When Jesus heard what happened to John, Jesus left in a boat. Jesus went alone to a place where there were no people. But the people heard that Jesus left. So the people left their towns and followed Jesus. They went by land to the same place Jesus went. When Jesus came there, he saw many, many people there. Jesus felt sorry for them, and he healed the people that were sick.
— Matthew 14:13-14 NLT
One of the most remarkable qualities of Jesus is his sense of compassion. He can see, feel, and identify with the desperation of people in need and then he is willing to act on that compassion in a way that personally involves himself. Not only do I admire that trait, but I also desire to make it part of my life. Unfortunately, I have to battle my selfishness on one hand and my indiscipline on the other to say no to my tendency to just ignore the needs around me.
In this powerful situation, Jesus is grieving the loss of his cousin John the Baptist and is also fully aware that John's death signals that he, too, will face death. Yet rather than leaving the crowd behind, he ministers to them and to his disciples as well. While we know that Jesus took time away from the crowd to be alone with his father and that Jesus will spend much of the rest of his ministry away from the crowd teaching his disciples, he will interface repeatedly with the crowd to offer compassion and share God's love. Sometimes under heavy stress, there is no greater comfort than to be used by God to minister to others—not for our good, but for theirs!
Almighty and sacrificial Father, teach me to not be so self-focused and self-absorbed. Thank you for Jesus' example of active compassion as he not only feels the pain of others, but also acts relieve it. Please use me to minister to those in pain around me in a way which brings glory to you and reflects the face of my Savior and your Son. In his name, Jesus my Lord, I pray. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Matthew 9:35-38
- Matthew 15:32
- Philippians 2:4
About This Devotional
What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.
What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.