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Feed His Sheep. Love His People.

Wednesday, February 28th
Feed His Sheep, Love His People
By: Pastor Melissa Beauvais

Matthew 15:21-39

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand
29 Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. 30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”

33 His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”

34 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.

“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”

35 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. 37 They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 38 The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children. 39 After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.

The second multitude feeding, but this one to mostly Gentiles. It is in the second account we learn the deep compassion Jesus has for everyone. For three days, the crowd has been learning, growing, and feeding their spiritual appetite. Leaning in and listening to all that Jesus had to offer but it is now time to return home, Jesus sees them. I love the ESV translation of v.32 “And I am unwilling to send them away hungry”, Jesus says. They sought first the Kingdom of God and Jesus filled their physical need, hunger. Unwilling to let them go vulnerable and with empty bellies, Jesus provides a miracle.

But look who Jesus instructs to hand out the food, the disciples. He doesn’t ask the disciples to provide the miracle but participate in the miracle with Him. By carrying the baskets of the miracle blessing, the disciples are spreading Jesus’ compassion to others.  Jesus wants His followers to be His hands and feet. You have an opportunity to be unwilling to allow someone to walk away hungry, literally or spiritually.
It is in the gesture of providing food and eating with the crowd full of pagans; that they are now welcomed into the family. Jesus’ compassion extends to everyone and we can follow His lead. We all long to be seen, heard, known, and loved. Perhaps, it is you that Jesus is sending out with a basket to feed His sheep and love His people.

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