Now when Jesus heard this, He withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by Himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed Him on foot from the towns. When He went ashore He saw a great crowd, and He had compassion on them and healed their sick. (Matthew 14:13-14)
There is a cost to freedom, and sometimes we aren't the ones who pay it. We are used to thinking of Jesus as the only sufferer in the story of His Passion—and obviously He is the main person, the One we should love and honor and glorify.
But others paid a price, too, and Jesus knew that would happen—and it grieved Him. In this case it was His cousin, John the Baptist. God sent John to prepare the way for Jesus, and John did this with all his heart—preaching, teaching, and baptizing, always pointing the people to Jesus, who was coming.
But then King Herod got angry with John for criticizing him, and he threw him in jail. That was hard on John, and probably hard on Jesus as well, especially after John appeared to be having second thoughts about Him (Matthew 11). And then came the final blow, when Herod had John killed. "Now when Jesus heard this, He withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by Himself." He wanted to be alone to grieve.
But the crowds wouldn't even let Him do that. People followed Him, their minds on their own troubles, and Jesus would not turn them away. He healed them and taught them. This is how much He loved them, and how much He loves us—that He is willing to pay the price of grief so that we could be rescued from the power of evil. And even more than that, He is willing to put His own human needs aside to care for us.
He loves you with this same love even today. He is aware of your needs. As Paul puts it, "Christ Jesus is the One who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (Romans 8:34-35)
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank You for laying aside Your own needs to meet ours. Amen.
* When you are grieving, what do you do to feel better?
* When do you have to put aside your own needs to care for someone else?
* How does it make you feel, to realize Jesus would do this for you?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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