Matthew 14 is the famous loaves and fishes story, but have you ever read the story from verse 1 of chapter 14?
It is here that we find out that John the Baptist had been imprisoned. Herod wanted to kill him, but he thought there would be an uprise in the people if he had John killed because the people believed that John was a Prophet. Then Herrod was put in a position where he had promised the daughter of Herrodis, that he would give her anything she wanted after she danced for him at his party.
Her request was that the King give her John the Baptists head on a platter! And so, to save face in front of his guests, he obliged and had John the Baptist killed as the girl requested.
The disciples took care of John’s body and then went and told Jesus.
In Verse 13, it says, “When Jesus heard this, He went away from there privately by boat to an isolated place. But when the crowds heard, they followed Him on foot from their towns. As Jesus came ashore, He saw a large crowd and felt compassion for them and healed the sick.”
Jesus purposely left the crowds to have some time on his own. I imagine he would have felt as though he was in the eye of the storm. John was his cousin, they grew up together, John was his friend and confidant, probably the one person who Jesus felt closest too, and now John was dead. The eye of the storm is the most difficult place to be. It’s the place where our emotions rage in the middle of our situation.
The passage goes on to say that the crowds followed Him. They wanted to hear more of Jesus’ stories, and so they sought him out and followed Him. Jesus obviously wanted time out to grieve his friend, BUT the people needed him, and He knew what His purpose was. He loved John, but He was here to do something really big. Jesus had to put his sadness into perspective. Yes, He was sad about John’s death, but He knew he was sent to earth for a period of time to do something amazing for the people. For Jesus – it was always about the people!
So, Jesus spent His time with the people, and then he realised that it was getting late. He cared for the people, and considered they might be hungry. He speaks to the disciples about his concern for the people, and then a young boy comes forward with his bread and two fish. There was more than 5000 people.
We all have something going on in our lives, but we are called to a greater cause. Like Jesus, we are called to a cause that promotes the kingdom of God, we are to be the salt in a world that is falling apart. No one is perfect, no one has perfect situations, but God will use us where we are when we listen to Him and see His love for the people in our lives and around us.
This chapter shows us that even when we are in the eye of the storm, we need to pray and continue to what we can for others around us. God is our helper and our provider. He will walk us through the storm, but our eyes need to be be on Him.