When Christ walked this earth with our eternity resting on His shoulders, He didn’t fail to address people’s present desires. Even with the magnitude of His goal always before Him, He never failed to fulfill the needs of those that He met. These encounters, which might have seemed chance or diversions, were nothing of the sort. Christ fulfilled His purpose and glorified God in all things that He did. He often gave what was needed in the short term but galvanized in His followers a desire for lasting nourishment.
In Matthew 14:13, Christ provided physical sustenance to the people: “But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat’” (Matthew 14:13-16). Christ went on to perform a miracle and to feed five thousand hungry people.
Many of those following Christ left Him when He began feeding them the meat of the Word. “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you’… From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:53,66).
Sojourning through Samaria in order to reach Galilee, Christ came upon a Samaritan woman drawing water and asked for some. “Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, ‘How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?’ For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, “Give Me a drink,” you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water’… And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world’” (John 4:9-10,39-42).
What might have seemed a chance confrontation led to many more being called into an understanding of who Christ really was. The difference of their conversions was a desire for everlasting food, not just temporary sustenance.
Through meeting people’s physical and spiritual needs, Christ always focused on the fulfillment of God’s Will. We must have the same focus, no matter the results of our efforts. Many walked away from the Truth that Christ presented, and many will scorn the Christ-like examples we set in this world. Take hold of your responsibility to be ambassadors of this Truth because God’s Will is going to succeed!