had more than enough to eat. In fact, when everyone was finished eating their fill, there were five baskets of food left over.
Then, only after everyone was full, Jesus sent them home. Jesus cares about us in every way, just like he cared about the people gathered that day so long ago. And Jesus calls upon the church to carry on his work to care for people in every way. The church to this day ministers to peoples' needs--teaching about God's love; caring for the sick through hospitals and clinics; feeding the hungry in our town and around the world. We do all of this work in Jesus' name, because we love him.
Let's Pray: Good and gracious God, we thank-you for sending Jesus into the world to show how much you love and care about us in every way. Help us to share your love and caring in our world today, and in Jesus' name. Amen