Fed & Full or Fasting & Fainting?

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically today’s passage begins with the twenty-ninth verse of the fifteenth chapter and continues through to the twentieth verse of the sixteenth chapter. “And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilele; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them: insomuch that the multitudes wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel” (Matthew 15:29-31).

 

            “Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude? And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children” (Matthew 15:32-38).

 

            “And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and come into the coasts of Magdala” (Matthew 15:39).

 

            “The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed” (Matthew 16:1-4).

 

            “And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matthew 16:5-12).

 

            “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. HE saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ” (Matthew 16;13-20).

 

            MINISTRY IN GALILEE! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the continuation of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. As you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find the apostle Matthew writing how Jesus departed from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon and returned unto the Galilee. Upon returning unto Galilee the apostle Matthew writes how Jesus came nigh unto the Sea of Galilee and went up into a mountain and sat down thereupon. What we find next is something that is and has become standard within this New Testament gospel—namely the multitudes coming unto Jesus bringing their sick and those who were in need. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of how absolutely incredible this truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful and incredible truth surrounding the multitudes who would gather themselves unto the Lord Jesus. There is something truly astonishing about this for from the fourth chapter of this gospel until now you will find the multitudes gathering themselves together unto the Lord Jesus. Time and time again—regardless of where Jesus went or where Jesus was—you will find the multitudes gathering themselves together unto the Lord Jesus. From the time Jesus came unto Capernaum after hearing of the imprisonment of John the Baptist we find the multitudes gathering themselves unto the Lord Jesus. From the time Jesus came unto Capernaum we find Him teaching and preaching the gospel of the kingdom of heaven and teaching in all their synagogues as He went.

 

            I am absolutely and completely convinced we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how truly incredible it is for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the multitudes which would come unto the Lord Jesus. From the time He came unto Capernaum until the time in this passage when the Lord Jesus would come unto the sea of Galilee we find the multitudes gathering themselves unto Him. What’s more is that not only did the multitudes gather themselves unto Him but it almost seems as though Jesus was incredibly comfortable among the multitudes and the crowds. Time and time again within this New Testament gospel narrative you will find the Lord Jesus being present among the multitudes and being moved with compassion and tenderness toward them. Oh I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like for Jesus and the disciples to see the crowds and the multitudes gathering themselves together unto Him upon hearing where He was at that particular point. What was it like on this particular occasion when the Lord Jesus came unto the sea of Galilee and went up into a mountain and sat down only to find great multitudes coming unto him? Not only this but what was it like for the great multitudes to come unto the Lord Jesus bringing together those who were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others as they were cast down upon Jesus’ feet?

 

            A COMMUNITY OF THE DISEASED! A COMMUNITY OF THE INFIRMED! If there is one thing that is quite unique and astonishing when I read the narrative of the days of the Lord Jesus it’s how you don’t read of men and women bringing those who were in need unto the physicians. There is in all reality only one narrative found within the four gospels when one during those days consulted with the physicians on behalf of her condition. The gospel authors paint a powerful picture of the woman with the issue of blood who had this issue for twelve years. This woman had consulted countless physicians and had spent a considerable amount of money trying to become whole of the plague that was present within her physical body. What makes this all the more intriguing when you think about it is this condition of blood was more than simply an infirmity that needed to be healed for it actually caused this woman to be unclean according to the Law of Moses. If you turn and direct your attention to the Old Testament book of Leviticus you will find that anyone who had a plague of blood was unclean—and not only were they unclean but anything they touched would be unclean. This is something we must needs recognize when considering the narrative of this woman for not only was she suffering from an infirmity that warranted healing but she was also suffering from a plague that required cleansing for she was unclean according to the Law of Moses. Pause for a moment and consider how incredibly unique this truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the truly wonderful and powerful truth surrounding this woman who had a plague or issue of blood which caused her to be unclean according to the Law of Moses.

 

            If you read the narrative of this woman who had the issue or plague of blood you will find it written and recorded how she had spent all her money inquiring of and consulting with physicians on behalf of her plague. This woman would indeed consult countless physicians on behalf of her condition thinking and hoping they might be able to do something for her to once and for all cleanse and heal her of her plague. The New Testament gospel authors present a truly wonderful picture of this woman and how after spending a tremendous sum of money consulting and working with physicians on behalf of her condition she finally decided to do something different. When and after everything else had failed we find this woman turning her attention and her focus unto the Lord Jesus. Scripture reveals how this woman purposed and determined within herself that if she would but touch the hem of the garment of the Lord Jesus she would be healed and made whole of her plague. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for it brings us face to face with the awesome truth surrounding a woman who had previously consulted with a number of physicians and had spent a considerable amount of money with those physicians thinking and hoping they could somehow help cure her of her plague of blood. Scripture reveals how this woman—despite spending a considerable amount of money on physicians—was not only none the better but also grew worse. This is something we have great need of recognizing and paying close attention to for it brings us face to face with the tremendous truth of a woman who had a plague and infirmity for twelve years and who after twelve years decided to come unto Jesus to touch the hem of His garment.

 

            As you read the four New Testament gospel narratives written about the life of the Lord Jesus Christ you will find it written how the Lord Jesus was constantly present among the multitudes and the crowds. You cannot read the four gospel narratives and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and wonderful truth of the multitudes which gathered themselves unto the Lord Jesus. Time and time again—regardless of where the Lord Jesus went in Galilee the multitudes gathered themselves unto Him bringing their sick unto Him. In all reality it would seem that each time the Lord Jesus was in Galilee we find Him being present among the multitudes and the crowds during those times. Over and over again we find the multitudes and the crowds gathering themselves unto the Lord Jesus—on the one hand to hear and listen to the words which He would speak while on the other hand bringing their sick and diseased unto Him. This is something we must needs recognize when seeking to read and understand the four gospel narratives for during those days the multitudes and the crowds didn’t bring their sick or their diseased to physicians or to those places that offered medical attention and care. Within and throughout the four gospel narratives you will find the crowds and the multitudes bringing those who were sick and those who were diseased unto the Lord Jesus hoping and praying that He might heal them.

 

            I continue to read the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew and I can’t help but be captivated with and by the tremendous truth surrounding the multitudes which continued to gather themselves together unto Him. It made absolutely no different where the Lord Jesus was for the multitudes and crowds would indeed gather themselves unto Jesus. This is something we have a great need of recognizing and paying close attention to for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding these crowds and multitudes gathering themselves unto the Lord Jesus bringing their sick, bringing their infirmed and their diseased unto and among Him. On this particular occasion we find the great multitudes coming unto the Lord Jesus having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed and many others and casting them at the feet of Jesus. What we must needs recognize is that not only did the Lord Jesus heal them but He healed them insomuch that the multitude wondered when they saw the dumb speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see. Not only this but what we find in this passage of Scripture is all those within the region of Galilee glorifying the God of Israel who had granted power during those days to heal all those who were sick and in need. How absolutely incredible it is to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and consider how the multitudes gathered themselves together unto the Lord Jesus bringing unto Him all those who were in need and how Jesus healed them all. The words and language in this passage seem to suggest that there were absolutely none who were left out and there were none who weren’t in fact healed by the Lord Jesus on this particular occasion.

 

            The more I read the words which are found within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the crowds and the multitudes who gathered themselves unto Him during those days. You cannot read this gospel narrative without encountering and coming face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the crowds and the multitudes gathering themselves unto Jesus and how Jesus never turned them away. Even on one occasion when the disciples urged Jesus to turn the crowds away and to send them into the villages and towns to buy for themselves bread and sustenance to take care of themselves Jesus declared unto them how they needed not be sent away. If there is one thing we must needs recognize when reading the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew it’s that Jesus never sent the crowds away and only dismissed them AFTER He had healed their sick which were brought unto and among them. There is something truly astonishing and powerful when reading the four gospel narratives—specifically the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew—and encountering and coming face to face with the awesome and wonderful truth surrounding the great multitudes which gathered themselves unto Jesus. What’s more is that Jesus never seemed to be alarmed, concerned or bothered with and by the crowds and multitudes. Time and time again—regardless of how great and how large the crowd and multitude might have been—the Lord Jesus always took the time to minister unto and among the crowd.

 

            If there is one thing I can’t help but think about and consider when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s how the Lord Jesus never sent the crowds away or told them to come back. You can read this gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew as well as the various other gospel narratives and you will never find Jesus sending the crowds away or commanding them to come back the next day, or the day after, or the day after that. There is not a single place within this gospel narrative where you will find the Lord Jesus seeing the crowds and the multitudes gathering themselves together unto Him and His turning and sending them away. This is something which we must needs recognize and understand for even when His disciples urged Him to send the crowds and the multitude away Jesus emphatically declared unto them they did not need to depart or go away. What’s more is that not only did Jesus declare unto His disciples that the crowd did not need to depart and go away but He also instructed them to feed them. When the disciples would have dismissed and sent the crowd away that they might fend for themselves and buy meat and bread for their own sustenance we find the Lord Jesus declaring unto the disciples that they ought to feed them. What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to consider it is when you think about how on this particular occasion there would be five thousand people who were gathered unto the Lord Jesus not including women and children. Stop and consider this for a moment for on this particular day there were more than five thousand individuals including men, women and children who were gathered unto the Lord Jesus and how He healed all their sicknesses, diseases and illnesses.

 

            I absolutely love reading the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew for it didn’t matter how large the crowd or multitude was nor did it matter how many among that crowd was sick and in need of healing, cleansing and deliverance. It didn’t matter at all how long Jesus spent among the crowd and multitude nor how long and how far into the day time went for Jesus would heal all their sick and infirmed which were among them. There is something truly astonishing and powerful about this particular truth when you take the time to think about it for not only did Jesus not send the crowds or multitudes away and not only did Jesus heal all their sick but He would spend as much time as was needed among the crowds and the multitudes. Not only would Jesus not send the crowds away when they came to Him and not only would He not instruct and command them to return a different day but He also spent as much time as was needed to heal all their sick which were present among them. Oh how absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and the crowds and multitudes which gathered themselves unto Him during those days. Jesus would never send the crowds away, Jesus would never tell the crowds to come back and Jesus would never dismiss the crowds too early—three things I would dare say does indeed and does in fact take place time and time again during our generation and the days in which we live.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering how absolutely incredible the narratives of Jesus among the crowds and the multitudes truly are within this New Testament gospel narrative and I am brought face to face with Jesus who was deliberate and intentional with the crowds and the multitudes. Regardless of how often the crowds and multitudes gathered themselves unto Him and regardless of how large those crowds are Jesus would be moved with compassion among them. Jesus would take as much time as was needed for the crowds and the multitudes and would heal their sick into the evening to ensure there was no one who would be left out. What’s more is when you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find the apostle Matthew writing and recording concerning Jesus how He had compassion on the multitude because they had continued with Him for three days. There was one occasion when the multitude and crowd continued with Jesus into the evening long past the day being spent and how the disciples at that time urged Jesus to send the crowds away. Now on this particular occasion we not only find the multitudes gathered together unto the Lord Jesus but we find them having been with Him for three days. What’s more is that if you take the time to read the words and language contained within this passage you will find that on this particular occasion there would be four thousand men not including women and children. This would now be the second time there would be more than four thousand men beside women and chlldren who would gather themselves unto the Lord Jesus.

 

            It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in this New Testament gospel narrative concerning these two occasions when great multitudes gathered themselves unto the Lord Jesus. Within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew—not only do we find the account of five thousand men not including women and children being present with Jesus but we also find the account of four thousand men not including women and children being present with Jesus. On the day when there was more than five thousand men, women and children gathered together unto the Lord Jesus He would minister unto and among them well into the evening and past the time when the day was far spent. Now on this particular occasion we find this multitude and crowd being together with Jesus for three days without having anything to eat. Oh there is something truly incredible about this particular narrative—and not only this particular narrative but also the narrative of the five thousand—for within these narratives we find Jesus not only healing their sick but also feeding them. It wasn’t enough for Jesus to simply heal their sick and to send them away early and hungry. How absolutely incredible it is to read the words which are found within these passages of Scripture and to discover how Jesus would spend as much time as was needed with the crowds and multitudes and would not send them away too early.

 

            I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and pay attention to the words which are found within these two passages of Scripture for they bring us face to face with a tremendous picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. As you read the words which are found within these passages you will be brought face to face with the Lord Jesus who was willing to take as much time as was needed among the crowds and multitudes. There would never be a single time when Jesus would see the crowds and multitudes and would send them away or urge them to come back. Not only this but there was never a time when Jesus would seek to reduce the size of the crowds to somehow make them more manageable. What we find within the four gospel narratives is the Lord Jesus accepting each and every crowd and multitude of people who would gather themselves unto Him in need of healing, cleansing, deliverance and the like. Jesus would behold the crowds and multitudes who would gather themselves together unto Him and He would indeed be moved with compassion toward them. Oh there is something incredible about these narratives for there was never a single time when the Lord Jesus would send the crowds away before the appointed time. Jesus never saw the crowds and was moved with anxiety over how large they grew or even what they needed from Him. There was never a single time when Jesus would see and behold the crowds and would be overcome with worry, concern, anxiety and fear over how large they grew. You will never find a single occurrence or instance when the crowds and multitudes gathered themselves unto the Lord Jesus and Jesus desired of them to return the next day.

 

            I write these words and I find it absolutely incredible to think about and consider how the Lord Jesus would never send the crowds away to come back another day. The Lord Jesus would never send the crowds away without being healed, cleansed and delivered of whatever plagued, oppressed, ailed and tormented them. Moreover the gospel narratives indicate that Jesus would never send the crowds away too early and before He had taken as much time as was needed to engage in ministry unto and among them. Not only this but Jesus would never send the crowds and multitudes away hungry and fainting along the way. In the case of the five thousand men not including women and children Jesus wasn’t willing to send them away hungry and thus allow them to faint along the way since many had come great distances to come unto Him. Jesus was unwilling to send the crowds away to fend for themselves and was moved with compassion for and toward them as He would choose to feed them and provide that which they needed within their physical bodies. Jesus would indeed heal all their sick, all their diseased and all their infirmed which were present among them and even when His disciples urged Him to send the crowds and multitude away that the people might buy for themselves bread and meat Jesus declared unto His disciples that they need not go away and that they ought to feed them. How absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about it for there is something truly astonishing and powerful when you consider the Lord Jesus who was unwilling to send the crowd and multitude away before the appointed time.

            The words which we find within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew are absolutely incredible when you take the time to think about it for they bring us face to face with a Jesus who allowed Himself to be moved with compassion among the crowds. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for it brings us face to face with the Lord Jesus who was indeed willing to devote and spend as much time as was needed among the crowds that they might receive healing, cleansing and deliverance. Oh there is something truly astonishing and captivating when you read the narrative of the five thousand as well as the narrative of the four thousand for both of these narratives bring us face to face with the Lord Jesus who would indeed have compassion on them. The compassion of Jesus would not only cause and allow Him to devote as much time among them healing their sick, cleansing those who weren’t whole and delivering all those who were possessed, oppressed and tormented by unclean spirits. It would be the compassion of the Lord Jesus that would allow Him to be able to effectively minister unto and among the crowds and the multitudes offering healing, cleansing and deliverance unto and among them. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and His ministry unto and among the multitudes. With this in mind I invite you to consider if you will the following words which are found in each of these passages within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew:

 

            “When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children” (Matthew 14:13-21).

 

            This is the narrative of the five thousand men beside women and children who were with Jesus throughout an entire day well into the evening when the day was far spent. It would be on this particular occasion when Jesus not only healed their sick but was also unwilling to send the crowd away too early lest they faint along the way. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider how Jesus was not only unwilling to send the crowd away tired, hungry and fainting but He was unwilling to send them away too early. Had Jesus sent the crowd and multitude away it would have been incredibly tragic for although He would have healed their sick He would have sent them away tired, hungry and fainting. Oh imagine what it would and could have been like if Jesus had sent the crowd away healed but hungry and they fainted along the way. What a tremendous tragedy it would have been had Jesus healed the sick among this great multitude and then deliberately and intentionally chose to send them away hungry along the way. Oh it was indeed true they were healed of whatever sickness, illness and disease plagued their physical bodies, however, they would leave the presence of Jesus hungry. Not only would these people potentially leave the presence of Jesus hungry but they would have also left the presence of Jesus tired, weary and quite possibly have fainted along the way.

 

            If there is one thing that makes this all the more captivating and intriguing when you take the time to think about it it’s when you consider the fact that there would be a second encounter with the crowd and multitude when there would be thousands who would gather themselves together unto the Lord Jesus. In the final verses of the fifteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative you will find four thousand men not including women and children gathered together unto the Lord Jesus. What’s more is that on this particular occasion we find this crowd of thousands of people being with Jesus for three days without having anything to eat. Pause for a moment and consider what this would and could have been like as this great crowd and multitude would spend three full days with the Lord Jesus as He healed their sick day after day. Imagine spending three full days with Jesus and although He healed all the sick among you there would be no food and you would find yourself hungry. HEALED BUT HUNGRY! HEALED BUT TIRED! HEALED BUT WEARY! HEALED BUT FAINTING! Oh there is something truly astonishing and powerful about each of these narratives for within them both we are brought face to face with two distinct crowds and multitudes of people who gathered themselves unto the Lord Jesus having brought unto and before Him all their sick and those who were diseased and infirmed. What’s more is the Lord Jesus would indeed heal all the sick among them and would not leave a single individual out on either of these occasions. Oh how incredibly powerful this truly is when you take the time to think about this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus being willing to heal the sick which were present among the multitude during those days.

 

            With this in mind and having said all of this I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the very next chapter within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. The words which we find here in this passage of Scripture calls and draws our attention to the tremendous and wonderful truth surrounding the crowds and multitudes which gathered themselves together unto the Lord Jesus. Oh there is something truly unique and captivating about these two occasions for not only would Jesus not send them away asking them to come back and return the next day but Jesus would in fact heal all the sick which were present among them. These people were willing to spend as much time as was needed together with Jesus while He healed their sick and Jesus would indeed devote as much time as was needed. In the case of the five thousand men not including women and children we find Jesus spending virtually a full day among the crowd and multitude of people as He healed their sick. On this particular occasion as we read about the four thousand we find the multitude spending three days with Jesus as He healed the sick which were among them. What a truly awesome and powerful truth this is when you take the time to think about it for imagine the Lord Jesus devoting three full days to healing the sick among the multitude which gathered themselves together unto Him—and not only Jesus devoting Himself to three full days with this multitude but also the multitude itself being willing to spend three days together with the Lord Jesus. There is something truly unique and captivating about this particular truth when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding a Jesus who was willing to spend three days with the multitude and a multitude who was willing to spend three days together with Jesus.

 

            Having said this I would like to invite you to consider the following words which are found in the fifteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative. The words we find in the fifteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel brings us face to face with another encounter of the Lord Jesus with the crowd and multitude which had gathered themselves together unto Him. With this being said I find it absolutely necessary to first draw your attention to the words which are found in the final verses of the ninth chapter. I am absolutely convinced the words present within these final verses help set the tone and stage for what we read in the fourteenth and fifteenth chapters of this New Testament gospel narrative. That which we find in the fourteenth chapter calls and draws our attention to the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and the overwhelming compassion He had within His heart and soul for the multitude. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it was the compassion within His heart and soul that truly enabled Him to be able to effectively minister unto and among the crowds and multitudes which were gathered together before Him. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for it calls us to focus on the compassion of the Lord Jesus and how the Lord Jesus would indeed devote as much time as was needed among the crowds and multitudes of people who gathered themselves together unto and before Him. With this in mind I will call you to first consider the words which are found in the ninth chapter of this New Testament gospel before turning and directing your attention to the words found in the fifteenth chapter:

 

            “As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils. And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:32-38).

 

            Pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for what we find here is not only Jesus teaching in their synagogues preaching the gospel of the kingdom but also healing every sickness and disease among the people. What we also find within this passage of Scripture is something truly astonishing and captivating concerning the Lord Jesus for in addition to preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every sickness and every disease we find him seeing the multitudes and being moved with compassion on them because they fainted and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd. The Lord Jesus would indeed have compassion on the multitude seeing them as sheep which had no shepherd and would as a direct result of this speak directly unto His disciples and declaring unto them the harvest was truly plenteous but the laborers were few. Jesus would indeed call His disciples to pray the Lord of the harvest that He would send forth laborers into the harvest before declaring unto them they were the answer to the very prayer he had spoken unto them. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and the compassion He had upon the multitudes and the crowds which gathered themselves together unto Him.

 

            The more I think about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the compassion of the Lord Jesus which He had on the multitudes. It would be in the ninth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative we are introduced to this compassion of the Lord Jesus—a compassion which would cause Him to heal every sickness and every disease among the multitude and crowd which gathered themselves together unto Him. This compassion is something we must needs recognize and pay close attention to when you consider the words found in the fifteenth chapter for it invites us to pay attention to that which is found in the fifteenth chapter. It is in the fifteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel we are brought face to face once more with the multitudes gathering themselves together unto the Lord Jesus. On this particular occasion the multitudes would total four thousand not including women and children and they would be present with Jesus for three days. For three full days the Lord Jesus would indeed heal their sick and every disease and illness present among them as He would devote as much time as was needed for them. We must needs recognize and understand just how absolutely incredible this truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and the incredible compassion He had among the multitudes which gathered themselves together unto and before Him. There is something truly wonderful and beautiful about the compassion of the Lord Jesus that would not only allow Him to devote as much time as was necessary for the crowds and multitudes but also heal their sick and every disease present among them. Moreover this compassion of the Lord Jesus would indeed cause Him to not send the crowd and multitude away too early as they might be tired, weak, faint and weary.

 

            With this in mind I invite you to consider if you will the following words which are found in the fifteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative in the final verses of the chapter. It is in this particular passage of Scripture we are brought face to face with the incredible truth of another multitude of thousands of people who gathered themselves together unto the Lord Jesus and how Jesus would heal all their sick and all the diseased and infirmed present among them. Consider if you will the following words which are found in this passage of Scripture beginning to read with and from the twenty-ninth verse of this particular chapter:

 

            “And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them: Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel” (Matthew 15:29-31).

            “Then Jesus called His disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude? And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. And they did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children” (Matthew 15:32-38).

 

            There is something truly astonishing and powerful about the words we find here in this passage of Scripture for within it we are brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the compassion of the Lord Jesus. Within this passage of Scripture we find the multitudes bringing unto Jesus the blind, the lame, the dumb, the maimed and many others and cast them down at the feet of Jesus. What I so love about this passage of Scripture is that Jesus healed them all insomuch that the multitude marveled and wondered when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk and the blind to see. What’s more is that as you continue reading in this passage of Scripture you will find Jesus calling unto Himself His disciples and declaring unto them how He had compassion on the multitude because they had continued with Him now three days and had nothing to eat. Moreover within this passage of Scripture you will find Jesus declaring unto His disicples that He would not send them away fasting lest they faint in the way. How absolutely incredible it is when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture for not only would Jesus heal all those who were brought before and unto Him but He would also feed them. While it was indeed true He provided healing for their physical bodies it was also true the Lord Jesus would be moved with compassion toward and for the people. This people would spend three full days with the Lord Jesus and had nothing to eat and Jesus was not willing to send them away fainting and fasting. That which makes this all the more intriguing when you think about it is that it would appear neither Jesus nor any of the disciples had enough money or resources to feed the multitude. Jesus would indeed heal all the sick which were among them and yet when it came to feeding the multitude it was quite possible they didn’t have the necessary funds and resources to feed it.

 

            If there is one thing I find absolutely incredible about this passage of Scripture it’s that Jesus was entirely and altogether unwilling to send the crowd and multitude away fasting and fainting and yet they might not have had the necessary resources to provide enough meat for the multitude. It’s actually quite interesting when reading the words found in this passage that when Jesus knew and understood He was going to feed the multitude He didn’t send His disciples with money into the closest town or village to buy food. There is a part of me that believes neither Jesus nor the disciples had enough money or resources to feed the multitude and yet Jesus knew He wanted to feed the multitude. At this particular time Jesus had already fed a multitude of five thousand men not including women and children with five loaves of bread and two fish without any money and now here was a second opportunity to feed the multitudes without using a single denarius or mite. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that this would now be the second the Lord Jesus would feed a multitude of thousands of people without spending a single cent to do so. On this particular occasion there would be four thousand men not including women and children and on the previous occasion there would be give thousand men not including women and children. On both occasions the Lord Jesus would feed the multitudes—and not only feed them but feed them to the full—without needing to spend a single cent to do so.

 

            The more I think about and consider this particular truth the more I am reminded of how the living God sustained and provided bread for the children of Israel of forty years while they wandered through the wilderness. For forty years the living and eternal God fed more than six hundred million of the children of Israel not including women and children with bread from heaven. There was a time when the Lord would send quail to provide for them meat, however, for those forty years the children of Israel would be fed with bread from heaven. That bread would continue to be sent unto and among them six days during the week with the instruction to gather on the sixth day enough to sustain them for the sixth and seventh days due to the sabbath. That bread from heaven would flow for forty years and would not cease until the day they entered into the land of Canaan and began partaking of the fruit of the land. This is something we must needs recognize and understand when thinking about these two miracles of the Lord Jesus for He would feed five thousand men not including women and children and four thousand men not including women and children without needing to spend a single cent to do so. How absolutely incredible it is to think about the fact that Jesus would feed these two multitudes on two separate occasions—and not only feed them but fill them to the full—without needing to spend a single cent to purchase food. What’s more is that not only did Jesus feed the multitude to the full but on both occasions there were baskets filled with the fragments of the miracle as a testimony to the miracle which had taken place among them. Much like the jar of manna which was present in the Ark of the Covenant as a testimony of the bread and provision in the wilderness so also would there be baskets full of the fragment of the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand and four thousand.

 

            I have to admit the more I think about and consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding these two miracles of the Lord Jesus. On both occasion Jesus would be moved with compassion for the multitude being entirely and altogether unwilling to send them away fasting and fainting.  Jesus would allow the crowds and multitudes to abide and remain with Him as long as they needed and He would heal their sick throughout the day without stopping or resting. On this second occasion the people were present together with Jesus for three days. What an incredible truth is found in this passage of Scripture when you think about and consider how the crowds and multitudes of people were healed by Jesus and yet they were all hungry and perhaps even tired and weary. Imagine being healed of the Lord Jesus and yet physically hungry, tired and weary within their physical bodies. Oh it was indeed true they were healed by the Lord Jesus and yet despite the fact they were healed by the Lord Jesus they would be hungry. Despite the fact they were healed by the Lord Jesus there would still be a very real present need within their physical bodies for food and sustenance. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it was and is indeed possible to be healed by the Lord Jesus and yet to still find yourself tired, hungry, weary and perhaps even in jeopardy of fainting. Jesus was unwilling to send the crowd away tired, hungry, weary, fasting and fainting and was willing to perform a miracle of blessing, breaking and multiplying the loaves of bread that the multitude might be fed and fed to the full.

 

            If there is one thing I can’t help but be incredibly astonished by when I read these words it’s how when Jesus was in the wilderness the devil and adversary came to Him tempting Him to turn physical stones into loaves of bread. Jesus had just fasted forty days and forty nights and was in the hot wilderness and the tempter would come unto Him tempting Him to turn stones into bread. It is truly astonishing to consider the fact that Jesus was unwilling to use His divine power to turn stones into bread to satisfy His own hunger and physical needs and yet when it came to the needs of others He would indeed use that power that those needs might be met. Jesus wouldn’t use his divine power to turn stones into bread to satisfy His own hunger but He would turn water into wine at a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee. Jesus wouldn’t turn stones into bread to satisfy His own hunger and yet He would bless, break and multiply loaves of bread and fish that He might feed a multitude of five thousand men not including women and children. Not only this but Jesus would not use His divine power to turn stones into bread to satisfy His own hunger in the wilderness and yet by the sea of Galilee He would bless, break and multiply loaves of bread and fish that a multitude of four thousand not including women and children might be bed. Pause for a moment and consider how absolutely incredible that truly is when you think of Jesus who was unwilling to send the crowd away fasting and fainting and purposed to feed them Himself. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and how He was entirely and altogether unwilling to allow the multitude to depart from his presence tired, hungry, fasting and fainting and would feed them Himself to ensure they would be fed and full.

 

            FED AND FULL VERSUS FASTING AND FAINTING! Oh how absolutely incredible it is to read the words found in this passage of Scripture and to see how the Lord Jesus was unwilling to send the crowd away fasting and fainting and would not only feed them but would feed them to the full. What’s more is I continue to be utterly amazed and captivated with the fact that the Lord Jesus would feed both of these crowds and multitudes without spending a single cent to do so. Jesus purposed within Himself to feed the crowd and the multitude and I would dare say that despite the fact that He was the Son of God and the Word made flesh neither He nor His disciples had enough funds or resources to be able to feed the multitudes. Stop for a moment and consider the fact that Jesus would heal the multitude first and once they were all healed He would then feed them. What’s more is that he would offer them healing and food without cost to them and without asking for a single thing from them. Of course know and understand that he desired their commitment, their trust, their devotion and their walking with and following Him but He would not ask for nor would He expect anything in return. Jesus would heal the sick which would come unto Him and He would feed them and would do so at no cost to the people themselves, and without spending a single cent to purchase food. In all reality this reminds me of the words which the prophet Isaiah prophesied during the days in which he proclaimed the word of the Lord. The words which we find in the fifty-fifth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book present us with an incredibly powerful picture of coming unto the presence of the living God and being able to eat and drink without any cost or spending anything. There is a strong and powerful invitation found within this passage of Scripture which I can’t help but consider as being that which was offered unto the multitudes and crowds which came unto Jesus during the days in which He walked upon the face of the earth. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the fifty-fifth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah beginning to read with and from the first verse:

 

            “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters. And he that hath no money; Come ye, buy, and eat; Yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your lavour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy one of Israel; for he hath glorifed thee. Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off” (Isaiah 55:1-13).

 

            As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the tremendous truth surrounding Jesus being entirely unwilling to send the crowds away early—and not only unwilling to send the crowds away early but also ask them to return and come back. It mattered not how large or great the crowd was and what the needs were in the midst of the crowd for the Lord Jesus would heal all those who were brought and came unto Him. What’s more is that Jesus was unwilling to let the crowds be healed and hungry and fast and faint as they departed from his presence. Jesus would offer to not only heal the multitudes of their sicknesses and diseases but He would also feed them without any cost associated to it. Jesus would not send the crowds away too early nor would He send the crowd away fasting and fainting. Jesus would indeed feed the crowds and would feed them to the full that they might leave his presence healed and satisfied. Pause for a moment and ask yourself when the last time was you were in the presence of the Lord Jesus and left his presence healed and satisfied. When was the last time you left the house of the Lord healed and filled to the full after being in the presence of the Lord Jesus. There is something truly astonishing and powerful about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of it when considering our own hearts and lives. There is a great need for us to recognize that the Lord Jesus can indeed not only heal our physical bodies but also provide for our physical needs and ensure that we are fed and full.

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