Read His Words Before Ours!
Picture this: You’re one of the twelve disciples that Jesus has chosen to do life with on a daily basis while He’s on earth. You’ve just witnessed Him healing an invalid who had been lying outside The Healing Pool for 38 years and after Jesus shared the truth of how He is eternal life, you start trekking to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, breaking for rest on a mountaintop.
You sit down, ready to relax, when you notice something out of the corner of your eye.
Lifting up His eyes, Jesus saw a large crowd coming towards him.
I can only imagine Philip, standing next to Jesus in that moment, looking at the masses of people following them.
Unlike you or I, or perhaps Phillip, the approaching crowd wasn’t intimidating to Jesus. He knew they were coming, and He knew what they needed, but Philip didn’t.
Jesus asks Phillip a simple question, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”
The question was a test, and only Jesus knew the real answer.
I love hosting in my home. Having people gather around my table or come together for game nights has brought more joy to my life than I could describe. With that being said, I don’t know if I would be able to manage hosting a group of 5,000 without any notice. I have a feeling I would be pretty intimidated to say the least.
How many bags of chips and salsa does it take to feed the masses? Just kidding. Kind of.
Most of us know the remainder of the story. There was a young boy in the crowd who had five barley loaves and two fish. Jesus took the loaves, lifted his hands up, gave thanks to His Father, and began distributing food to all those that were seated.
When every person had their fill to eat, there were still leftovers!
Jesus had come to give in abundance, but like His encounter with the woman at the well, Jesus was here for much more than making hungry bellies full.
He came to make dead hearts alive.
Because He is the bread of life!
Phillip only saw hungry people, and frantically pointed to a human solution of money and food. But Jesus saw hungry souls, dead without His own Life.
I am the bread of Life. Whoever comes to me, shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me, shall never thirst. (John 6:35)
Jesus doesn’t give just enough to get by.
He gives so that we leave more satisfied than we’ve ever been before.
He is constantly breaking down our borders in order to help us lift our gaze, to see more than just people, but souls in need of a Savior.
Let me ask you this: What if Jesus hadn’t looked up to see more?
What if He decided to hide from the crowds, busy with His own agenda?
What if He had closed His eyes and turned away?
He would have missed an opportunity to put love on display.
When I was thirteen, I went on a mission trip to Jamaica. While there, the missionary that we were serving alongside, strongly urged us to not just take pictures of nameless kids, but to recognize them as brothers or sisters in Christ and listen to their stories.
It would’ve been so easy for me to just take a bunch of pictures and give it the caption ‘playing with orphans at the orphanage’ and move onto the next kid. I was young, in a different country, and naïve in my faith, but when I learned about Alex, about his mother leaving him at the doorstep of the orphanage because of his physically disabilities and her inability to care for him, his story blew away all concept of borders in my mind.
Loving someone with your whole heart is scary, especially loving someone you just met. When you love, there is always the chance of loss, and at that point in my life I didn’t want to love him too much, for the fear of the unknown when I walked away.
Would anyone else love on him like this? Would he be okay? Would he be adopted?
How could anyone just abandon their child?
The second day I visited Alex, the Lord sweetly reminded me of Mark 12:31:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
It was as if I was having my own ‘lifting up my eyes’ moment.
Alex broke down my borders, and Jesus let me see beyond myself.
I held Alex. I prayed for him. I worked his fingers from a clenched state to an open one as many times as he would allow, and then did the same with his legs.
Jesus looked up and saw the crowd coming towards Him.
He knew He would satisfy them, body and soul.
His love changed them, changed me, forever.
In the same way, if I hadn’t looked up to really see Alex,
I would’ve missed an opportunity to put God’s love on display,
which changed my life forever.
Are you looking up?
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!