Jesus Feeds the 5,000

Jesus got into a boat toward Bethsaida to a remote area to be alone with us.  We haven’t eaten for quite a while and Jesus wanted us all to find some food.  As we arrived on the seashore, again, crowds were there.  People had heard where we were going and followed on foot from many areas.  Jesus saw the crowd and had compassion on them.  He saw them as sheep without a shepherd needing guidance and love.  He healed the sick and taught them about the kingdom of God.

It was evening and the skies were getting dark.  The area was remote so it would take some time for anyone to go to their villages for food and rest.  The disciples asked Jesus to send the crowd to the local villages and farms to eat.  I knew I was hungry and ready to rest myself so I joined in agreement with them.

Jesus just looked at us and said “You feed them.”

What? How can we feed them when we don’t have enough money?  Even a month’s wages from all of us wouldn’t be enough to feed the many people that are around us.  Jesus told us to ask around if anyone had any food.

Andrew came back and replied to Jesus, “There’s a young boy here with five loaves of barley bread and two fish.”

I thought, “How in the world is that going to feed these many people?  I know Jesus can perform miracles, casting out demons, bringing people back from the dead, calming storms, etc.  But to only use five loaves of bread and two fish? I guess I need to trust him. He has never failed me or any of us so far.”

Jesus told Andrew to bring the food to him.  He asked the people to sit down on the ground.  They sat in groups of fifty and a hundred.  Jesus lifted the food up and prayed over it.  He blessed it.  Jesus then broke the bread and fish and gave it to us to distribute among the people.  It took quite a long time to give the food out.  The food just kept coming!

We all sat down as well and ate.  I was so glad to finally eat.  The bread was lovely and soft.  The fish was fresh. I ate until I was completely full up and could no longer eat anything else.

After everyone finished eating, Jesus asked us to pick up the leftovers.  The twelve disciples had a basket each.  We ladies helped as well.  Despite the amount of people, it seemed ages to pick up the food.  When we were finished cleaning up, all twelve baskets were full!

I was completely amazed.  Jesus just fed about 5,000 men plus women and children with just five barley loaves and two fish.  Is there anything impossible for Jesus?

When the people realised what had happened they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!”

Yes, Jesus is indeed.  But He is more than a Prophet.  He is the Son of God.  He is amazing!

Jesus spent time chatting with the people, getting to know them.  I loved to watch his reactions as he went around the groups.  He had so much tenderness in his eyes.  He cared for people no matter their status in life.  Everyone mattered and I believe that is what drew the crowds to him.  People needed to be encouraged and loved. Jesus is who they have been looking for.

For further study:

Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-14

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Lent Series: The Death of John the Baptist

Yesterday, we went with Jesus to his hometown of Nazareth. He tried to teach there, but they didn’t want to hear what he had to say. His own fellow men rejected him and sent him on his way. Because their lack of faith he could not heal people who desired to be healed.

Whilst we were walking, one of John’s disciples came running to Jesus weeping. Jesus asked him what was the matter. He told Jesus that John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, was beheaded. He and the other disciples of John’s buried John just before seeing Jesus.

We asked for the details. Herod was having a birthday party. During the party, Herodias’s daughter danced well and pleased Herod. Because she pleased him, he promised her anything she wanted. She asked her mother what was best, and her mum told her she wanted John the Baptist’s head on a platter.  Therefore, John was beheaded in prison and his head was brought to the daughter on a tray during the party!

Herod and Herodias didn’t like John. He told Herod the truth about his marriage which did not settle well with him. You see, Herodias was seduced by Herod. She was his niece and wife of his brother Philip. He persuaded Herodias to divorce Philip and marry him. John told Herod it was against the law to marry her.

Despite hearing the truth that his marriage was wrong, Herod would not kill John. He was afraid to. He had respect for John and would even chat to him about things. Herod was grieved and did not want to behead John. However, because he had made a promise, he could not back out now. He ordered his men to carry out the deed.

I was very upset. I could not believe all that I had just heard. I knew John was in prison, however, I didn’t know why.  I remember John baptizing me in the River Jordan when I first saw Jesus. I felt so different afterward. My life has never been the same since that day.

The disciples with us were upset as well. Some disciples had left John to follow Jesus and John was so understanding. He even encouraged them to follow Jesus.

I felt awful that we could not be there when they buried his body. I have no idea what they ended up doing with the head. I can only imagine Herodias kept it as a trophy in her room. I shivered just thinking about it.

Jesus told us he wanted to go to a remote place to get away for a bit. He was really upset. I could understand. This was his cousin. They were very close and grew up together.

We set off in boats. However, crowds found out where we were going and followed us. Jesus had compassion on them. He decided to heal and teach despite his grief.

I was utterly amazed at how Jesus dealt with everything. If it was me, I would tell the people to leave me alone. I need time to grieve. But Jesus didn’t. He loved everyone and he wanted everyone to know about his Father God. He wanted them to be healed and set free. He wanted them to be a part of his kingdom.

I sat down next to a group of ladies and their children and listened to Jesus. I watched as queues of people came to be healed.

The day was growing shorter. I wondered what was going to happen next. I was tired. I was hungry. I was sad. I pray Jesus will find time to grieve and be alone with his Father. I pray we will get fed soon and have some time to rest.

*For further study: Matthew 14:1-13; Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9

*Note- Jesus grieved on the inside. He did minister to others despite his grief. However, as we will discover later after he ministered to the people and fed them, he finally had time away on his own with God. If you are grieving, don’t hide behind the pain and keep working, etc. Take time to be with your heavenly Father who loves you more than anything and wants to share the grief with you.

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Lent Series:  Jairus’ Daughter Raised and a Woman Is Healed

People from all over must have heard Jesus was heading their way.  As soon as we arrived at the shoreline at the other side of the lake, a crowd was there waiting.  We stepped out of our boats and began walking towards the crowd.  By this time I have been able to follow Jesus closely alongside the twelve disciples and a couple of other ladies: Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples (Luke 8:3).  What an awesome privilege to be counted among Jesus’ friends.  I am indeed a very blessed woman.

Jairus, a synagogue leader saw Jesus and fell at his feet pleading for Him to come see his daughter who was dying, she was only twelve years old.  Jesus went with Jairus and the crowds followed us.  There were so many people around us it took us some time to get anywhere.

A woman in the crowd touched Jesus’ robe.  Immediately she was healed.  Jesus realised someone was healed and stopped us all from walking and looking around the crowd asked, “Who touched my robe?”

The disciples were getting upset and started fussing among themselves about the urgency of getting to the dying girl whilst Jesus was here asking about who touched his robe.  They asked Jesus, “What does it matter?  There are far too many people around here and we have an urgent matter to attend. Come on let’s move on.”

Jesus kept looking around for who touched him.  The woman, frightened and trembling, came and knelt before Jesus and told him what she had done.  We ladies listened to her story.

“Jesus, I have heard about your healings and many wonders.  I have been suffering haemorrhaging for twelve years.  I have seen many doctors spending everything I had but only kept getting worse.”  Taking a breath and still trembling, she looks up to Jesus and said, “I just thought to myself, ‘If only I can touch his robe, I will be healed.’ So I touched you and immediately the bleeding stopped and I felt so much better, better than I have in years.”

Jesus looked tenderly into her eyes and said to her- “Daughter, your faith has made you well.  Go in peace.  Your suffering is over.”

As Jesus was still talking, messengers arrived to tell Jairus his daughter had died.  Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.”

The woman went on her way back through the crowd which followed Jesus to Jairus’ house.  Jesus stopped the crowd from getting too close.  And when we and the disciples arrived at the house, Jesus only allowed Peter, James and John to enter.  One of them relayed the information of what happened inside to us later when they came back out.

When they came to the house, Jesus saw people wailing and weeping.  He went inside and asked, “Why are they making so much noise?  The child isn’t dead; she’s asleep!”

The people laughed at Jesus.  He made them all leave.  He, the mother, Jairus and the three disciples went into the girl’s room.  Jesus held her hand said to her, “Little girl, get up!”

She immediately stood up and walked around!  The family was completely amazed.  Jesus insisted that they did not tell others what had happened.  He then told them to give the girl something to eat.

I just love how Jesus makes everyone feel so important.  He didn’t have to take the time to find out who touched him in the crowd.  He could have just went on to Jairus’ house before the girl died.  I believe he had a purpose in it all and I do hope that Jairus came to know Jesus as I have.  What an amazing, powerful God I serve!

Notes:

*Jesus has compassion and time for all of us.

*The number 12 is mentioned here which is very interesting.  The woman suffered for 12 years, the girl was 12 years old and of course, there are 12 disciples.  The number 12 is considered a perfect number symbolising God’s power and authority which of course was seen here on both occasions.

For further study:

Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56

 

Lent Series:  A Demonaic is healed

After the storm, we all sailed to the other side of the lake.  We landed in the Gadarenes area and got out of the boats to walk into the nearby town.  Obviously, by that time, we had dried out from the storm, and we were tired and in need of something to eat.

As we got close to town, a man came running to us naked and screaming loads of obscene things.  One of the townsmen warned us not to get near him.  He explained the man lived in the nearby cemetery.  People could not go near him as he was very violent.  They tried to chain and shackle him but the man was so strong he broke through.  No one was ever strong enough to subdue him.  This poor guy wandered among the burial caves and the hills, howling and cutting himself with stones.

I was frightened and sad watching this man screaming.  He had sores all over him.  He had no decency.  I really wish he would cover himself up.  I understood some of the torment he was going through.  My heart ached for him knowing that he could be set free.

Jesus came up with his disciples and the man saw him.  He ran up to Jesus and bowed low before him.  The man began to shriek.  We could hear an odd voice shouting at Jesus.  He said “You are the Son of God.  Are you going to torture us before God’s appointed time?”

Jesus explained to us the voice was from demons.  Jesus said to the voice inside the man- “Who are you?”

The voice said “We are called Legion as there are many of us inside this man.”

The demons asked Jesus not to send them far away.  Jesus saw a large heard of pigs nearby.  Jesus commanded the demons to go into the pigs.  The whole herd, about 2,000 pigs, all plunged themselves off the steep hill into the lake below and drowned.

The naked man just stood there shaking. Someone went to their boat and brought back an extra cloak which the man received gladly.  Everyone around us was staring at this poor man and was stunned at what Jesus did.  The man had a whole different demeanour about him.  His face lit up and he was calm.  He sat down on the side with his new cloak on and didn’t speak.

The farmer told his herdsmen to go into town telling them what had happened.  He was upset that he lost his whole herd of pigs.  But he was more amazed at what happened to this man. The villagers came to see for themselves this man they were all afraid of.  Some stood quite far away shaking as they were not sure what would happen.  They saw the man sitting on the side sane and fully clothed.  Fear gripped the villagers and they begged Jesus to leave them alone and to go away.  Some of them were angry at Jesus.  Most of them were just afraid.  They had never seen anything like this before. We all got a bite to eat and sadly had to leave.

The man wanted to go with Jesus and follow him everywhere.  But Jesus sent him home saying “No, go back to your family and tell them everything God has done for you.”  So he went telling everyone what Jesus had done.

We got back into our boats and chatted about what we had seen.  I was amazed yet again at how precious Jesus is.  I saw today even demons recognise Him as the Son of God.  They were subjected to Jesus and afraid of him.  He has power over demons.

My mind was rethinking over and over again the events the past two days.  Jesus is Lord over the wind and the waves.  He is Lord over demons.  But I did wonder what the demons meant when they asked Jesus was he going to torture them before God’s appointed time.  I guess I will have to find out when the time is right.

Notes:

*A demon is a fallen angel who was cast out of heaven with Satan.  They torment and harass people.

*Because Jesus lives in us, we have authority to resist the devil and his demons and they have to flee (See James 4:7)

*This man was among the first evangelists to tell others about Jesus and what he has done.

 

For further study:

Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39

Lent Series: The Sea Made Serene

Jesus had been very busy teaching people about the kingdom of God. He continued to heal people from sicknesses as well. Crowds always follow Jesus wanting to know more about him. I think it is mainly out of curiosity. I wonder how many actually believe he is truly the Son of God.

One evening, crowds continued to follow him and came to the lakeside. Jesus stepped into a boat. The crowds began to leave to go home for dinner, to look after their chores and their families. However, there were a few who got into boats to follow Jesus.

Jesus was tired, so he laid down inside the boat with his head on a cushion. He fell asleep to the noise of the waves slapping against the sides of the boat. I am not surprised he was so tired, it had been a long day with many trying to grab his attention.

The Sea of Galilee is well known for storms starting up quickly because of where it is located. This evening was no exception. A storm suddenly appeared causing large waves to crack against the boat spilling water into it. The disciples were busy chucking out the water with buckets as fast as they could.

The winds blew harder rocking the boat back and forth. It was enough to make anyone sea sick.

The waves grew larger and larger.

Lightning struck.

Thunder roared.

Jesus was still asleep!

The disciples panicked and went over to wake Jesus up. One was crying out “Jesus! Save us! We’re going to drown!”

Another asked how he could sleep through such a storm, did he not care if they were going to drown.

Jesus responded to them asking “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!”

Jesus stood up and spoke to the wind and waves and said “Silence! Be still”!

The water became still. The wind stopped. There was not even a breeze.

The disciples looked at each other and at Jesus.

Fear.

Bewilderment.

Sorrow came over them.

They were amazed asking each other “Who is this man? The winds and waves obey him.”

I can understand why the disciples were afraid. If you had seen the waves that were coming into our boats, you would have been afraid and sea sick as well. We were all soaked through, tired and sore from throwing out water and trying hard to stay in the boat.

But, I and the men in the other boats, was amazed at what Jesus did. Jesus just slept through the storm. Nothing bothered him.

I have to say after witnessing what Jesus did I believe he is Lord over the earth. He has control over the wind and the waves. He is amazing! I am so glad I jumped into one of the boats to follow him.

Note:
*When Jesus said to the disciples that they had little faith he was telling them they lacked confidence and had an underdeveloped faith.

For further study: Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25

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Lent Series: Parables about Farmers and Seeds

Crowds continued to follow Jesus wherever he went. On this particular day, Jesus sat in a boat to teach the crowd surrounding him. He shared stories which are called parables so people could understand his teachings easier. Most people, like myself, were common and didn’t have the learning like the scholars, rabbis and priests. Today he shared several stories about seeds and harvesting to explain the kingdom of heaven.
 
I am only going to share two of the stories as I remember these the best. The first is about a farmer scattering some seed across a field. Some fell on a footpath, others on shallow, rocky soil, some among thorns and others on fertile soil. Birds came and ate the seed on the footpath. The ones planted in the shallow soil wilted under the hot sun and died. The seeds among the thorns were choked and died. Finally, the ones on fertile soil grew very well, producing so much it was as much as one hundred times more than planted.
 
I understood how this happens as I have seen Father planting seeds in our garden. Birds love to come and eat up the seeds that don’t go into the soil. Every week or so, Father, my brothers and sisters and I would help to pull out the thorns and weeds so the seeds can grow. But the ones which were planted on good soil grew very well and we had a good harvest.
 
I thought this was good teaching, but what does this mean. Thankfully, Jesus explains the parable. He said the seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the kingdom of God without understanding it. The adversary comes along to steal the seed planted in the heart. No one was there to help explain the message to them. Then there was seed on the shallow and rocky soil. These represent people who hear the message, receive it with great joy, but their roots do not grow deep, so they end up falling away as soon as problems arise or they are persecuted. The seeds that fell upon the thorns are like people who hear God’s word but the message is strangled by the worries of the world and the desire for wealth. Sadly no fruit is produced. The final seeds that were planted in the good and fertile soil represent those who hear and understand God’s Word. They end up producing as much as was planted in their hearts plus much more, and they begin to share those seeds with others.
 
Oh, how I pray I do not lose the joy of knowing Jesus. I want my roots to grow deep so when storms of life come, I am not crushed under the pressure. I want to understand God more and more. I want to learn, I want to grow, I want others to know about Jesus and his message of heaven.
 
The second parable Jesus shared was about wheat and weeds. This is another farmer story. A farmer planted seeds in a field. During the night the enemy planted weeds in the field within the wheat. We call these weeds tares. The crops began to grow well together. The workers saw the weeds and asked where they came from.
 
The farmer explained the seeds came from the enemy who wants to destroy all the crops. They asked if they should pull up the weeds and the farmer said no. If they tried to, they would pull up the wheat as well. The farmer told them to let them grow until the harvest. The harvesters then will sort out the weeds, put them into bundles and burn them. The wheat then will be stored in the barn.
 
I have seen this happen so many times on my friends’ farms. It can be very frustrating to see tares growing up with the wheat, but at harvest time, there is usually plenty of wheat left to store. I wondered what Jesus was trying to get us to understand with this parable. So I stuck around when everyone else went their separate ways. Jesus went into a house nearby and explained the parable to His close disciples.
 
He tells them that He as the Son of Man is the farmer planting the good seed. The field is the world. The good seed represents the people of the kingdom, those who follow Jesus. The weeds are those who belong to the adversary. Satan has planted weeds among the wheat. The harvest will be at the end of the world and the harvesters are God’s angels.
 
Just as the weeds are sorted and thrown into the fire, it will be the same at the end of the world. Jesus will send his angels who will remove everything that causes sin and evil and throw them into the fiery furnace where weeping and gnashing of teeth will be. The righteous ones will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. We should listen to his words and understand.
 
I do pray I will be counted among the faithful. I don’t want to fall into the trap of the adversary. I desire to shine like the sun. Sheol- death, forever death, weeping and gnashing of teeth is not something I want to be a part of for eternity. The sound of it is horrible.
 
Oh Jesus, I really want to be in your kingdom. Keep the adversary away from me. Help me to hide under the shadow of the Almighty. Cover me under your wings.
 
For further study:
Matthew 13:1-28, 36-43; Mark 4:1-20, 26-29; Luke 8:4-15

Lent Series:  A Sinful Woman Anoints Jesus

One evening, a Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to come to his house for dinner.  Jesus went into the house and sat down to eat.  I saw a woman go into the house.  She was well known in the community for prostitution and other sins.  I wondered what she could be going in there for.  Didn’t she know who was there?  After what I saw next, I knew she did.

The woman had heard Jesus was going there for dinner.  She brought an alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume.  She was shaking as she knelt behind Jesus.  She slowly opened the jar and then began to pour perfume on Jesus’ feet.

Trembling. Shaking. Tears began to fall.  This woman wept, her tears falling on his feet.  She wiped the tears and perfume with her hair.  She could not stop doing this.

I was moved to tears myself seeing the love poured out upon Jesus.  Oh, how I wish it was me doing this.  How I love Jesus and somehow want to tell him.  I want to tell Him how much he means to me.  This lady didn’t worry about protocol or what others thought, she just came in and poured out her love.

The Pharisee who invited Jesus to the house was looking at the woman with disgust obviously knowing who she was.  Jesus must have known what he was thinking.  He looked at Simon and said, “I have something to say to you.”

Simon tells him to go ahead.  Jesus shared a story with him about two people having debts to pay.  One was given 500 pieces of silver and the other 50.  Neither one of them were able to pay the money back.  The man who gave them money had pity for the two men and forgave them their debt.

Jesus asked Simon which one loved the man more after the debt was forgiven.

Simon answered, “I supposed the one who had the most debt.”

Jesus told him he was correct.

Jesus then looked at the woman and said to Simon, “This woman here has been washing my feet with tears.  You didn’t offer to wash the dust from my feet.”

I had wondered why the guest didn’t wash Jesus’ feet. It is customary for the head of the house to wash the guest’s feet before a meal- cleanliness is important to Jews.  Having dusty feet at the dinner table really wasn’t acceptable.

Jesus then continues.  “Simon, you didn’t greet me with a kiss, but this woman has not stopped kissing my feet.  You neglected the courtesy of anointing my head with olive oil, but she has anointed my feet with expensive perfume.”

I don’t think Simon really considered Jesus as a proper guest.  I think he was more curious about Jesus and wanted to get more of an idea of who he really is and what he is like.

Jesus looked tenderly into the woman eyes and says to her “Your sins are forgiven.”

The other men around the table began talking amongst themselves, “Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?”

Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

The woman’s eyes lit up.  She slowly rose up from the floor and smiled.  She looked like a different person from the one that came into the house earlier.

This woman was forever changed.  The last I heard she was doing really well. Others could not recognise her as she cleaned herself up and was different from the inside out.  She glowed with joy.

After seeing what Jesus did for this woman, I had to come and talk to him afterwards.  My soul has been tormented for years and I have heard many voices in my head trying to tell me how awful I am, no one loves me, I am stupid, and  I should kill myself.  I have no idea if I have hurt anyone but I know since seeing Jesus, the spirits inside of me have been fighting against my desire to know Him more.

I did go see Jesus.  He saw the pain and sorrow in my eyes.  He saw how my body was tormented and how much I struggled.  He touched me and healed me!  He released seven demons out of me!  I cannot begin to tell you the relief I feel, the freedom, the joy, the deeper love I have for Jesus.  Oh,  how I wish I had something to give him just as the woman did with the perfume.  I just love Jesus so much I want to always be with him. (Luke 8:2)  Hallelujah!

Notes-

*The word saved means to heal, cure, preserve, keep safe and sound, rescue from danger or destruction, delivered, given a new life and a new heart.

For further study:
Luke 7:36-50

 

Freedom (c)

I’m not worthy to call Him Master.

I’m too ashamed of my sins.

But there is something about Him.

Maybe it is the way He speaks,

Or perhaps His awesome power.

I do not know.

I find myself longing to listen to Him more.

I yearn to have a better life.

Could it be?

Is He really coming here today?

I must bring Him the best I have.

Oh, if only I could kiss His feet.

Here He comes.

Should I?

He’s so different;

Loving, caring, compassionate.

I must….

I poured my best perfume,

I used my dirty hair.

I finally kissed the feet

Of the One that I loved so dearly.

What was that?

My sins forgiven?

It must be a mistake

But why then do I feel

As if the world has been lifted from my shoulders?

I feel like rejoicing, I am loved, and I am free!