In Matthew 15 is one of the most incredible moments with our Savior and His people. It’s a mixture of our Savior, people and His disciples.
“Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down.” Matthew 15:29 NIV
Jesus is outside, He’s public, He’s available. Look at how people are drawn to Him. They just want to just be around Him, because of who He is and what He can do.
“Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet and he healed them.” Matthew 15:30 NIV
These people did not come by themselves, they brought someone with them. The word “laid” means they cast them down. No one is an outcast, even though these are Gentiles.
A Gentile refers to a person who is not a Jew. From the Jewish perspective in that time, Gentiles were often seen as pagans who did not know the true God. During Jesus’ time, many Jews took such pride in their cultural and religious heritage that they looked down on Gentiles.
Jesus did the miracle we are about to read about in a Jewish area with 5,000 men, not counting the women and children present. But in this account, Jesus is now doing for the outsiders.
Jesus is so at ease with it. He doesn’t mind being crowded in and all of these people at His feet. What does Jesus do? He healed them.
“The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.” Matthew 15:31 NIV
All of these hurting people came. Someone was there who could not speak and in the Lordship of Jesus, they started speaking. From the authority of Jesus, they were healed.
We find out later there are thousands and thousands there. People who were carried there or carted there were now walking and running. It could have been dozens of people who did not have use of their legs, who can now use them.
The blind are seeing. Blindness can be a symptom of other things, so maybe even another disease is being healed. Now, suddenly they are seeing.
Look how they responded. They were amazed and praised God. What an incredible scene on a mountainside. It could have ended there. Jesus healed people and they praised God. But it goes on.
“Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.’” Matthew 15:32
People were healed, restored, put back together again and free from challenges. Jesus had compassion on them because all of this healing had gone on for three days. As Jesus healed people and they worshipped God, then He gives the reason for His compassion.
It’s the nature of Jesus, He notices everything.
Not only do big things matter to Him, the small things matter.
Jesus notices that they are going to go away after three days and they are going to walk home, but could collapse. It’s so important that our Lord noticed that. He’s just leaning in and meeting needs.
Jesus says, “We’re not done yet.” Rock Brook, we’re not done yet. Thank God for SERVE Day and moments, but we’re not done yet. There are still hurting and lost people.
People in your life woke up this morning and looked at their life or maybe they looked at the news and they are afraid or even wondering why they are even on this planet? They see truth leaking from our culture and it’s leaving people struggling with pain and addiction and questioning their value. We are not done yet.
Jesus just couldn’t stand to leave people hungry. When you leave the presence of Jesus you feel fed. Have you ever noticed how Jesus was always filling things up?
He fills up the disciples boats with fish. He fills the barrels. His followers left the empty tomb filled with joy. The Apostle Paul calls it an overflowing grace.
God has called us to go out into an empty world and fill it up with hope.
“His disciples answered, ‘Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?’” Matthew 15:33 NIV
Notice how the disciples feel they have to remind Jesus that they are in a remote place. They can’t just drive over to Sam’s Club real quick, there’s no SERVE team is showing up with coolers.
“‘How many loaves do you have?’ Jesus asked. ‘Seven,’ they replied, ‘and a few small fish.’” Matthew 15:34 NIV
Do you see how they made what they had even smaller by calling them small fish? Sometimes we make what we have so small. We thing we could never make a difference. We don’t have anything to contribute. I only have this little bit of time or money.
“He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children.” Matthew 15:35-38 NIV
Jesus invites the disciples to cooperate in this by asking them to help distribute the food. He could of just made everyone full all at once, but that’s not how He decided to fill everyone. Instead Jesus took what the disciples had, took it out of their hands and took it in His hands. When He put it back in thier hands, they put it in the people’s hands.
That’s like our offerings. We take what’s in our hands, we give it to God and he blesses it. He hands it back and we are to relay it to the world. That’s how it works.
He’s the chef, we get to be the waiters. He’s in the kitchen getting it all ready. But we get to deliver. That’s what he let the disciples do. He lets them up close. He loves the individual, one person at a time.
That’s how he healed people too. He could have healed everyone in one word, but He interacted with each person. He could have made everyone feel full. Instead, He had the disciples pass this out, one person at a time.
He wanted the disciples to see that He values people. Jesus wants to put us on the front row of making a difference. Have you ever noticed how the front row is always so much more into it? You pay big money to be in the front row of a concert or a sporting event.
To get a premium view, you must pay a premium price.
So often, we pay a cheap seat price for a premium view. Maybe in marriage or with your kids. Maybe in your workplace or in the things around you. Ask God to help you be willing to pay a premium price because you want a front row seat for what He is doing.
If you have experienced the front row, then you have been ruined on going back to the cheap seats.
When you say yes to a front row seat with Jesus. You’ll never want to go back to compromise or convenience.
God will ruin you with his grace. When He uses you to touch a person’s life, when He uses you to serve. You can’t go back to sitting idle. You want the front row seat.
Get yourself to the front row of what God’s doing. When you’re willing and you say yes to a front row seat, you’ll never want to go back.
There’s something you possess that can bless someone else.
There is something about you that can lift someone else. It could be your time, your talent or your treasure. Something you posses can bless someone else when you put something you have in circulation. God wants to move us to the front row to bless someone else.
Does SERVE Day make a difference in someone’s life? Does serving in a church make a difference? Consider where you would be with out people pouring in to you. Giving what they have and investing it into your life. Think back to your small group leaders, children’s church teachers or the people who brought me to Jesus. Where would you be without those people?
Our church is built around five purposes that we get to fulfill in our life. This is what we get to be a part of.
It Is the Dream…
It is the dream of a place where the hurting, the depressed, the frustrated, and the confused can find love, acceptance, help, hope, forgiveness, guidance, and encouragement.
It is the dream of a group of people who gather together with eagerness, passion and enthusiasm to worship, treasure and lift up the name of Jesus Christ.
It is the dream of welcoming people into the fellowship of our church family. A church family so full of the spirit of Christ that you can tangibly feel the sense of grace and second chance when you are around them. A church family that is loving, learning, laughing, and living in harmony together.
It is the dream of a freedom so rooted in Christ that it produces the fruit of spiritual maturity. A desire to lead one another to the truth of God’s word. A love for the word of God and radical generosity as we give of ourselves in response to the word.
It is the dream of equipping every believer for a significant ministry by helping them discover the gifts and talents God gave them. Anyone can make a difference, no matter how unqualified they feel, or how broken their past.
It is the dream of a church so passionate for the lost, like a parent who’s lost a child, nothing will stop them nor stand against them as they share the Good News of Jesus Christ with their neighbors, their nation and their world.
It is the dream of Rock Brook Church to be unified around these purposes of God.
Check back on your discussion from last week. Any more thoughts or conclusions on the message about how God tests your faith?
Hear the Word
Read: Matthew 15
In Matthew 15 we see Jesus using the disciples to meet the physical need in the crowd. “Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.”
Jesus could have met their hunger any number of ways, but he decides to use the disciples to serve the people in the crowd, one person at a time.
- Have you ever had a front row or VIP experience somewhere?
- How has that experience changed your perspective of that environment?
- Where and when do you feel like you’re cooperating with God the most? In other words, where and when do you feel you’re making the biggest difference for the kingdom of God?
- What inhibits you to serve? (Time? Energy? Feeling worthy?)
- Which part of the Rock Brook Dream excites you most?
Tell Someone Else
Who can you encourage to take a next step in their faith? Who can you encourage to start serving?