Sunday Sermon: ‘Finding Someone Who Cares’

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Many years ago there was an evangelist who spent much time away from home sharing the Gospel. One day he returned to find a note from his wife that she had left him and taken their small daughter. One author described him – “becoming so despondent during the next several years that there were even times when he contemplated suicide. There was the terrible despair that no one really cared for him anymore.” After some time he began to get involved again in serving the Lord and as his spirits began to lift, he wrote a song entitled, ‘No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus.’

I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus,
Since I found in Him a friend so strong and true.
I would tell you how He changed my life completely;
He did something no other friend could do.

No one ever cared for me like Jesus;
There’s no other friend so kind as He.
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me;
O how much He cared for me.

No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus
Lyrics and Composer: Charles Frederick Weigle, 1932

We read in Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

This morning’s message is entitled – ‘Finding Someone Who Cares’. One of favorite passages of scripture in all the Bible is Matthew 14. It records the events of one day in the life of Jesus and His disciples.

Matthew 14:14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

‘Compassion’ is a word often associated with the Lord Jesus. Even those who do not know Jesus as Savior, recognize that Jesus was someone who was full of compassion for those in need. What does the word ‘compassion’ mean? To be compassionate is to have a – {deep, inward feeling of pity towards someone in need with a desire to show them mercy.} It is to look upon the needs of others and to be deeply touched; so much so that we are motivated to do something to help. The passage before us this morning says that when Jesus saw a great multitude of needy people, perhaps as many 10,000 or more, He was moved with compassion towards them.

There are several ways we can see the compassion of Jesus in this passage.

I. Compassion to Heal Those Who Were Hurting

Every time I read of the Savior’s healing ministry, I think of how tiring and draining it must have been upon Him. The Bible says that when the woman secretly touched the hem of His garment in order to be healed with an issue of blood, the Savior felt virtue going out of Him. The word used here indicates the power that Jesus possessed that enabled Him to perform miracles. Jesus felt healing power leave out of Him. Now multiply that by hundreds, if not thousands of requests and you can imagine how exhausting it must have been for Him as He often went from daylight to dark, healing those who were sick. Yet Jesus gave of Himself tirelessly. Why? Because He is full of compassion towards those who are hurting.

II. Compassion to Feed Those Who Were Hungry

Matthew 14:15 And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, [barren place], and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.

16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. 17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. 18 He said, Bring them hither to me. 19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. 21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

I made mention of this last Wednesday night, but it is so important, let me say it again – Jesus did not heal just the chosen few. He did not form two lines, one for those who would follow Him and one for those who wouldn’t. Jesus fed the multitudes.

Obviously He knew that if all someone was wanting was physical food, they would be missing the greatest meal anyone could ever have. The meal that Jesus came to offer was salvation and the physical food He provided was a symbol of that great spiritual feast. The prophet Isaiah says –

Isaiah 55:1 “Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink — even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk — it’s all free! 2 Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen, and I will tell you where to get food that is good for the soul! 3 “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake. (NLT)

A multitude ate of the meal Jesus provided that day, yet many of them never tasted the real feast He had to offer. Jesus said on another occasion – ‘What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?’ (Mk 8:36) Jesus is the bread of life. He is the living water. And He invites us to come and dine.

May I ask you a question? Are you searching for something and you don’t know what it is? Is there a hunger in your soul that you cannot satisfy? So many try to satisfy that hunger with alcohol, drugs, relationships, and immorality. Years ago there was a song that said, “Only Jesus can satisfy your soul. Only He can change your heart and make you whole. He’ll give you peace never knew, sweet love and joy and heaven too. For only Jesus can satisfy your soul.”

God’s invitation is – ‘Come, those who are hungry and thirsty. Come, those who have no money or means to buy. Come, those who have labored for that which doesn’t bring satisfaction. Come and eat that which is good. Come and let your soul delight itself in the goodness of the Lord.  Come!

When you understand the heart of Jesus, you understand why He was so willing to reach out to the multitudes. He came to die for their sins and to offer to them eternal life. If Jesus was in our midst today, I believe that He would stand before us and extend His hands out and say, ‘Come and let me meet your every need.’

III. Compassion to Comfort Those Who Are Grieving

To fully appreciate what was happening that day, we have to go back a bit and look at the setting.

Matthew 14:1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, 2 And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. 3 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife.

For those of you who know the story, you know that Herod had taken his brother’s wife to become his own. John the Baptist had spoken out and condemned their sin. On Herod’s birthday, he asked the daughter of Herodias to dance for him at a banquet. Afterward, in a moment of foolishness and passion, Herod promised to give her anything she asked for. To his surprise, she asked for the head of John the Baptist to be delivered on a platter.

Matthew 14:10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. 11 And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother. 12 And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.

13 When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart:

Jesus had deep feelings for John. John, you may remember. was a cousin to Jesus. But even more so, John was a faithful follower of Jesus. Of him the Lord said, ‘Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.’ (Mt. 11:11) The tragic of death of John that had been brought about because of his willingness to stand for righteousness, touched Jesus very deeply. But there’s something else here as well.

In Luke’s gospel we discover that the desert place spoken of here was called Bethsaida. Bethsaida was a small fishing village located on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and it was the home of Philip, Andrew and Simon Peter. It is possible that James and his brother John were from there as well. When the tragic news of John’s death reached Jesus and His disciples, the Lord took them back home and to a place where they could find comfort. Jesus has compassion to heal those who are hurting and compassion to feed those who are hungry and the compassion to comfort those who are in sorrow. What a great Savior Jesus is!

IV. Compassion to Encourage Those Who Are Afraid

Matthew 14:22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come , he was there alone. 24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

The first thing we should note is that Christ sent them into the storm. I remember many years ago a fellow believer talking about this passage and in his comments he suggested that if perhaps the disciples had stayed where it was safe on the shore, they wouldn’t have had to deal with the storm. Yet according to what we have just read, Christ ‘constrained’ them to get into the ship and to go before Him unto the other side. The word used here implies that leaving without Christ was not the disciples’ idea, but something Jesus forced them to do. Perhaps there was even a bit of debate between Jesus and the disciples because they couldn’t understand why He would have to them to do this. ‘How will you get to the other side?’ they might have asked. Nevertheless, Jesus deliberately sent them into the coming storm. Did they know a storm was coming? I’m sure that the disciples didn’t; but Jesus did, for the next thing we read is that while the disciples are making their way out into the sea, Jesus is making His way up the mountain to pray.

We are told that Jesus came to them in the fourth watch of the night. Men of that day often divided the night into four segments: 6 pm till 9 pm, 9 pm till midnight, midnight till 3 am and 3 am till 6 am. It was sometime between 3 am and 6 am when Jesus came to His disciples. That means that the disciples had spent hours wrestling with the storm. Perhaps from His viewpoint, high upon the mountain, Jesus could see the flashing of lightening as it started way off in the distance. He could hear the rumble of thunder as it drew closer. He saw the storm sweeping towards the disciples and no doubt He heard their cries as it began to seem as though they would be destroyed. Yet through all of this, Jesus was praying. The Bible teaches us that because Jesus walked upon this earth for over 3o years, He understands all the pains and sorrows of humanity. The Bible also tells us that He is now praying for us in heaven.

The next important detail of this passage is that Christ came to them, walking on the water. “Impossible!” some might say, yet there is nothing created that the Creator cannot control. Storms don’t stop Jesus. To Him, the waves of the storm was little more than dry land.

When the disciples saw Jesus, they thought that He was a ghost. What would you think if you saw someone walking on the water in the midst of a terrible storm? Yet Jesus said to them, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” Not – “I can’t believe that you are letting this little storm bother you”, but, “Take heart, don’t be afraid, I am here with you.”

V. Compassion to Rescue Those Who Are Failing

Matthew 14:28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 29 And he said, Come . And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. 33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

Peter asked Jesus, ‘Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.’ Peter was saying, ‘If You really are the Lord; if You really have the power to walk on water; enable me as Thy servant to walk on the water as well.’ Without a moment of hesitation Jesus said, ‘Come.’ With that simple command, Peter was able to do the impossible. He was able to walk on water.

But then Peter began to sink. Why? According to Christ, he doubted. The word Jesus used means that Peter allowed his attention to be taken away from Christ and to be placed on the troubled seas. Peter was like the man James speaks of – ‘he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.’ (James 1:6, 8)

Many chide Peter for doubting, yet Peter knew what to do and where to turn when he was in trouble. ‘Lord, save me.’ ‘And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him …’ Though Peter’s doubting displeased the Lord, Jesus had compassion for His fearful disciple and immediately He caught Peter and rescued him.

Conclusion

Matthew 14 closes with these great words –

Matthew 14:34 And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; 36 And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.

As many as touched the hem of His garment were made perfectly whole. Thank God for someone who cares.

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