A thought as we move in the Season of Lent. A writer on the way of John Wesley (Richard Heitzenrater) notes that Wesley’s renewal groups of 5 to 10 persons would begin each meeting with four questions:
What known sins have you committed since our last meeting? What temptations have you met with? How were you delivered for the temptations? What have you thought, said, or done, of which you doubt whether it be sin or not?
In other words, they began, on Saint Paul’s words to “imitate Christ Jesus” accepting that the way of Christ Jesus life is a struggle against temptations provided by the brokenness of the world we have created because of sin, and there is a need for examination, confession, and the deliverance from temptation.
We have this tradition of applying scripture verses to issues and concerns that are vibrant in our culture and society . . . like looking for magical formulae in the scriptures for everything from ingrown toe nails to the current pandemic, forgetting that the contemporary world of our making is not Matthew’s world. Consider, then, that Matthew’s testimony of the miraculous feeding of the multitude is not a discourse on world hunger. Nor is this testimony a call for more earnest sensitivity to the needs of others.
Matthew’s people (14:13-21) testified to that which they have come to understand and believe about Jesus and what Jesus says and does. It’s all about Jesus, period. And yet it’s also fair to note that what Jesus says and does, He chooses to say to disciples like us and to do through us. He asks, “What do you have?” Perhaps that move is the most miraculous aspect of these verses full of miracles.