Out with 'desert-place' thinking

One morning, when rereading a familiar Bible story, I was struck by something I had not noticed before. Following the news of the arrest and beheading of his cousin, John the Baptist, Jesus left Jerusalem. The account of this in Matthew’s Gospel says, “When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities” (14:13). Jesus wanted to be alone, but the crowd followed him.

The story then continues, “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick” (verse 14). What moved me so much was his Christlike viewpoint, in spite of his own sorrow. It seemed to me that Jesus looked at that assembled crowd, many coming to him for healing and teaching, and he saw, not so much their long list of problems, but rather a multitude of opportunities to encourage, uplift, and heal. He was ready and willing to show them God’s tender love and to feed their spiritual hunger.

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Trusting our spiritual instrument panel
January 16, 2012
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