12/3 Matthew 14:13-14

13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Jesus had just received the news that Herod had executed John the Baptist. John had prepared the way for Jesus. Surely Jesus knew that He would be next. The world will not tolerate for long those who boldly proclaim the truth. Jesus wanted to be alone. He took one of the small boats from Capernaum and headed toward Bethsaida.

If you had stood on the northern shore of Galilee, you could watch the entire journey. The crowds could see where He was headed and ran ahead to the place He would land. He was their only hope to heal a family member or friend. If there was someone today that really healed like Jesus, the same kind of crowd would always be at his or her door. You probably know someone with a chronic disease who you would take to Him. Can you imagine the desperation of the ill?

Instead of finding solitude and rest, Jesus was met by a great crowd. He could have retreated to the boat and moved on, but His heart was full of compassion. He healed the sick and then miraculously fed the multitude. Surely as he sailed he could see the people moving along the roads toward His destination, but He went anyway. Many times the needs of others will outweigh our own. Jesus shows us that by the power of the Spirit we can set aside our own needs, even in times of grief, and minister to others. He would find some hours alone with His Father later that evening, but He would then have to rescue His disciples on the lake shortly before the next morning.

Consider: Jesus put the needs of others before His own. If we would follow Him, His Spirit can give us the compassion of Jesus. Is there someone that God would have you reach out to today?