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 The disciples were probably not as self-serving as I originally made them sound, but they certainly recognized their lack of ability to meet the current need of the people.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 »

Matthew 14:1-12 John the Baptist Murdered

The dance that ended in death

The dance that ended in death

The main character in our story today is Herod. He is beside himself with guilt and worry. He has good reason to feel guilty. He just murdered John the Baptist. Now he hears about what Jesus is doing and is terrified that John has risen from the grave.

Herod and John have history together. Somehow their paths crossed when John was preaching and calling for repentance. Did Herod go down to see John preaching? Was he interested in the message? Did he go just to see what all the fuss was about? Or did John come to him? Maybe Herod rode by on his way somewhere and John stopped him to talk to him. Maybe Herod requested John to come and speak to him. How did John get an appointment with Herod? How many meetings did they have? In chapter 6 of Mark, we are told that Herod heard John gladly, even though John’s message confused him.

However and how often they met, John would confront Herod during their meetings. John wasn’t shy about confronting anyone about their sins. That was his mission from God. To prepare the way for the coming Kingdom and to call the people to repentance. You won’t repent if you don’t believe you have sinned. Most of us recognize when we sin, but we are also VERY good at justifying anything we really don’t want to deal with. I believe Herod was in this same boat. Somehow Herod had ended up with Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. I’m not certain if she divorced Herod’s brother before she started sleeping with Herod or not, or even if she divorced Philp at all. Whatever the sequence was, John told Herod straight out that he was in sin with this relationship. Somehow Herodias had even heard John’s rebuke of their relationship. Read more »

Matthew 13:53-58 Jesus Rejected by His Hometown

Family dinner with Jesus

Family dinner with Jesus

Jesus goes home for a visit. Jesus just finished teaching and explaining many parables. He taught only in parables to the crowd but provided explanations to many of His parables privately with His disciples. During one of His times of teaching His earthly family came to take Him away. They thought He had gone off the deep end and were trying to save Him from Himself. Jesus refused them an audience and distanced Himself from them. Is He returning to Nazareth to make amends? Let’s see how it goes.

Jesus has been teaching, drawing HUGE crowds, and performing miracles for some time. The other day His family came by and asked to talk with Him. Normally, hearing from one’s family is a happy event. But He knew the real reason they had come. They thought He was making a fool of Himself with all His references to being the Messiah and running around healing people. Sure, He was able to handle what was thrown at Him, so far, but sooner or later He was going to get Himself into real trouble, and then what? He had to realize how dangerous His actions were, especially for someone like Him. He was just a carpenter’s son. He didn’t even have any training for what He was doing. His family believed that it was time to put a stop to all His foolishness. Read more »