Todays Reading: Matthew 14
The Death of John the Baptist
This chapter starts out pretty graphic and incredibly sad with the beheading of John the Baptist. Before it flashes back to Herod killing John, the first two verses talk about Herod speaking to his servants about the fame of Jesus and all the miracles He was performing. He made a point to say that this is John the Baptist. Herod feared John was resurrected and performing these miracles through Jesus. Guilt plagued him for having John executed.
Now I have never had anyone beheaded before, but I know I can relate with the guilt that Herod was feeling. There have been many times in my life where I know I helped nail those nails in Jesus’s hands because of my sin. I have felt that utter guilt. I have feared His punishment. Thankfully, Jesus came for the sinners. He gives us grace. We should confess, repent, and turn away from our sin, striving each day for the spirit of excellence as an old pastor friend would tell us.
The Bible says there is no greater man born of women than John the Baptist (Matt. 11:11) He was faithful to his death. His life was doing God’s will. He served the Father and the Son throughout his life. Comparing myself with John, I am lacking greatly.
Jesus Feeds the 5000
After Jesus heard of his cousins death, he withdrew to a desolate place to mourn. The crowds followed and Jesus had compassion for them and fulfilled their needs. It’s understandable he would want to get away, but he put himself aside because of his love for them. Not only did he have compassion, but he healed and fed the crowds who left everything behind to hear Jesus’s words and see the miracles he was performing.
Jesus Walks on the Water
When Jesus finishes praying on the mountain, he walks on the water toward the boat where his disciples are. They were afraid at the sight of him. But Jesus says some powerful words here: “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” Because of Jesus, we do not have to fear anything. We can be courageous with all the trials and tribulations we face. He is with us always.
Even though Peter had doubt in this passage, he still cried out for Jesus. We tend to make fun of the disciple’s doubt with everything they have seen, but haven’t we done the same in our own lives? When the world around us is chaotic, we tend to sink also. When we find ourselves sinking, we should follow Peter’s example and cry out to the Lord. If we shift our focus to Jesus, we will stay afloat.
Jesus Heals the Sick in Gennesaret
Jesus is for anyone who wants him. He goes on to Gennesaret, where he heals everyone sick that was brought to him. Their faith was so strong that they only asked to touch a fringe of His garment, and they were made well.
There is a lapse of faith throughout this chapter, but there is also incredible faith. It teaches us the need for prayer and to serve those in need. It gives us examples from Jesus’s sacrifice and also taking time to get away to pray. It tells us to be courageous and be willing to face our challenges for He is with us. It shows us that Jesus is the ultimate provider, the ultimate physician, and the Savior to all who believe in Him.