Hearts of Compassion Like Jesus

Published 11:44 pm Saturday, April 13, 2024


By Brandon Baggett

One of the most famous miracles Jesus ever performed was the incredible occasion when he fed a hungry multitude with five loaves and two small fish. We often think of this memorable story as the time when Jesus fed 5,000, but that number isn’t entirely accurate.

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According to Matthew’s account, there were “crowds” of people present on this occasion (see Matthew 14:13, 14, 15, 19), and the number of people “who ate were about five thousand men, beside women and children” (Matthew 14:21). At least 5,000 men ate that day, but there were also many unnumbered women and children who ate as well. Some estimate the actual number could be as high as 20,000 people! On top of that, Jesus used a small boy’s lunch to feed this massive crowd (see John 6:9), and there were “twelve baskets full of broken pieces left over” (Matthew 14:20). This was truly an incredible miracle!

As incredible as this miracle was, though, I think I am most impressed by the emotional response Jesus felt when he saw the crowds. Even though Jesus and his disciples had just traveled by boat to escape crowds, they arrived at shore to find a colossal crowd waiting on them. Yet Jesus looked past his own needs and saw a group of hungry and hurting people. The text says, “He had compassion on them” (Matthew 14:14). Jesus looked on them with sympathy, healed all who were sick among them, and fed them with plenty of food as the day turned late. Yes, Jesus performed an incredible miracle, but his actions flowed from a heart of love and compassion. Jesus reminds us to think beyond ourselves, consider the needs and feelings of others, and put on “compassionate hearts” (Colossians 3:12).

Brandon Baggett is the preaching minister at the Luverne church of Christ. He may be reached at wbb.preacher@gmail.com.