“A Word for this Week” Pastor Bill Mugnolo: HARP Pastoral Advisor
Week of August 7-13, 2017: “A Practical Miracle” … Matthew 14:13-21
Out of the forty recorded miracles that Jesus did leading up to His death, only one—the Feeding of the Five-Thousand—is spoken of in all four Gospels. Perhaps this is because this miracle had an impact upon so many. But, then again, it may have been recorded as such because of the many practical lessons that it teaches to us about our daily life in Christ.
First, we see that we don’t always get “down time” right when we want it. Jesus, tired from “non-stop” ministry and mourning the tragic death of John the Baptist, sailed to a supposedly desolate place across the Sea of Galilee. But there would be no time for rest as great crowds were gathered (v.13). But rather than turning them away, the tired Jesus had compassion upon them and healed many (v.14).
We too often seek down time when we are weary and even grieving. But circumstances or the needs of others can delay this, as it did for Jesus. But as He found strength to “run on fumes” so too can we and, in His time, He will enable us to “recharge our batteries” (Matthew 14:23).
Secondly, in the five loaves and two fish that were given to the Lord, we find that while we might think that we have so little to give to the Lord, He can take what we bring Him and make it go a long way. Thirdly, as we read in Mark and Luke, Jesus had the 5,000 sit down in organized groups of fifty. This shows us that He is a God of order—and this applies to our worship life as well (1 Corinthians 14:40).
Fourth, as the crowds ate there fill, we see how Jesus gives in abundance (John 10:10). But we also see, as the twelve baskets of leftover pieces were picked up, that Jesus wants nothing to go to waste (John 6:12). Finally, we see that as the crowds wanted to make Jesus into a worldly king for doing this miracle, He would have none of such adulation (John 6:15). We too, when we are recognized and even honored for what we would do in Christ’s Name, are always to remember that we are but unworthy servants who have only done our duty (Luke 17:10).
Yes, in this “practical miracle” we see both the power and humility of the Christ—who Himself became a servant even unto death on the cross, bearing our sins (Philippians 2:7-8). Then, on the third day, he carried out the greatest miracle after His death—one which, like the Feeding of the Five Thousand, all four Gospels record. He rose from the dead so that we would have life. Life, yes, for eternity and one where we are empowered to live out each day here on earth the practical lessons from that “practical miracle” of the five loaves and the two fish.