The Gospels in 40 days Matthew 14

Matthew 14

The Death of John the Baptist: The wickedness of Herod is in every part of this story – taking his brothers wife, wanting to kill John for speaking the truth. Even his fear of the people (though for a while it spared John) makes him seem weak as well as vile. He tops it all off with His rash vow because he was pleased by his step-daughter’s dancing, and his willingness to kill and innocent man in order to save face with his dinner guests. But his conscience troubles him. When he hears of Jesus, he imagines that the righteous man he killed has come back from the dead.

The Five thousand: We see here that Jesus tries to get some time alone as he grieves John the Baptist, his cousin and friend. But even in his grief he has compassion on the crowds that swarm after him. The remote place he withdrew to proves to be a poor place for crowds, for they are far from home and markets, and need food.  With five loves and two fishes, Jesus feeds these crowds – even though this would be a perfect excuse to send them away, and get some much needed ‘down time.’ The extravagance of God is revealed in the twelve leftover baskets.

Water Walker: Jesus sends the disciples ahead, and finally gets some time with His Father to grieve and be comforted. Jesus takes a short cut and  meets them on the lake. Peter shines in this story – he asks Jesus call him over the water, and when Jesus says, “Come” Peter gets out of the boat and begins to walk. Suddenly Peter realises how unbelievable this is and, taking his eyes off Jesus, he begins to sink. Jesus chides him, but reaches out and rescues him. We may remember that Peter’s faith wavered, but on the other hand, he’s the only one to get out of the boat. (John Ortberg has written a great little book titled “If you Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get out of the Boat”)

Lord, Give me faith to go wherever you call me and do whatever you ask me to do.