9th Sunday After Pentecost: From Emptiness to Abundance (Feeding 5000+)

… Jesus sees a crowd of seeking, vulnerable people, and offers his own heart.


Imagine your cousin and friend has just died for speaking truth to power. You know you can’t be silent, and you’re pissing off all the same authorities. So you know your hour is near. You are weary, grieving, and yet you know you’ll have to continue to speak out for a better world. But first, you need to get away from the maddening crowds and spend some time in solitude, where you can remember you’re not really alone, because Love always surrounds you.

This is where Jesus finds himself at the beginning of Matthew 14: 13 -21, which Adam and Lindsey explore in this episode.

John the Baptist has just been killed, and Jesus is utterly drained. Who knows how many tears he has cried… for his cousin, for a world so caught up in violence that it keeps killing the very prophets who try to lead the way to better?

So he goes out in a boat to a deserted place. But when he comes back, there are multitudes of people awaiting him. Thousands and thousands.

If I were Jesus, I would probably want to walk away without a word. Or scream, “Why don’t you leave me alone for once?” But Jesus, utterly spent, finds in that moment that he has more to give.

His “heart goes out of him” in his compassion. The Greek word used literally means “to rip the internal organs out a victim.” Yikes! But here, as with everything else Jesus does, the meaning is subverted. Instead of a mob coming to rip Jesus apart (as Jesus knows will happen to him as it did to his cousin), Jesus sees a crowd of seeking, vulnerable people, and offers his own heart.

He wanders into the crowd and befriends them. He shares wisdom. He cures the sick.

And when evening falls and the disciples tell him to send the crowds home so they can find food, Jesus says, “You give them something to eat.”

The disciples protest that they have almost nothing. Yet Jesus has just modeled a way to give and multiply blessings even when you feel empty. He has just modeled the way a little bit of love can be multiplied. And he tells his disciples – he tells us – to do likewise.

Adam and Lindsey explore this miracle of abundance and all of its meanings. One potential key to understanding: look at those who are almost left out of the story – the women and children.

The Olive

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