Recently, a short phrase in Scripture caught my attention as I was going through my quiet time book.* Stay. You don’t have to leave.
The disciples are in process of telling Jesus what to do. Imagine that! It has hit their radar that the crowd has been listening to His teachings all day. They did not bring any food. The obvious conclusion? “Send the people away to get food, Jesus.” They are being good disciples, don’t you think? They want to make Jesus aware, just in case He has missed something.
Jesus, fully God and fully man, states the obvious from His perspective. “They do not need to go away.” (That’s the phrase that caught my attention.) Then He tells the disciples what to do. “You give them something to eat.” (Mt. 14:16)
The one who created all things, including the entire nourishment system for all living things, is making a point. By this time in history, He’s been feeding creatures, globally, for centuries. He has a completely different approach, being one who can make a lot of something out of a lot of nothing.
As God, Jesus knows He can do anything. As Man, He knows all about human needs. Jesus is putting the obvious in front of His disciples in a way that exposes where they need to know Him better and trust Him more. Yes, He’s a man like they are. Yet, He is so much more – and He is good. He can be trusted.
What Jesus does is incredible. Out of a small boy’s lunch, Jesus feeds 5000 men plus women and children. After everyone has eaten, there are 12 bulging baskets with leftover provisions. Perhaps provision for each of His 12 disciples and their families?
Jesus is in the habit of satisfying hunger – at every level. To people who are hungry for more of Him, He says, “Stay! Don’t leave. You don’t have to go away. I will satisfy your hunger. I love you.”
Bring yourself to Jesus. Bring others. Instead of telling Him what to do, just come near Him. Be still. Quiet your soul. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Ps. 34:8) Listen intently, and let Him tell you what to do.
The miracle of feeding the 5000 takes place immediately following a terrible loss for Jesus. One of His dearest friends, a cousin, has just been murdered. Jesus is leaving to “get away” and grieve. He must have been broken-hearted. He lands on the other side of the lake with His boat. What does He find? The solitude to weep and pray? No. He finds another crowd.
Jesus sets aside His own needs to show God’s love and compassion yet again. Grieving is important to God. It’s on God’s radar. People are important to Him. They are on His radar. Jesus shows what the Father is like by welcoming every person to “stay.” Don’t go. Find yourself in Jesus.
Double Sobering Point
After feeding all those hungry people, healing sick folks, and teaching (all that with a broken heart – still needing to grieve), Jesus sends the 12 on before Him for rest. He stays to clean up the mess and see people safely on their way! It’s as if He, Himself, is staying with Father in His reach to people. Just a little longer. Lingering in the quiet clean up. Being satisfied in Father’s presence. This is where Father has Him right now; so, this is where He wants to be. Jesus trusts God’s care and timing to comfort His broken heart. He knows Father has not forgotten His sadness and sorrow.
Triple Sobering Point
This is the very day/night that the famous walk-on-water rescue mission takes place. Jesus finally finishes the clean-up after the crowd and steals away again to be with Father. Finally, an opportunity to pour out His pain and grief. Ever alert to His dear disciples, the ones He has invited to “stay. Don’t leave,” He sees across the midnight lake. His friends need Him – again. Jesus walks across water to lift them from danger – so they can linger in His presence. To teach them about God’s love . . . and about worship.
Do you find yourself telling Jesus what you think He should do? When is the last time you heard His invitation to “stay.” Are you in a hurry to get up and leave after spending time with the Lord? Do you hurry away into your own world with its problems? Why not trust Jesus to solve them? Linger. Strain to hear Him tell you what to do. Quiet your heart to hear Him whisper, “Stay. You don’t have to go away. I will satisfy you. I love you.”
Just a point of interest: both of the beautiful lakes in this blog are pictures of the Sea of Galilee – the waters Jesus walked on top of.