In Matthew chapter 14 Jesus learns that John the Baptist, the one who had known his purpose, even in the womb — had been viciously murdered. John and Jesus shared a special connection — they were purposed and were purposeful.
Jesus responded to this news by climbing into a boat and heading off to a place to be alone, but when the word spread that he might be within reach, he was followed by people in the nearby villages. Jesus could see them gathering and walking along the lakeshore and he was overcome with compassion. In all his grief — in his probable state of frustration and anger — Jesus still chose to give way to compassion, to engage and to heal crowds.
John’s senseless death only served to propel him forward.
Jesus so emptied himself of fear, hatred, and rage — he so surrendered — that the force of love yielded miraculous results.
That kind of infused love that changes everything.
He healed the sick and miraculously fed the 5000 men, women, and children that had gathered near the shore.
After Jesus dismissed the crowds, he sent his disciples off in the boat and climbed up the mountainside to be alone and pray. When he came down, just before dawn, the boat was a good distance away from shore in rough waves. Defying nature, Jesus walked on water to reach the boat.
All this… just after the loss of John. The event could have shut him down.
He could have given up or given way, but the circumstances only proved to strengthen him. He hadn’t traded his faith for fear or unbelief.
What was it like that day as he took to the water?
Was there a gentle breeze that touched his face?
He was able to empty himself, listen, and receive the sustenance he needed to survive not only his own grief, but to pour out unfathomable love.
That’s the kind of pure love I want — the kind that banishes all that I could — and maybe should — feel.
The kind that overcomes my rights, my propensities, and my self consciousness.
The kind that defies nature and encourages miracles.
help me see past my feeble eyes.
thank you, God…
to know all you knew — and still press in — whoa.
Photo by House and Garden