“Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over” (Matthew 15:36-37).

One point that forever separates Jesus Christ from other men, even the most tender-hearted and compassionate, stands out in this miracle. It can be said of Christ alone that His resources were equal to His compassion. Our compassion outruns our resources. We are so often utterly helpless we might as well have no senses at all. What would we do, if we could. We would lift up the sick and the weary and make them well in a moment if it was within our power to do so. We would take up the languishing and the death-stricken and make them glad in the summer light and cause them to laugh with new energy because of new earthly hopes. We would cover up the grave, filling it with flowers, and smooth down the green face of the earth, so that it would be a shame to rip it up again for the purpose of hiding away the life of man. But though this would be the expression of our ignorant compassion, we are left without resources.

Jesus Christ always startled His disciples by the completeness of His proposals. “You give them something to eat,” He said, and the disciples immediately answered “How?” “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) — the same completeness, the same compassion, the same determination to meet the necessity of the whole case. Truly, from a human point of view there is as little apparently in the one case as in the other. What is there in the gospel to preach to every creature? What is there of sufficiency to meet the needs of the human family in all lands at all times? Yet it grows as it is spoken. This message never ends: It halts for a moment to accommodate the weakness of the speaker, but it waits for him; it makes the air throb and burn till he returns to his work, never expressed in final speech. Such is the eternal sufficiency of the gospel to meet every need.

Adapted from In His Presence