The Death of John the Baptist:
(Read Matthew 14:1-14)
John the Baptist’s criticism of Herod’s unlawful marriage to Herodias offended him. Herodias took advantage of the opportunity to execute and silence John when Herod’s breath day was celebrated. Though John remained faithful to the truth, it did not protect him from injustice of the world. When Herod heard about Jesus, his guilty conscience caused him to think that John the Baptist was risen from the dead. John was a burning and shining lamp (John 5:35). He had the privilege to serve Christ sacrificially and faithfully. This section concludes the ministry of John the Baptist. His death was a foreshadow of what would soon follow Jesus. When Jesus heard about John’s death, he retreated to a remote place to be alone. But a great multitude followed him. Jesus had compassion on the sick and healed them. The believers are not immune from pain and suffering in this life. But God has promised to strengthen us in our trials and difficulties (1 Corinthians 10:13). Those who are in Christ not only share in his suffering but also share in his glory when Christ returns (Philippians 3:10-11).
Jesus is Feeding Five Thousand:
(Read Matthew 14:15-21)
The miracle of feeding the five thousand is recorded in each of the four gospels. This eliminates any doubt of its true historicity. God demonstrated his power in the Old Testament by feeding Israel in the wilderness. Jesus was moved by compassion to provide food for the hungry people in a desolate place (Matthew 14:15-21). Jesus said to disciples “You give them something to eat”. Jesus wants the disciples to know that they are inadequate to meet this challenge. Andrew brought a boy before Jesus with five loaves and two fishes. Jesus blessed the boy’s lunch and gave them to disciples to distribute. The creator of the universe multiplied the bread and people were fully satisfied. The disciples took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces of left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. No wonder the crowd came back the next day seeking more food (John 6:26). Within each of us there is deep-seated hunger to know God (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Only Jesus can satisfy our spiritual hunger. The boy was willing to give whatever he had. When we give to God, we will receive in full measure, pressed down and overflowing blessing (Luke 6:38). We are called to present ourselves as a living sacrifice unto God (Romans 12:1). God can do great things through us if we are available to him. Only in Christ we can find lasting satisfaction. Jesus is the bread of life.
Jesus Walks on the Sea:
(Read Matthew 14:22-36)
Following the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus said that “He is the Bread of Life” (John 6). The miracle is sermon in action and points to something beyond itself. Christ never performed miracles selfishly or senselessly. It was not performed to show off. Miracles are often followed with teaching. Jesus asked disciple to go before him to the other side of the lake in a boat. After that he dismissed the people and went up to the mountain to pray. A strong wind had risen, and the disciples were frightened because of wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning, Jesus came to them walking on the sea. The exhausted disciples were afraid because they thought that Jesus was a ghost. Jesus reassured them and said “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid”. Christ has shown that he is able to control the wind and the waves. He rescues his people from death (Psalms 107:23-32). Here Jesus does the same thing God did for Israel. People marveled at the miracle and said, “What kind of Man is this, that even the winds and the wave obey Him” (Matthew 8:27). When Peter saw Jesus is walking on the water, he requested Jesus to permit him to come to him walking on the water. Jesus said come. Peter walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he looked at the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. Peter shouted, “Lord save me”. This was perhaps the shortest prayer ever made. Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. He said “O you of little faith, why did you doubt “. Then the disciples worshiped Jesus saying, “You really are the Son of God”. Thus, they acknowledged the deity of Christ. Many who touched the fringes of Jesus’ robe were healed. Jesus helps the helpless because he is gracious. Trust Jesus to do great things for you. We are not promised freedom from pain in this life, but God provides grace to endure it.
The Death of John the Baptist: