Message: In Matthew 14 Jesus had just heard the news that John the Baptist had been beheaded, so he tried to withdraw by boat to the wilderness to be alone. The crowds were like paparazzi and they followed him anyway using routes on foot from the towns. When he saw them he had compassion and healed the sick. The disciples observed what was going on and started thinking ahead. They came up with a plan and approached Jesus with it. They brought up three obvious points to alert Jesus of the problems they foresaw, and then proceeded to instruct Jesus as to how to solve it.
- This place is a wilderness (Thank you Captain Obvious, Jesus was aware. He had picked that place to be alone.)
- It’s already late.
- The people will be hungry.
Their solution: “Jesus, send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus rejected their plan and instead told them “They don’t need to go away. YOU give them something to eat.” I love how he completely turned this around on them, which forced them to point out another obvious: “But we only have five loaves and two fish here.” Jesus commanded the crowds to sit down, he blessed the 2 fish and 5 loaves and then broke the loaves before handing them to the disciples to feed 5000+ people. There were still only 2 fish and 5 loaves when he told them to start passing it out. This did not change until they were obedient in the instructions of Jesus. They had to start passing it out and they had to continue passing it out until everyone was fed and full. THEN they counted 12 baskets FULL of leftover pieces!
Command: It’s ok to observe the obvious, but leave the solution to Jesus.
Promise: Jesus has solutions that defy the obvious. He is not limited by the problems that we see, and his view always encompasses a larger picture than the one we are observing. His ways are higher than ours.
Warning: When we focus on problems and try to present our solutions to Jesus, we will always come up short. Imagine if Jesus had acted on their instruction to send the crowd away. What a huge miracle they would have missed out on! When we present our perceived problems to Jesus and then try to instruct Jesus in the form of our prayers, we not only miss out on partnering with Jesus for HIS solution, but we also set ourselves up for disappointment as we wait for Jesus to deliver on the orders we gave him. He is not obligated to act on our command.
Application: Lord Jesus! Please forgive me for the prideful act of using my limited observations and abusing my partnership in prayer by trying to manipulate you to move according to MY will. Help me to recognize that the purpose of the partnership of prayer that you blessed me with is to bring YOUR will to pass! Help me to understand your will and your nature as I read your word, so that my heart and attitude, and ultimately my prayers line up with your will. Help me to be a faithful partner when I come to you in prayer so that I am praying for your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.