Murder & Miracles
June 29, 2014
Topic: Matthew Passage: Matthew 14:1–14:36
“Matthew: The Gospel of the Grace of God”
“MURDER & MIRACLES”
V.1 – this is HEROD ANTIPAS; a SON of Herod the Great, who had slain the CHILDREN around Bethlehem at the birth of Christ.
Though Herod referred to himself as a KING, he was actually a step BELOW that (“tetrarch” means a ruler over a fourth of a kingdom).
Vs.2-11 – Herod & John the Baptist are a study in CONTRASTS:
John was RIGHTEOUS; Herod was WICKED.
John was OUTSPOKEN; Herod was DEVIOUS.
John was COURAGEOUS; Herod was a COWARD – he was also SUPERSTITIOUS.
FEEDING the 5,000: Vs.13-21.
This is the ONLY miracle found in ALL 4 gospels.
Vs.13-14 – Jesus did not withdraw because He was AFRAID of Herod! Rather, He knew that it was NOT YET His time to DIE.
He also wanted to simply REST & to BE WITH His disciples, AWAY from the demanding crowds – but that was not to be.
These people probably came for mostly SELFISH reasons; there also were probably at least 25,000 of them (counting women & children) - & yet Jesus RESPONDED with COMPASSION toward those who did not truly APPRECIATE Him, & who would soon REJECT Him.
V.15 – it was late afternoon.
V.16 – ONLY Matthew records Jesus’ response to His disciples.
V.17 – the disciples KNEW that Jesus was POWERFUL enough to MEET this need (they had already witnessed many DEMONSTRATIONS of that power) – yet they did NOT TURN to Him.
Rather, they took INVENTORY of what they had (5 loaves & 2 fish); the TIME of day (evening); the PLACE (desolate) - & CONCLUDED that this problem could ONLY be solved by sending the crowds AWAY.
John MacArthur: “It would seem to have required so little faith and to have been so natural for the disciples to expect Jesus to feed the crowd. But they were like a person who stands in front of Niagara Falls and asks where he can find a drink.”
Vs.17-21 – what are the primary LESSON to be learned from this miracle?
When facing a challenge, God begins where we are, & He uses what we have.
“Little is much if God is in it!”
God can handle any crisis WITHOUT our help! Yet He often CHOOSES to USE us & our few resources, & this MAGNIFIES His GOODNESS & POWER.
We can do nothing apart from Him. And yet, “If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, NIV)
Jesus is sufficient to meet all our needs, & to meet them abundantly.
We must learn to trust God to supply what is otherwise impossible.
WALKING on WATER: vs.22-33.
Vs.22-23a – John 6:14-15. This seemed – to the crowds AND to Jesus’ disciples – that this was the PERFECT time to make Him their KING.
The disciples did NOT WANT to leave, because they just wanted TO BE with Jesus, & they felt LONELY & VULNERABLE apart from Him.
With divine AUTHORITY, Jesus managed to DISMISS an EXCITED crowd of THOUSANDS that could have quickly become a dangerous MOB.
Vs.23b-24 – John 6:18-19a – during a SIMILAR storm, Jesus had been WITH them, but now they were ALONE.
They had been at sea for at least 9 HOURS, & Jesus had deliberately WAITED a LONG time before He came to them.
Remember: they were IN the storm BECAUSE they had OBEYED the Lord!
Jesus KNEW that the storm was coming, yet He DELIBERATELY sent them out into it.
But, while His disciples were IN the STORM, Jesus was INTERCEDING for them, as He CONTINUALLY does FOR US.
Vs.25-27 – Jesus will always come to us in the storms of life.
Isa. 43:2: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.”
V.25 – this would have been between 3-6 A.M.
Vs.26-27 – notice the great CONTRAST between the AGITATION of the 12 & the CALM of Jesus.
Jesus did NOT walk on water in order to TEACH His disciples HOW to do it! Rather, it was to demonstrate an important lesson: He is willing to do whatever it takes to rescue His children.
Therefore: we have no reason to be afraid or anxious, no matter how hopeless our situation may seem.
Vs.28-31 – only Matthew tells us about this. WHY did Peter STEP OUT of the boat? Because he believed it was SAFER to be ON the water WITH JESUS than to be IN the boat WITHOUT Him.
Peter’s LOVE for Jesus may have been WEAK & IMPERFECT (like his FAITH), but it was a very REAL & PASSIONATE love.
Yes, Peter’s FAITH was WEAK, but at least he got OUT of the boat!
Vs.32-33 – Jesus performed this miracle without SAYING a word or RAISING a hand.
The disciples went PAST the point of AMAZEMENT, all the way to WORSHIP.
This is the FIRST time they call Him the SON of GOD. When Jesus had calmed the FIRST storm, they asked, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” (Matt. 8:27b)
This time, they KNEW the ANSWER to that question!
Job 9:8 (NIV) says that God “alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.”
The disciples were AWESTRUCK, because they knew that GOD was in the BOAT with them.
HEALING the SICK: vs.34-36.
The WORK CONTINUES.
Learning from the disciples, there are 2 things that we ALL need to say.
Like PETER, we need to cry out, “Lord, save me.” (v.30b)
Like he & his fellow disciples, we need to proclaim, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (v.33b)
That you are a SINNER, & that He is the only SAVIOR;
That He is the SON of GOD, & He is WORTHY of our WORSHIP.