This is the audio from the October 30, 2022 sermon, “Loving the Helpless: Provide HELP!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Deer Run Church of Christ.
Text: Matthew 9:36; 14:13-21
While it never appears that Jesus pursued popularity and the crowds, at least early in His ministry it seems that the crowds would gather around Him wherever He went. The most common reaction of Jesus to the crowds was one of compassion. He saw them as “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”. As we continue our sermon series examining how Jesus loved people so we can love like Jesus, today we look at the feeding of the five thousand to see how Jesus loved those He saw as helpless. As is common in these encounters Jesus had with people, He not only knew what they needed but He also was able to provide it. In this case, if you love the helpless then you become more like Jesus when you provide . . .
- Hope. Matthew 14:13-14
- Even in the midst of His own grief and sorrow, Jesus would look into the eyes of the helpless and find ways to provide hope. People sought out Jesus because He was unlike anyone they had ever known and could do what no one else had ever done. We love the helpless like Jesus does when we choose to provide hope in the midst of the struggles and hopelessness of life.
- Eats. Matthew 14:15-16
- At a time when doing so seemed impossible to those around Him, Jesus looked at the crowd around Him and decided to provide the food that they needed. While providing “eats” seems to be the central part of the story, it really is just a supporting part in the bigger picture. The “eats” we provide others will vary from person to person and situation to situation. Sometimes it will be actual food and sometimes it will be something more substantial, but when we love like Jesus we will provide eats that meet the need of the moment.
- Lessons. Matthew 14:17-19
- While Matthew’s account doesn’t specifically say so, the other gospel writers refer to Jesus teaching the crowds even as He healed their sick. Jesus was not one to waste a single opportunity to help people learn what it meant to be a follower of His. Perhaps one of the greatest lessons taught in this story is the lesson taught to the disciples as He gave instructions to do an impossible task. We would do well to learn and accept the truth of God’s Word when He says that with Him all things are possible. We love people like Jesus loves people when we seem them in their need and provide lessons that are useful.
- Plenty. Matthew 14:20-21
- One of the most known verses in the Bible speaks of God’s nature of generosity when it says that “God so loved the world that He gave”. When Jesus saw the crowds and understood their need, He didn’t simply provide enough to get by for now . . . He provided plenty. I always suspect that the twelve baskets full of leftover was intentionally designed so that each disciple had a basket of their own to serve as a reminder of the generous nature of God in meeting a need. We love people like Jesus loves people when we choose to provide plenty in response to their need.
Today, how will you provide HELP to those who are helpless?