Part 1 - The Acknowledgement
“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food’” (Matthew 14:14-15).
The first thing I want you to notice in this story is that it was the disciples who brought the problem to Jesus’ attention. They acknowledged the reality of what was happening. They recognized the need and understood this could turn into a bad situation. Jesus had spent the day healing the sick and ministering to the people and the disciples realized the people were hungry and needed to eat. The disciples saw the issue and came to Jesus because they wanted to get it fixed.
Let’s make it personal.
Is it possible that there is a problem or situation that you see developing? Do you see a need somewhere and you are wondering how this need will be met? Maybe you are like the disciples and you come to Jesus with a problem because you want him to do something about it. This leads into the second part.
Part 2 - The Request
“Jesus replied, ‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat’” (Matthew 14:16).
After recognizing the problem and coming to Jesus, I am sure they were not expecting this response. They wanted to send the people away so they could go find food. Since they saw the need and understood they were not in position to fill the need, they said “let’s send them away and at least give them a chance to find food.” In other words, let it become someone else’s problem – or worse yet let them go fend for themselves.
The disciples were passing the buck – not because they didn’t care, but because they didn’t see a solution. They didn’t think they could solve the problem, and when you look at the circumstances they faced, that is an understandable response. The Bible says they were in a remote place, so the chances of them finding food was probably slim. The truth is they did not have any other real solutions.
That’s why Jesus’ response I am sure caught them off guard. He said, “You give them something to eat.” Jesus was telling them, you see the problem now do something about it. Don’t make it someone else’s issue to resolve, make it your own.
Many times, the reason God shows you the problem is because he wants you to be part of the solution. He doesn’t want you to send the people away, he wants you to help them. Remember they were in the middle of a situation that had no viable solution and yet Jesus said that is not a reason not to help them. You give them something to eat.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Aaron Amat