Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Matthew 14

Last week we learned that there is nothing more important that God's Kingdom.

Matthew 14:1-12 - Persecution

Herod had arrested John the Baptist and held him in prison because he had accused Herod and his new wife, Herodias for adultery.  She was married to Herod's brother, Philip, a woman of loose moral, and unfaithful to Philip.  Herod feared John and protected him knowing John was a righteous and holy man.  He even liked listening to John preach, but he was afraid of the people since they considered John a prophet.  Herodias resented John for calling her out on her sin and held a grudge and planned to murder him for revenge.  She used her daughter to carry out her crime and caused her to sin.

On Herod's birthday Herodias' daughter, Salome danced for Herod.  He was so pleased that he promised her anything she wanted.  Her mother involved her in her revenge against John and said to ask for John's head on a platter.  All the people heard Herod make this promise.  Herod knew it was wrong, but was weak and didn't want to go against his wife.  He also wanted to please the people and didn't want to be laughed at for not keeping a promise so he beheaded John.  Rash promises are no excuse for doing wrong things.  Herod had a terrible end.  He later would be accused of treason against Rome and would be banished where he and his wife committed suicide.

Wow!  This sounds like a soap opera.

What are you teaching your daughter?  It's a privilege to train our children.  Our children are exposed to a lot today - the internet, TV, video games.  It's our responsibility to protect our house and families and to set a good example.  They learn a lot through direct teaching, but they lean much more by watching us.  A parent’s job description – Deu. 6:7“Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  Wisdom starts with God.  We’re teaching all the time whether we realize it or not.  We need to teach them about Jesus and who He is.  This is your job not the church or Sunday the school teacher.  This goes for grandparents, too.

Are you setting a good example for your children?
Do you hold a grudge against someone?  Holding grudges will give into sin.
Have you ever been laughed at or mistreated for being a follower of Jesus?
Have you ever given in to the pressure of sin when you know it was wrong?
Will you ask God to give you strength to make the right decision and not give in?

Holding a grudge can lead to sin.
God gives strength in times of sorrow.

Matthew 14:13-21 - Provision

The disciples took John's body and buried it and told Jesus.  When Jesus heard this, He called Herod a fox (Mark 6:26).  After hearing of John's death Jesus and His disciples withdrew needing rest and time to grieve.  The crowds still followed, but Jesus did not turn them away.  He had great compassion on them.  He saw their helplessness and need for Him.  Like a loving shepherd He puts aside His own needs.  He continued to teach and heal their sick. 

Evening approached and the disciples asked Jesus to send them away because there was not food and they needed to eat.  Jesus challenged both the compassion and the faith of His disciples.  He said, "They do not need to go away.  You will give them something to eat." - Matt. 14:16.  "We have only five loaves of bread and two fish, they answered." - Matt. 14:17.  Jesus directed the crowd of 5,000 to sit down and took the five loaves and two fish and gave thanks to God.  He then gave them to the disciple to give to the people.  They all ate and were satisfied with pieces left over.  The people were hungry and needed food and the bread of life.  "I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." - John 6. 

Do you have something small, but important to give to help others?
What talents and gifts do you have that might help others?
What about your time, your money, your love?

Jesus teaches His disciples to be compassionate, that God has resources we know nothing about, and that God will always provide.

Jesus provides for His own in every situation.
God has resources we know nothing about.

Matthew 14:22-36 - Protection

Jesus made His disciples get into the boat while He went to be alone to pray.  He must have been going to use this scene as a teaching moment since it said he "made" them get into the boat.  During the night the boat drifted out way beyond the shore.  A storm came up and tossed the boat around.  Jesus in His tender love for His faithful followers and their distress, walked across the lake to meet them.  When the disciples saw Him, they were terrified and said, "It's a ghost." - Matt. 14:26.  Jesus said to them, "Take courage!  It is I.  Don't be afraid." - Matt. 14:26. 

Peter as usual as a leader said, "Lord, if it's you, tell me to come to you on the water." - Matt.14:28.  Jesus told him to come.  Peter then got out of the boat, but became distracted and turned his eyes from Jesus and began to sink.  He cried for Jesus to save him.  Jesus took his hand and they walked on the water together.  Jesus said, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" - Matt. 14:31.  Then they all worshiped Jesus and said, "Truly you are the Son of God." - Matt. 14:33.

They had forgotten the miracle that had just happened when Jesus fed the 5,000.  If they had truly responded by faith, they would not doubted so quickly.  When Peter focused on Jesus, he was safe.  When he looked at the circumstances around him, he became fearful.  When we look in fear to what future danger there may be, that is unbelief.  We need to keep our eyes on Jesus and trust Him.  Jesus will never let you sink in your situation.  God's timing is always perfect.  He is there when we need Him.  He appears just when we need comfort and reassurance.  His hand is always there for you to take hold of.

Can you relate to Peter?  It's hard sometimes to step out in faith.
Have you ever heard Jesus say "Come and trust me to do the impossible?"
Will you take His hand to do the impossible?"

Jesus can do the impossible.God will help us in storms of life when we focus our eyes on Him.

For the first time they really knew who Jesus was and worshiped Him.  "Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, say, 'Truly you are the Son of God.'". - Matt. 14:33.  When we know who Jesus really is, our life will change.  When you are in the storms of life, He will teach you something new.

I hope you saw Jesus' love and compassion in these passages, how he put the needs of others before His own, and how He used each situation to train His disciples.  He shows us how to have compassion for others, how we are to thank God as He did for the fish and bread, how He always provides what we need when we need it, and how is He is always there to protect us in the storms of life.  We can see ourselves in Peter and the other disciples.  At times we get distracted and take our eyes off of Jesus.  We let doubt and we fear take over.  We need to keep looking to Jesus.  He knows our situations and is always there, if we call on Him.  Gaze at Jesus and glance at everything else.

See you next week for Matthew 15

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