Sermon preached on 2019-10-20 by Rev. Sarah Harrison-McQueen. Worship series, "Imagine." Sermon, "God’s World Transformed." Matthew 14:13-21.
The sermon text begins on a sad note. Jesus has just been told that his cousin, John the Baptist, has been killed. (Matthew 13:1-12) Moreover, his body has been desecrated: his head being placed on a platter and brought to Salome. Jesus withdraws “to a deserted place by himself” (verse 13), but upon seeing the crowds who needed him, he emerged because “he had compassion for them” and went to cure their sick (verse 14).
Jesus surely felt profound grief over John’s fate, but upon seeing the crowds, his sense of mission prevailed. The crowds needed him. The text says that “he had compassion for them” (verse 14). The Greek word translated as “compassion” refers to a sense of profound emotion. Jesus’ compassion for the crowds seeking his healing eclipsed his personal grief.
Can you relate to Jesus’ desire for solitude in the midst of his grief? Who surrounded you during that time? How have you experienced this type of compassion from another person? From God? Have you been moved with compassion for others that causes you to act?
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