Proverbs 5:7 appeared in my reading today:
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding. (NIV)
Coincidence? or Providence? … in light of yesterday’s post about why anyone would sell all they have to buy the Kingdom of God.
However, another part of today’s reading had a bigger impact on me.
Jesus has just learned that John the Baptist – his first cousin – has been beheaded by Herod:
When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:13-14 NIV
I’ll be honest. When I read the Bible, some people seem more real to me than others. I can imagine me being in their situations.
But sometimes Jesus just doesn’t seem so real to me. I can’t relate to him. I want to, but I don’t.
However, when Jesus learns that his beloved second cousin had died, beheaded by Herod, I sense his grief. He wants to get away. He wants to cry and pray and process the pain. Maybe I am wrong, but if that’s the case, Jesus feels very real to me in this situation. I relate.
Then Jesus does something I need to do more often. Even though he wants to retreat and deal with his loss in private, when he sees the crowds, he once more has compassion on them (see my blog post on that topic).
The needs of the crowd move him to set aside his own need to be alone with his Father, God. He forgets himself, temporarily puts John out of his mind, and goes about healing, and, later, feeding the crowds – all the while ministering to them spiritually.
So, he who was tempted in all ways, yet without sin, knows what it’s like to grieve, to need time alone, to feel the pain of loss.
And he knows how to get up and serve others despite his desire to go away, be alone, and deal with his own pain.
That means he can help me do so, too.
Readings: Genesis 41:1-42:38, Psalm 10:12-18, Proverbs 4:7-9, Matthew 14:1-21. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts.