“I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat.” v. 2
Jesus looked out on the crowds who had been with him for three days and he felt their hunger. Four thousand people had followed him out into the countryside to hear him teach. Faithfully they had stayed with him, listening to his word, for three days, without any food. They had come to see him, and listen to him. Any other leader may have been too caught up in the attention to think about the needs of his followers, but Jesus cared about them. He had not come to be served, but to serve. So he called his disciples together and prepared to miraculously feed them. You know how the story ends. Jesus feeds them whole crowd with a few small fish. The miracle was so great that they even had leftovers. Jesus demonstrated who he was in a powerful way! But today I want to back up and touch on a simple, but profound truth about Jesus. He sees and he cares.
What brought about this miracle? What brought about most of his miracles? Theologically speaking, miracles were for the glory of God and for signs of Jesus divinity. But Jesus is interested in more than good theology. If that had been the sole concern, he could have done something showy like calling fire from heaven. But fire from heaven can’t fill an empty stomach. His miracles were also expressions of his genuine love for people. He saw and he cared. In one other story, Jesus saw a widow grieving over her deceased son. What he saw moved him and he rose the young man from death. In another, he sees a blind man, and is moved with compassion to heal him. Over and over you see Jesus being moved by what he saw in the lives of people. He saw and he cared. Pretty simple huh? It’s no different in our account today, of the feeding of the four thousand. In verse two Jesus says that he feels compassion for his followers, who have been with him for three days, and were growing hungry. Now keep in mind that a three day journey into the middle eastern country side was a bit different in the first century than today. No cars, no McDonalds on the way. Just wilderness. Running out of food and water was easy and dangerous. But still they came to be with him, while the skeptics stayed comfortably at home. Jesus saw what they had given up to be with him and, though he is more than worthy of that, he cared for those who came. What did they learn besides his divinity? They learned that He see and he cares. You may ay this is simple. So why then do we so easily forget it?
Friend today, it may seem you have been following your Lord out in the desert for days, weeks, even longer and it’s becoming difficult. Food is scarce, the days are long, and vision is blurry. The heat of trial may be bearing down on you and you may be wondering if this Jesus who led you out here is worth it. He wants you to know today, what he wanted them to know. He sees and he cares. He hasn’t lost sight of you. He knows how long it’s been, and what you need. He doesn’t have to appreciate you for following him, because he is worthy of much more than you could ever give, but he does appreciate you and all you have given back to him. That’s just the way he is. He sees you where you are and is preparing something awesome to meet your need.
He has seen every tear, heard every prayer, and felt every pain. He has watched you faithfully serve ungrateful people, patiently love unkind people, and joyfully serve those whose needs seem to have no end. He has watched you pour into the lives of others with no thought for reward. He longs to caress your face, battered from repeatedly turning the other cheek. Even though we can never do enough to repay what he has done for us, he is of such great love that he still appreciates our meager offerings. A broken woman pours out her perfume as an awkward offering of love and he says, “Wherever the gospel is preached, what she has done will be told in her honor.” What a great shepherd we have who sees and cares. Right now you may feel alone and forgotten. You have given, and cared, and prayed. You have spent three days in the wilderness with your master, and you wonder if anyone see or cares for you. Oh friend, he does. He sees you where you are right now and he cares. Just stay with him a little longer because he’s preparing a feast for your good and his glory.