Jesus' Great Compassion - The Crosswalk Devotional - November 7
Jesus’ Great Compassion
By Emma Danzey
Matthew 14:12-16 says, “John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus. When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.’ Jesus replied, ‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.’”
When Jesus heard what had happened, He withdrew.
Have you ever gotten really difficult news and just needed a minute alone? Jesus had been told by his closest friends that his cousin John the Baptist had been killed. This was a rough day in the life of Christ. His family member, friend, and front runner had been beheaded in prison for his ministry. Although this did not come as a surprise to Jesus, He knew this day would come, what we read here reveals to us a lot about Christ’s heart and His perfect deity and humanity.
We see such authentic humanity in Jesus mourning his cousin. He stopped what he was doing and began to go to a place of solitude to grieve this loss. As he got onto a boat, he landed at the shoreline, only to find a large crowd. What would the King of Heaven do? He just lost a loved one, but the people in front of Him needed Him greatly. This is where we see His perfect deity.
He had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Right then, when Jesus saw the crowd, it says that He had compassion on them. In the moment of needing compassion and comfort Himself, we see Jesus have compassion upon others. This is not humanly normal, this is not a natural response. He could have easily claimed exhaustion, turned his boat in a different direction, or ignored them, but no, we see Jesus have compassion on them and heal their sick.
“They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
The disciples came to Jesus in the evening and tried to get Him to get away from the people. They told Him that it was getting late. They told Him to send the crowds away so that they could buy food. Perhaps they had genuine worry and concern for Jesus and wanted Him to have space to weep and grieve? Maybe they themselves were wanting a break? They could have also just been selfishly tired and wanting some alone time. Whatever their reasoning, it was not good enough for Christ to overlook the need of the people to eat. Jesus responded that the people did not need to go away, that the disciples needed to give them something to eat. Jesus refines us in this way as well. There are times when it would be much easier to ignore the needs of others in front of us, but He calls us to act and to show His love to them.
Following this comment, Jesus asked His disciples what they had to offer. There were five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus direct the people where to sit, blessed the food and miraculously there was enough to feed everyone there including 12 baskets left over for each of the disciples. (Matthew 14:17-21) Following Jesus is not convenient, comfortable, or always easy, but there is great reward and provision when we say, “yes” to Him.
Intersecting Faith and Life:
How do you feel comforted knowing that Jesus had such a heart for His cousin, John the Baptist? What speaks to you personally about how Jesus had compassion on the crowd in the midst of His own personal grief? How do you see Christ’s perfect deity in the way He pressed into the need of the 5000 over His own?
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/mbolina
Emma Danzey’s mission in life stems from Ephesians 3:20-21, to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. She is wife to Drew and mom to Graham. Emma serves alongside her husband in ministry, she focuses most of her time in the home, but loves to provide articles on the Bible, life questions, and Christian lifestyle. Her article on Interracial Marriage was the number 1 on Crosswalk in 2021. Most recently, Emma released Treasures for Tots, (Scripture memory songs) for young children. During her ministry career, Emma has released Wildflower: Blooming Through Singleness, two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, and ran the Refined Magazine. You can view her articles on her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com and check out her Instagram @Emmadanzey.