Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral virtue, and in your moral virtue,
knowledge ;

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Matthew Chapter 14

This chapter starts with the account of what ultimately happened to John the Baptist. There are more details of that fateful evening in  Mark  6 :17-30. There are also interesting historical details in The Complete Works of Josephus. Josephus gives interesting cultural details and the family relationships of the Herods.
The girls name was Salome. We find that out from Josephus who was a Jewish historian paid by the Roman government to write the history of the Jews. The Eerdman pulpit commentaries, say that she was likely to be at least 17 or18 at the time because a child would not have been admitted into the audience of Herod and his  friends. This whole dance was considered shocking behavior for a girl considered royalty. To be a woman in the presence of a group of men and to be entertaining them with a dance was scandalous. Her mother, Herodious , obviously knew what the outcome of the dance would be. Mark, 6:19 tells us that Herodious had a grudge against John the Baptist and wanted to put him to death. Herod had kept her from killing him up until the time of this fateful dance.
This is the kind of biblical account of history that I find very interesting. It is easy to read this and forget that these, in fact were, flesh and blood people. I can imagine every bit of the details of this story. From John's point of view, I'm sure that his life did not turn out the way he expected it to. I'm sure he was expecting to be rescued from prison. He was the heralder of the Great King. Born to proclaim the coming of the Messiah. If I were him, I would have been expecting a miracle of deliverance, from those sinners, even up to the last second before that sword took my head. I am convinced that even John did not understand who Jesus was and what He would do for all mankind. John was a man, a human, just like us.

In Verses 13-21 we have the account of Jesus feeding the 5,000. I know that this isn't the best picture, but the point I want to make is that it is easy to overlook what feeding 5,000 people would actually be like. The caption with this picture estimated that the crowd was about 2,000 people. The bible says in verse 21 that the number given of 5,000, was only the men. That number, of 5,000, did not account for the women and children present. A conservative estimate for the actual number of people who ate  was more than 7,000.
This was an incredible miracle.  The disciples actually served  at least 7,000 people that day.  They knew that Jesus had fed 7,000 people with fish and bread that He multiplied from 5 loaves and 2 fish. I have heard commentators and pastors talk about the fact that the loaves and the fish were very small. Even if the were huge there was not enough to feed 7,000 people. All of these facts together make it very interesting that in Chapter 16 we learn that the disciples are concerned about the fact that they didn't bring any bread with them on a later journey. The disciples were people just like us.

In verses 22-33, we have the account of Jesus and Peter walking on the water. In verse 22, it tells us that immediately, Jesus compelled, (made, just short of forced) the disciples to get into a boat and leave Him alone in that place. He had  them leave because the crowds were wanting to make Him king (John 6:15) Of course, the disciples probably thought that the time had come. This was going to be the moment when Jesus would finally be able to become the long awaited king. The people " wanted Him".  From the disciples point of view, everything was ready and in place.

It is possible, that before Jesus rose from the dead and gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit,  that they looked back on this moment in time and thought that when  Jesus sent them away and did not proclaim His kingdom as come, that He made a monumental mistake. Remember, they were human, just like us.

I'm sure, none of this was making sense to them. They were then in a boat for 8 hours trying to cross a very contrary, windy,sea with huge waves. The Greek in verse 24, says that the boat was actually "tormented" by the waves. Eerdman says that they had been rowing for at least 8 hours and had only gone 3 1/2 miles. Then our amazing God came walking on the stormy sea. Next we read of Peter walking on the water .
 I like to think that I would have made it all the way.  In my imagination, I would stand there looking back at the other water tormented disciples, having successfully made it to Jesus. But then I realize how cold that water must have been. We usually see pictures of Jesus walking on the water with  calm seas. It is very possible and probable that the waves were still smacking into Peter and Jesus, and the boat, as they were trying to walk. It wasn't an easy thing to walk on that storm tossed, wind beaten sea. I think this because verse 30 says Peter "saw the wind " and became afraid. If you "see the wind" you are seeing the effects of the wind, the big waves crashing, the water sloshing. It is not until verse 32 that the bible says that they got in the boat and the wind stopped. After that whole adventure, the disciples proclaim Him the Son of God (14:33)

Ok, so to remember this chapter, THE 4 IN THE 14 LOOKS LIKE A LITTLE HATCHET. That is to remind you that John's head was cut off in this chapter.We will also use this little rhyme. JOHN THE BAPTIST LOSES HIS HEAD, WALKS ON WATER, FIVE THOUSAND FED.

With this chapter we are half way through the book of Matthew!!! I hope you are as excited as I am.
Keep practicing! Keep reading!
I am having surgery on one of my feet tomorrow. It might be awhile before I post Chapter 15. But it will come. In the meantime, use this time to catch up and practice. I am praying for everyone who reads this Blog. My prayer has been that the Lord will bring His word alive to you. That He will give you forever remembrance of His word.
God Bless you ladies,
Love Nancy

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