A few years ago my wife and I hiked a rugged trail that was longer than we could handle. Near the end of the hot summer day she sat down at a resting place where the trail crossed a country road, while I trudged the last mile of the loop to our truck and then drove and picked her up. We were exhausted and probably resembled many of the people who followed Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 14.
Several thousand people had followed Jesus into the desert. They sat on grass, so the location was probably just arid and unsuitable for planted crops. But the journey was long, and there was no provision for comfort or food.
This week I will meditate on this scene and imagine being with those people.
Imagine their emotions of expectation about Jesus and how glorious a King He would be.
Imagine their feelings when they first realized their vulnerabilities with no food or shelter.
But Jesus came to their rescue. He addressed their needs and gave them (and us) much to think about.
And then in Matthew 15 comes a wonderful story of a journey of three days to Tyre. Three days of walking on dusty roads. Three days of exposure and uncertainty regarding shelter as they walked and walked and walked toward the Mediterranean Sea.
Do you think people were frightened when thirteen men walked into a village of a dozen houses in the middle of the afternoon? If you lived there, would you be frightened?
Jesus healed the sick and the villagers became eager to feed and house the disciples.
This long journey was made, I believe (although the Bible doesn’t specifically say), just so Jesus can meet a woman of great faith. Just so He can have one short conversation with her, and just so you and I can benefit from this encounter. I believe this encounter brought Him encouragement following the death of John the Baptist.
All that distance and all that time – just to meet this precious woman.
It raises the question of how far will Jesus go and how much time will he set aside to see my faith?
I see a pattern in this week’s lesson. A pattern of love and compassion and the importance of faith.
And now I love Jesus all the more because of it, which will make this an exciting week.
May our church be revived by this important lesson study, and may our repentance be complete.
Join me this week and pray more and more. Come closer to the Father and Jesus and let the words of Matthew stir your soul.