Jesus Is a Real Person
Gospel Reading: Matthew 14:13-21
When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, "This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves." He said to them, "There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves." But they said to him, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have here." Then he said, "Bring them here to me," and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over– twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.
Jesus Is a Real Person
Sometimes we can forget that Jesus, because he is God, has human feelings and reactions. Jesus knew what it was to feel pain. Jesus knew what it was to feel suffering. He was not immune from feelings and emotions. When we think about times Jesus suffered and felt pain we tend to think firstly of his passion and death. We think of his suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane – his walk to the crucifixion and the crucifixion itself.
When Lazarus died we are told that Jesus wept. When the people saw him weeping they said – see how much he loved him.
In the Gospel this evening we have another example of Jesus’ suffering. We are told very little about the relationship that Jesus had with his second cousin John the Baptist. However their mothers were very close. Mary went to visit Elizabeth in the early stages of her pregnancy. We know that John recognised Jesus even when he was in the womb. He leapt for joy when Jesus was present. I have no doubt that John and Jesus were very close friends. I am sure that John always was full of joy when he saw Jesus. I’m sure they sent much time together when they were growing up.
Then on receiving the news that John the Baptist had been killed, Jesus felt the need to withdraw to a lonely place. His cousin – his friend had been murdered. Jesus obviously was sad and felt unable to continue what he was doing. I’m sure he had been very worried about John being in captivity and now the worst had happened. He was mourning the death of his cousin. For us this reveals that Jesus was fully human and experienced all the feelings that we ourselves experience. Jesus was and is a real person. He also knew that John the Baptist had died because he was preaching about Jesus. In human terms it was overwhelming for Jesus to feel the burden of this. This was pure grief. However as soon as the people came looking for Jesus he left his own personal suffering and continued with healing the sick. No matter how he was feeling he always reached out and helped the one in need.
How he helps – the scale of how he helps is beyond our imagination. Today’s Gospel reveals the scale of the miracles that Jesus can perform. If we were to divide five loaves and two fish between 5,000 men, not to mention women and children, we would struggle to make the pieces of a scale that it would even be possible to see. They wouldn’t get a crumb each! It is impossible yet Jesus was able to provide enough for 5,000 hungry people to be fed. There was plenty left over.
When you combine the reality of Jesus being fully human and knowing how we can suffer and the scale of the miracles that he performs it should give us confidence in our prayers. We know how well Jesus understands our human condition and that there is nothing impossible through Jesus. He can and will perform miracles in our lives.
However, we also need to consider that our actions can hurt Jesus and cause him to suffer. Our relationship with Jesus is truly that, a relationship, therefore we all have to take some responsibility for how it develops. We all know that familiar phrase “the more you put in the more you get out”. In our relationship with Jesus that this is 100% true. The more we put in the more we get out. Our relationship with Jesus is the only relationship in which we can never be let down. There is never failure with Jesus. He will never fail us.
Let us pray in confidence that we continue to learn to keep putting more and more into our relationship with Jesus and that we will remain aware of the size of the miracles he performs and will perform for us.
Matt Talbot intercede for us.