There are a ton of pictures of Jesus comforting people, but I want to know who was there to give Jesus a hug when He needed one?
- V1 – Jesus has been travelling around the Sea of Galilee and just recently went as far west as Nazareth, but Jerusalem is a fair ways south. It looks like about 80 miles from Capernaum to Jerusalem on the map in my Bible – no big deal in a car, but quite a schlep on foot. So the rumor mill carried the news about Jesus 80 miles and from the bottom of the social ladder to the very top. All this without Twitter.
◊ If God does something amazing in my life/community, could I talk about it and spread the word enough that God’s fame and glory would reach, say, the President?
- V2 – It sounds like his guilty conscience is making him paranoid.
- V3-4 – John was calling out Herod and Herodias and holding them accountable to God’s standards for the covenant of marriage. I’m curious if this was something God asked him to do or if he decided on his own to point out the king’s sins.
- V3, 5, 9 – Herod seems like a serious people pleaser. He arrests John because his wife wants him to, he’s afraid to kill him because the people will be mad at him, and then (apparently having changed his mind about wanting to kill him) he beheads him even though he doesn’t want to because he doesn’t want to look like a tool in front of his birthday guests.
◊ Do I let my fear of what people may think influence my decisions?
- V7 – What a bananahead! This was not a good idea. It could go wrong in so many ways.
◊ Does lust (for people or things) make me do stupid things?
- V11-12 – After all his faithfulness, things do not end well for John. But…Jesus said this kind of thing would happen (10:16-25) and the end of our time on earth is not the end.
◊ Do I have the big picture in mind? That this life is not the end?
- V13-14 – What a blow! His cousin and biggest advocate gets decapitated and he can hardly get a moment to himself to grieve. With this kind of persistent, demanding crowd, (“Yes, we know your cousin was just murdered, but could you please fix my achy joints?”) it’s a miracle he could muster up any compassion for them. To me, this is a huge testament of God’s love for humanity. Yes, His death on the cross is the epitome of His love, but His consistent compassion during the day after day after day of needy people following Him everywhere asking Him to meet their needs, some of them just waiting for a show, some of them ready to criticize everything He says and does – this kind of compassion and selflessness blows my mind.
- V15 – Oh yeah, Jesus was trying to get away and grieve and have some quiet time with His Father. Now He’s got 5000+ hungry people with Him out in the middle of nowhere. It strikes me as funny that the disciples come and remind Him where they are and what time it is and then give Him advice.
◊ Is that how I approach Jesus?
◊ Do I look at my lack of resources and say “I can’t help”?
- V16 – Bwah-ha! Jesus and His sense of humor!
- V17 – The disciples (understandably) assumed that what they had to offer was not enough. God specializes in making much out of little.
◊ Do I offer what I have to God and expect Him to do great things with it or do I doubt that He can use it in any significant way and so hesitate to offer it at all?
- V19 – If the crowd came looking for a show, they know they’re about to get one.
- V19 – “Give us this day our bread for today…plus 12 extra baskets for the trip home.”
- V19 – The miracle did occur in the hands of the disciples (v16). They got to participate in Jesus’ miracles (and so can we) but first they had to be obedient to Him (and so must we).
- V20 – Ta da!!!! God provided manna for the Israelites in the wilderness and now He does it again; food in the wilderness only this time they didn’t have to go gather it themselves and there were leftovers.
- V21 – My study Bibles both say there were probably between 10 – 15,000 people there. Imagine leaving to spend time in the wilderness grieving and in prayer and arriving to find Burning Man set up in your quiet spot and everyone there is waiting for you to give them your attention. Jesus loves people a LOT!
Wrap up your quiet time by praying through the following questions:
- Based on this passage of Scripture, what can I thank God for?
- What do these verses tell me about God and His character?
- Based on this passage, is there anything I need to confess to God and ask forgiveness for?
- What do these verses remind me to pray for others?
- What do these verses move me to pray for myself?