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When Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers, he does not abuse his power and authority over them or take revenge by throwing them into slavery. On the contrary, he shed tears of compassion, inviting them to bring his father and all their families to live in Egypt fo the next five years so that they do not become victims of the famine.

Jesus too shows great compassion for the human needs of the crowd who have gathered to hear him preach. Rather than sending them away to fend for themselves, he multiplies the loaves and fish so that all have plenty and mush is left over. He heals their sick and later sends them home. He also sent his disciples back to the boat to rest after all, handing out food to 5,000 men plus all the women and children must have been an exhausting physical challenge, not to mention the emotions they must have felt seeing so many people being healed by Jesus. No wonder Jesus himself went off to pray alone.

While at sea a fierce storm blew up during the night and the disciples were in trouble once again. Jesus felt compassion for them and walked on water towards them. At first they were terrified, believing that they were seeing a ghost but they recognised him from his greeting – do not be afraid – much as they would recognise him after the resurrection through the breaking of bread. Peter, feeling bold at least for a few minutes asked to join Jesus and Jesus invited him to walk towards him on the water. Peter showed great faith in the Lord and although that faith faltered (as it would again during Christ’s passion and death) Jesus answered his cries for help, reached out and saved him. Back at the boat, the disciples recognised Jesus for who he truly is – the Son of God.

There are many lessons for us in these passages, not the least of which is that our God is a God of mercy and compassion and even if sometimes we appear to have ‘little faith’ all we have to do in moments of desperation is to call out to him and we will be saved.

Scripture: Genesis 44:1-45:28; Matthew 14:13-36; Psalm 18:37-50; Proverbs 4:11-13