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Matthew 14

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

THURSDAY, APRIL 13

 

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 14

This is a most interesting chapter.  In it we see the effects of human depravity.  We see the truth of Jesus’ perfect humanity.  And we see more than one miracle that can only be attributed to Jesus’ divinity.

The chapter starts out with the unusual and cruel death of John the Baptizer.  As you read through the intrigue that resulted in John being beheaded it is hard not to see us humans as really jacked up people who struggle not only not to do wrong but also struggle to do right.

This part of the story ends in verse 12 with John’s disciples doing right things.  They went to claim the body of their friend John.  They buried that body.  Then they went to tell Jesus.  That is an interesting statement.  Why did they have to go tell Jesus?  The answer has less to do with informing Jesus and more to do with the fact that they just needed to go talk to Jesus about a most difficult time in their lives.  There is a lesson there for us all.

The very next verse gives us an important look into Jesus’ humanity.  After talking with John’s disciples, Jesus needed to get away from the crowds for a bit.  Undoubtedly He needed a little down time, maybe even a little time to recalibrate since He knew where all of this was headed.  But the crowds found Him.  When you are in ministry, and every Christ follower is, your job is never done.  Never.  

That leads us into two amazing miracles.  One is the feeding of the 5,000.  The other is walking on the water.  

We will take a look at the feeding miracle first.  After a search, five loaves of bread (think pita bread not a loaf of Wonder Bread) and two fish (think large perch size not large catfish size).  But a little can be much in the hands of Jesus.  You may not think you have very much to offer to Jesus.  You may be surprised by how much Jesus can do with what you offer regardless of how much you think it is. 

That brings us to the walking on water story that begins in verse 22.  Did you notice that Jesus “made” the disciples get into a boat?  There are at least a couple of reasons Jesus “made” them do this.  One, in John 6, we discover that after the feeding of the 5,000, the crowd wanted to make Jesus king.  (That must have been some amazing fish and bread.)  Two, there were some things Jesus wanted to teach them that could only be learned in the middle of a storm in the middle of the sea.

Jesus sent His friends into a storm.  Being in God’s will is not a promise of smooth sailing.  Sometimes we can be doing exactly what God told us to do exactly the way He told us to do it and be in the biggest storm of our lives. Remember. If you are going to be in the middle of a storm, make sure you are in the center of God’s will.

There are a couple of other quick things I want you to see before we leave today.  One, Peter didn’t just jump out of the boat.  He asked for permission and waited for the Lord’s response before he got out of the boat.  That means what Peter did was an act of faith.  The Bible says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of the Lord.  Peter waited until He heard the Word of the Lord and then he acted on what he heard.  That’s faith.

The second thing is this.  Before we get all self-righteous and bust on Peter too much for losing his focus and sinking, we need to remember that he walked on the water for at least a little bit.  Probably further than you have.  I know it is a lot further than I have.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Matthew 13

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

Wednesday, APRIL 7

 

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 13

The chapter in front of us has no less than seven parables in it.  If you are familiar with the Bible, you are undoubtedly familiar with the word parable. If you are not necessarily familiar with the Bible, the word parable may be a new word to you.  So, I thought it might be helpful to define this word parable.  

The word parable literally means to lay or place alongside of.  The idea is that of placing or laying something alongside something else for the purpose of making a comparison.  Often times Jesus would use something very familiar to explain a spiritual or moral truth that might otherwise be difficult to grasp. 

I say often times Jesus would do that because that was not necessarily His purpose in the parables of this chapter.  He did use the commonplace to explain important truth.  But the truth of these parables was not grasped by all who heard them regardless of how familiar they may have been with the comparison.  Because Jesus never did anything without a clear purpose, we can rest assured that Jesus did this intentionally.  The obvious question is why.

The disciples asked that very question in verse 10.  Jesus gladly answered them.  In fact, He gave them two reasons.  One, He did this to reveal meaning to those who receive Him and believe in Him.  And He did this to conceal meaning from those who did not receive Him and believe in Him.   

Jesus explains this a bit further in verse 12.  He said whoever has (that is the folks who have a personal relationship with Jesus) will be given more (more understanding as they mature in that relationship).  But the one who doesn’t have (that is the folks who have rejected Jesus) will, as they continue to reject Jesus, lose what little understanding they did have.  

But here’s an interesting thing to think about.  Even those who receive and believe, those promised understanding because of their relationship with Jesus still struggled with some of the parables.  So, Jesus explained a couple of the parables to them.  If nothing else, this is proof that Jesus really does want His children to understand His truth.

If you skip all the way over to verse 51, Jesus actually asked the disciples if they understood the parables that He told.  Their simple answer to Him was, “Yes”.

So, what are we to do with this?  First, this is not to be construed to mean that Jesus is choosing who is going to be saved and who isn’t by deciding who can understand His Word and who can’t.  Jesus died for the sins of the whole world.  His desire is for all people everywhere to be saved.  This understanding is not a result of Jesus’ choosing.  It is a result of people choosing Jesus.  Then Jesus gladly brings understanding.

Second, just because we do have a personal relationship with Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean we will understand everything that Jesus said.  Some of what He said is most clear to all of us Christ followers.  Some of it only becomes clear as we grow and mature in our lives as Christ followers.  And some of it may very well remain a mystery until we arrive in heaven.  But that’s the reason we keep reading our Bibles.  That’s the reason I will continue to write these devotionals.  That’s the reason we should all be very intentional and most consistent in putting ourselves in places where we can hear the Word of God taught.

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