MATTHEW 14.13-21; 32-39
 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.  Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”  But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”  They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.”  And he said, “Bring them here to me.”  Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.  And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.  And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
 And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret.  And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick  and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.
Whenever we focus on the power of God it can lead us to feeling very distant from Him. We look at His power and we feel incredibly weak in comparison. We dwell on His holiness and feel evil. We spend time in the Word and His wisdom offends us and makes Him seem so incredibly different than us. All of this is because He is. God is infinitely greater than us in every way and this makes us feel … separated. But God did not stay far away from us. He did not use our brokenness as a reason to stay far from us. He came to us. In Jesus we get a picture of God’s compassion. He cares enough to work to overcome our shortcomings; we see Him do this here through feeding and healing. What we need to see here is that those who Jesus had compassion on were satisfied: as many as touched it were made well. We don’t have to be worried about whether or not He will be enough; we should spend our time being amazed that He cares.
KEY VERSEWhen he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 14
QUESTIONS1. What part of the text or sermon had the greatest impact on you? Where were you most encouraged, intrigued, challenged?2. How does Jesus show the compassion of God in these miracles?3. The disciples wanted to send the people home. Why was Jesus so intent on them staying? How does this show the difference in purpose between the disciples and Jesus?4. Read John 6.24-40. What does Jesus express as the purpose of this sign? If Jesus purpose was to make a statement, does this negate His compassion?
5. What are the things about God that make Him feel distant from you? How does His mercy bridge this gap?