Jesus of Nazareth once fed a crowd of more than 5,000 men, plus all the women and children there.
Eyewitnesses say he started with five small loaves of bread, and two fish. He kept handing them out until everyone in the crowd had more than enough to eat.
Yet such power poses problems. What if we have been praying for miraculous help, and we haven’t gotten it? If Jesus can feed so many when he walks this earth, why would anyone now ever starve to death, or be malnourished?
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The Bible doesn’t have answers for all such questions, but for anyone who ever asks, “Why doesn’t God seem to roll up his sleeves and change this awful situation?” We can do one thing:
We can read the whole story.
Did you know that Jesus probably started the day when he fed the 5,000 with red eyes, and a lump in his throat?
Jesus had just learned that the ruler of northern Israel had beheaded John the Baptist, the prophet whom God had sent ahead of Jesus to get people ready.
Jesus had to get away by himself, not only to deal with his grief, but to feel the shadow of his own vicious death in our place approaching.
He took his closest followers away by boat to a secluded spot for some rest.
So many people wanted Jesus to heal them miraculously, though, that when people saw Jesus and his disciples heading off by boat, they followed.
They figured out where Jesus was going, ran there and got where Jesus was going ahead of him. A huge crowd formed.
Picture the scene as Jesus and his disciples disembark. Looking for a lonely place, they see thousands. Hoping for rest, they meet a swelling sea of insistent faces.
Did Jesus turn and leave? No.
Weary, he still welcomed all. He told them how God reigns inside sinners, and healed those who needed healing, until late that afternoon.
Then came the miracle that many remember, but what a “wow” came before.
When Jesus saw the large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
The one who died for you is still full of compassion. He still feels his people’s pain. He’ll do what’s right when the time is right.
Rev. Daniel A. Witte, pastor of Risen Savior Lutheran Church, can be reached at 747-5564.