John Chrysostom: Benevolent and Provident One

Home » Meditations » Meditations » John Chrysostom: Benevolent and Provident One

Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then He went up on a mountainside and sat down. Great crowds came to Him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and He healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel. Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” Matthew 15:29-32

“Observe in this instance, that He does not proceed immediately to the miracle but calls them out even into the desert. The multitudes who had come for healing were not even daring to ask for food. But He is here seen to be the Benevolent and Provident One who gives even to those that do not ask. He said to His disciples, “I have compassion and will not send them away hungry.” And lest someone might say that they came having provisions for the way, He noted, “They have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat, so that even if some came with provision, it has by now been consumed.” Therefore, Jesus did not do this on the first or second day but only when everything had been entirely consumed, in order that by having first been in need, they might more eagerly receive the miracle of food.”

John Chrysostom in The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 53.1 in Matthew 14-28, volume 1b, edited by Manlio Simonetti (ACCS; Downers Grove: IVP, 2001) 35.

For 4,000 days today, God has been leading me into the desert to teach me things. I never dreamed I’d share these lessons with a multitude of readers. Thanks for joining me on the journey.

Let us observe with Chrysostom, that Jesus takes us into the desert and waits until we have expended all our resources and have great need, then, because He is the Benevolent and Provident One, He supplies.

If there is one lesson I have learned about generosity that comes into view in this miracle, it is this. God wants us to trust Him and our only right response is to follow. We figure it out as we live it out.

His plan with the people was to minister to their brokenness and lead them to a place of “oh no what are we going to do” only to provide an abundance. Faith leads us to a place of total dependence.

So, wherever you are today, remember, Jesus sees your situation. He knows what you need. Just follow Him. Sit at His feet. He is just writing the story of the next miracle He is going to do for you.

And if He seems silent in the desert. Rest assured, you are not forgotten. For when the Benevolent and Provident One acts. You will partake and be satisfied and there will be enough for everyone.

In that moment, enjoy and share all He richly provides and praise the God of Israel so others might come to know Him.