It’s far from the most popular phrase that Jesus ever spoke. It never shows up in any of the movies. We don’t repeat it today. In fact, even if you’ve spent your whole life in a really good church, there’s a chance that you’ve missed this phrase.
Jesus was getting away. His confrontations with the religious elites had been intense and, no doubt, draining. On top of that, someone had just told him about the death of John the Baptist. So Jesus got in a boat to get away from the noise. But something was waiting for him on the other side of his getaway. Another crowd.
Imagine how you would feel if you went on vacation and when you showed up to your condo on the first day all of the people at work were waiting on you. Jesus didn’t feel that way. Rather than turning back around or telling the people to go away or calling down fire from heaven, the Bible says that Jesus “had compassion on them and healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14).
At some point, Jesus’ disciples decided that there had been enough compassion for one day.
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.” Matthew 14:15 (ESV)
The disciples were clear. They were ready for the people to move along and start taking care of themselves. Jesus wasn’t.
But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” Matthew 14:16 (ESV)
Jesus was asking his disciples to do the impossible. Buying food for this many people would cost well over half of a laborer’s yearly salary. And no one happened to have that kind of food packed away in a bag. The best the disciples could come up with was a few fish and some bread. That’s when Jesus spoke the phrase that all of us need to hear but few of us have ever noticed.
And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Matthew 14:18 (ESV)
Not, “That’s it?!”
Not, “Oh, you of little faith.”
Just that one simple command. Bring them here to me.
Jesus knew what he was doing. He wasn’t chewing his finger nails and giving himself a stomach ulcer along with the disciples as they tried to figure out what to do with the crowd. Instead, he was intentionally putting them in a situation where all of their resources had run out. There was nothing that they could do. They couldn’t send the crowd home. They couldn’t afford to buy food for everyone there. And they couldn’t just make food appear out of nowhere.
But Jesus could. And he did. Over ten thousand people were fed that day. And the plotting, planning and administrating of the disciples had absolutely nothing to do with it. It was all the result of the God who remained God when the disciples had come to the end of their rope.
Sometimes the best place we can be is in the place where all of our talent, resources and knowledge has run out. It’s in that place where we really begin to understand the lordship of Jesus Christ over all things.
He is Lord over the hurts the people brought to him that day.
He is Lord over the worries that you have today.
He is Lord over the seemingly impossible.
And he looks at the handfuls of nothing you have to offer him and says, “Bring them here to me.” Instead of allowing your worries to consume you, bring them to Jesus.
Parenting is difficult and overwhelming. Bring your inadequacies and failures to Jesus and trust him with the results.
The temptation you face is much more than you can handle on your own. Bring your compromises and sins to Jesus.
Fears about what will happen tomorrow have a way of keeping you up at night. Bring those fears to Jesus, trusting that the same God who has been Lord for all eternity will still be Lord over your tomorrow.
You might find yourself in a tight spot today. And the miracle required to get you out of it may never come in this life. But remember, Christian, that Jesus is with you. And he has one simple command for what you should do with your insufficient funds.
“Bring them here to me.”