Matthew 14 opens with the horrific, senseless beheading of Jesus’s cousin, John the Baptist. In His grief, Jesus sought solitude and set out by boat to a remote, desolate place. But crowds of people, over 5000 men plus women and children, followed Him along the shore. When Jesus landed at His destination, rather than criticize those who invaded His space, He had compassion on them. He saw their hunger and miraculously fed them by multiplying a young boy's lunch.
After this miracle, Jesus sent the disciples out in His boat while He went up the mountain to finally spend alone time with His Father. A furious storm arose, and the disciples struggled for hours until Jesus walked out to them on the water. Thinking He was a ghost, they were terrified, but Jesus encouraged them. Peter, stepping out of the relative safety of the boat, walked on the water toward Jesus, but seeing the wind, his faith faltered and he began to sink. Three words, “Lord, save me!” brought Peter into Jesus’s grip and back into the safety of the boat. And they marveled and worshipped Jesus.
Can this familiar story speak to us today? As I read and ponder this chapter, God reveals more and more to me.
This Top Ten List of Lessons from Matthew 14 barely scratches the surface.
10. Even after grief, miracles remain possible.
Jesus was filled with grief, but His compassion produced miracles. If you have suffered grief, there is still hope. Jesus is in the miracle business.
9. Jesus, full of compassion, always has time for you.
He didn’t reject the 5000. He won’t reject you. He cares for you. He feeds, nourishes, and satisfies you.
8. When it seems there isn’t enough, there is.
He is the great multiplier. He is the bread - Broken for us, Given over and over. Whatever we’re lacking, He’ll supply – at the right time.
7. Jesus sought solitude and time alone with the Father. Shouldn’t we?
Spending time with God in prayer nurtures vital relationship with Him and equips us to meet life’s challenges.
6. Even if it seems He is absent, He isn’t.
The Lord neither slumbers nor sleeps. He was watching the disciples from up above ~ just like He watches us today. Why didn’t they recognize Him? Because they weren’t looking for Him. They jumped to the false conclusion that His appearance was that of a ghost. Fear and faith cannot live in the same heart, for fear frequently blinds the eyes to the presence of the Lord.
5. Contrary winds, though hard to face, develop character and add to the joy of reaching the harbor.
There is a purpose in the pain. Paul tells us that our “light momentary affliction is producing an eternal weight of glory beyond comparison.” (2 Cor. 4:17) Contrary winds give us opportunities to get out of the boat and walk. (1 Peter 2:20-21)
4. What seems to be the end is only a new beginning.
The disciples thought Jesus was a ghost/spirit, but in fact, He was their salvation. At the crucial moment when all seemed lost, Peter cried out, “Lord, rescue me!” The simplest of prayers, and one which Jesus loves to answer.
3. When faith falters, it is not failure.
We can start out with good intentions, but falter. If we reach out to Christ, we actually grow our faith. “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Henry Ford
2. Little faith in the right thing is far more important than huge faith in the wrong things.
“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matt. 17:20
1. Peace is not the absence of storms but the presence of God.
Jack Dawson’s painting, “Peace In The Midst Of The Storm,” depicts a turbulent sea and a tiny bird happily building its nest in the shelter, security, and safety of a rock, unfazed by the storm around it. No matter how stormy your seas, peace is in the shelter of the Rock.
I’ll be addressing each of these lessons from Matthew 14 in more depth, plus several more, in the weeks to come at my blog, www.susanpanzica.com.
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