And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. Matthew 14:14
Jesus was the perfect example of overcoming in hard times. He showed us many times throughout His ministry how to squelch the flames of evil and that was by doing good instead. Usually, my first response when evil is done is the desire to do evil back. For instance, if you’ve been wronged in one way or another or even if someone is just pushing you, the natural response is giving them a “piece of your mind,” wait for the next opportunity to put them in their place or plan a way to “get even with them”. But the scriptures say to overcome evil with good. (see Romans 12:21) Or you could say it like this: Overcome evil thoughts and feelings with good words and actions. What does that even look like?
In today’s reading, Jesus displays this principle flawlessly. In Matthew 14:12 John the Baptist’s (who was Jesus family) disciples brought Jesus the news that John had been beheaded. The scripture says that Jesus went to a deserted place to be alone. But watch what happens next. “And when Jesus went out, He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them and healed their sick.” Talk about overcoming evil with good! Then Jesus went on to feed all 5000 of them that were there. He could have said, “Guys, this really isn’t a good time for me. My family is in crisis, and I need to go be with them”. Or “I really need to be alone right now to process all this new information”. But He almost immediately turned His focus to those who came to Him needing His compassion and love.
I do want to make note here that overcoming evil with good doesn’t necessarily mean doing good to the one who caused the evil. Jesus just went ahead and did good right where He was for the people that came to Him. He didn’t go and seek out the offender to do good to him. He knew that the real enemy was Satan, so He was able to overcome all the grief and feelings of evil by giving God’s goodness and love right where He was.
Today I want to encourage you that the next time evil comes your way, remember the best way to get the victory is to overcome that evil with good. Overcome your feelings and thoughts for evil with walking out God’s goodness and love right where you are!
Today’s scripture reading Matthew 14:1-21
1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus
2 and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.”
3 For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife.
4 Because John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”
5 And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.
6 But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod.
7T herefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.
8 So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, “Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.”
9 And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her.
10 So he sent and had John beheaded in prison.
11 And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.
12 Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
13 When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities.
14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.
15 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.”
16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”
18 He said, “Bring them here to Me.”
19 Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes.
20 So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained.
21 Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.