8 February 2021
Title: What Do You See?
Ong Hwee Soo
This passage is significant as the event narrated here has the distinction of being the only miracle recorded in all the four Gospels (Matthew 14:13-21, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:1-15). The narrative begins with the Twelve Apostles reporting to Jesus on their recent successful mission (v 30). As a good mentor, Jesus knew they needed rest after the intensive ministry expedition on which He had sent them (6:7-13) and the continuing press of the people, so He planned a desert retreat for them (v. 31). But, as Jesus took them away for a private time together, a throng of five thousand men, plus women and children, followed them in hot pursuit (Matthew 14:21).
What happened next is also significant indeed: “…he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. ” The original Greek word, ‘eido’ translates ‘see’ (past tense: ‘saw’), meaning ‘to perceive with the eyes’, implying ‘to observe, to pay attention and to ascertain what must be done’. The root word for ‘compassion’ is the Greek ‘splagchizomai’ which means ‘to be moved with love in the deepest part of a person’.
As much as Jesus needed to spend time with His shepherds-in-training, He could not neglect the thousands of lost sheep who urgently needed Him now. Hence, Jesus postponed His plans for a quiet, restful retreat with His disciples in order to teach as well as to heal the people (Matt.14:14, Luke 9:11). Jesus perceived that they were hungry for the Word of God but they had no faithful spiritual shepherds to guide them with godly knowledge, and that they needed physical healing as well.
As it turned out, Jesus’ teaching and healing ministry continued late into the evening. Being at a remote place, He told His disciples, “You give them something to eat” (v 37). Andrew, the resourceful disciple reported that “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” (John 6:7-9).
The barley loaves in those days were round bread about five inches in diameter and about an inch thick (somewhat like our local roti canai), whereas the fish was the small anchovy-sized type, meal enough only for a growing boy. Jesus took the little lad’s lunch, blessed it (v 41) and providentially proliferated it to feed the populace.
As I have quoted Pastor Bill Wilson (PhD) in both my Devotionals last month, let me now relate his real-life story. He is the Founder and Senior Pastor of MetroWorld Child, headquartered in New York (NY), which now has children’s ministries in twelve countries, including Malaysia. Here is how it all began:
When Bill was twelve years old, his alcoholic mother left him at a street corner in NY City and told him to wait there. She never came back. For three days, he remained there, without food and water, looking at hundreds of people walking or driving past him. At long last, a Christian man who was on his way to hospital to visit his son who was dying of leukaemia, saw him, stopped his car and walked across the road to where he was. The man put an arm round his shoulder and asked, “Are you okay?”. Bill, who was a stutterer as a kid, answered with difficulty that his mother left him there, hadn’t come back and that he was hungry. The kind man immediately bought him food and drink, and began making many telephone calls. After five hours, the man who was an ordinary church member, loaded him onto a church van and sponsored him to a church camp. That night, Bill who heard the Gospel for the very first time gave his whole life to Christ.
Jesus deferred His much-needed refreshing retreat and debriefing with His disciples because He saw with compassion the spiritual and physical needs of the multitude. The Christian man detoured from his hospital visit because he perceived the need of a boy looking forlorn, alone in an unsafe section of the city, although he himself was undergoing personal struggles, caring for a terminally ill son.
Jesus miraculously multiplied the meagre meal of a boy to abundantly nourish a hungry hoard, resulting in twelve baskets of leftovers of both bread and fish (v 43). The kind deed of a church member who was neither a pastor, preacher, elder nor deacon transformed the life of a child who would later as an adult, launch a worldwide ministry because that impactful act ignited in the boy a passion and compassion for children in need. The little lunch the Christian man provided for an abandoned boy has burgeoned many times over. For instance, Pastor Bill through his ministry, procured food for 5112 migrant kids all over NY City on Thanksgiving Day, 2020, replicating Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand, as it were.
What do you see in the midst of your schedules that could spark a compassion to help others? Is there someone for whom you should put aside your current plan, and reach out to in love today?
To quote Bill Wilson once more, “Big Doors Open On Small Hinges.”
Let’s Live the Life, Looking with Eyes of Compassion.
Lord Jesus, helps us to see with Your eyes, for You have called us to be good neighbours to those in need. May we do so readily, even if it interrupts our plans or schedules. Amen.
接下来发生的事情也具重大意义：“…他见有许多的人，就怜悯他们，因为他们如同羊没有牧人一般。于是开口教训他们很多道理。” 希腊语原文 “Eido” 译作 “看见see” (过去时态：“看见saw”)，意思是 “用眼睛感知”，含有 “观察、注意和确定必须做什么” 之意。“怜悯” 的词根是希腊语 “splagchizomai”，意思是 “一个人内心的最深处被爱感动”。
我既于上个月在两篇灵修中都引用了比尔·威尔逊牧师(Pastor Bill Wilson，博士)的话，现在让我讲述他的真实故事。他是 “大都会国际儿童事工”（MetroWorld Child）的创始人和主任牧师，总部设在纽约(NY)，目前在包括马来西亚在内的12个国家设有儿童部。这一切是如此开始的：