Wednesday 26 January 2022

It's all about people - reflections on Matthew 14:13-21

Those who are familiar with this passage would probably remember a sermon or two being preached on it. And the focus was likely to be on the magnitude of the five thousand (and more, including women and children). After all that's what the heading says - Jesus feeds the five thousand. However, it actually starts off with Jesus mourning John the Baptist's death.

So while reflecting on this episode I realised that in ministry we meet different categories of people, just like Jesus did. 

Original collage (see below for image credits)

There are the precious few likeminded ones whom we may not need to say much to yet know exactly what we mean and how we feel. Even though Jesus and John the Baptist had very little time together, I'm sure they were constantly in each other's thoughts and prayers. We draw mutual strength and encouragement just by knowing that we are there for each other.

Then there are those who follow in our footsteps, the ones we teach, coach and mentor. They may not take over our ministries but they are certainly a big part of the legacy we leave behind. In fact, our disciples may do even greater things (John 14:12) because we have patiently sown into their lives.

Of course, there will be the people whom we minister to. We may not necessarily have a close relationship with them, unlike the earlier categories. They may seek us out like the crowd did Jesus, or sometimes God may lead us to find them (eg how Jesus went to Simon's house and healed his mother-in-law cf. Luke 4:38-39). Regardless of how He met them, Jesus always had compassion for them.

Do you have people around you who fall into these categories? Then we would do well to consider how Jesus related and responded differently to each group of people and learn from Him.

Image credits:
  1. Jesus and John the Baptist taken from a scene in the series "The Chosen"
  2. Jesus and the twelve disciples taken from a scene in the movie "Son of God"
  3. crowd photos

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