Matthew 15:1-11 Men’s Traditions v God’s Commandments

In this corner....

In this corner….

The nit picking Pharisees are back. Today they must have really been struggling to come up with something to fault Jesus on. They want to know why Jesus’ disciples didn’t wash their hands before they ate. Is that all they could find to complain about today? Ok, they were probably talking about the ceremonial washing, which was a big deal to them. Let’s peek in on the discussion.

Matthew doesn’t give us a setting for this encounter, but from the comments of the Pharisees there must have been some dining going on. Jesus and His disciples were having dinner in a place that the Pharisees could observe them. I was originally thinking they might be dining with some Pharisees, but if they were you would expect the disciples to be on their best behavior and to follow all the rules of the house. So I am going to put them at the home of some new believer in the community. I am going to name him Joshua and assume that he has invited anyone and everyone he could to this dinner. Read more »

Matthew 14:34-36 Jesus Heals in Gennesaret

Just touch the fringe of His garments

Just touch the fringe of His garments

Jesus and His disciples make landfall at Gennesaret, on the edge of the Sea of Galilee. We are not told of Jesus ministering here before but the people had apparently heard of Him and His works. They had a LOT of people that needed ministering to and wanted to make sure each person in need had the opportunity to be healed by Him.

The people on the seashore where Jesus and His disciples landed recognized Him right away. They immediately sent word throughout the entire region that He was there and to bring anyone who was sick to where He could heal them. In Mark’s account of Jesus’ visit here, it appears that He may have been there for some time. Mark 6:56 it says, “wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces”, leading me to believe Jesus went from place to place in this region.

The people also didn’t ask Jesus to stop and minister to each of them but asked that they might simply touch the fringe of His garment. Touching Jesus’ garment was the method of transfer of power that the woman with the issue of blood sought out. I wonder if the people in this region knew her and knew of her healing. If so, did they figure that since it worked for her that it would work for them too? However they chose this method of ministry, Jesus apparently agreed to it. Read more »

Matthew 14:22-33 Jesus Walks on Water

Would you get out of the boat?

Would you get out of the boat?

Today we join Jesus right after dinner with 5,000 plus people. This crowd followed Him to a “desolate place” where He was planning some alone time with His disciples. He was mourning the death of His cousin, John the Baptist. When he got to His intended destination the crowd was there to meet Him. He put aside His own needs and ministered healing to everyone who needed Him and concluded His ministry to them by serving them dinner. Now it is His turn.

After concluding the meal and gathering the leftovers, Jesus puts His disciples into the boat they came in on and sent them to the other side of the lake. Jesus then dismisses the crowd. That alone was a miracle! Jesus was in high demand because of what He had to offer. But He was able to send ALL the people away to finally be alone.

Jesus was finally able to have the alone time He was in need of. He spent it with His Father. Jesus knew where real refreshing and relief from the pain of this life was found. He spent several hours with God. He didn’t concern Himself with anything else when He was with His father. This was their special time. Read more »

Matthew 14:15-21 Jesus Feeds 5,000 and then some!

Table for 5,00 please

Table for 5,00 please

Jesus is in a “desolate place” with His disciples. He came here to deal with His grief over the death of His cousin John. When Jesus arrived in this place, He was met by a huge crowd, which He immediately began ministering to. The WHOLE day has been spent in meeting this group’s physical needs for healing. We pick up our story as evening dawns.

Jesus’ disciples were tired and hungry and figured that the people in the crowd probably were too. They wanted Jesus to send the crowd away so they could have dinner in peace. Of course they didn’t put it that way to Jesus. The asked Him to send the crowd away so the people could go and get something to eat in the surrounding towns. There wasn’t anything there for them to eat or anywhere for them to buy food. (I guess our village merchant from the sower and the seed parable encounter didn’t make an appearance at this gathering.) The disciples were probably not as self-serving as I originally made them sound, but they certainly recognized their lack of ability to meet the current need of the people. Had they heard people, maybe children, in the crowd complaining about being hungry? Read more »

Matthew 14:13-14 Jesus’ Mourns His Cousin John

John would be missed

John would be missed

Yesterday we heard the story of how Herod murdered John. Herodias finally got her way. John’s disciples came and removed John’s body. After dealing with John’s remains, they went and told Jesus about it. We join Jesus after He receives the news.

John was Jesus’ cousin. He was also Jesus’ forerunner in ushering in the new covenant. Jesus knew that John’s ministry had to end before His own could be completed. Jesus knew that this would also include John’s death, but that didn’t make the process any easier. Jesus loved John and it grieved Him when John was killed.

Jesus needed some time alone after getting the news about John. He went by boat to the most isolated place He could find. He didn’t go completely alone because He brought His disciples with Him. I imagine the disciples are the ones that captained the boat that took Him there. I assume He was there to pray and spend time mourning John with His disciples. Some of Jesus disciples were John’s disciples before joining Jesus. They knew John very well and were probably hurting too. They were probably sharing stories about John on the way out. Read more »