10th February 2012

Caring When We Need Care

“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”
Matthew 14:13-14 NIV UK

Sometimes we need our personal space. But should that prevent us from reaching out to others? 

When Jesus heard that his close cousin, John the Baptist, had been beheaded, his desire was to spend time alone. Even though he knew that John’s future was safe in the hands of the Father, humanly Jesus grieved. Probably they had played together at family events and the bond between them had grown strong. The above passage implies that Jesus withdrew to have a private time of grief. 

The crowds, however, interrupted him. It would have been understandable if he had sent them away. Instead he had compassion on them. At a time when the Son of Man would have needed others to minister to him, the Son of God ministered to others. 

Of course we all need that personal space. It may be for much lesser reasons than Jesus had, and, at other times, it may be for similar reasons. Tragedy happens. Life is often unfair. I know that, when things go badly for me personally, usually I don’t have much time for people who want my attention. I want them to go away. Out of Jesus’ pain proceeded love and concern for the crowds that came to him at an inconvenient moment. 

There is much for all of us to reflect on here. Jesus Christ shared our humanity (Hebrews 2:14). He understands our grief and our pains. He can strengthen us when we are at our weakest. With the help of the Spirit of Christ we can express his love to others when we least feel like doing so. 

Lord Jesus, in my difficult times let your Spirit guide me to respond to others with your compassion and your grace.

Study by James Henderson

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