Crispads

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Matthew, Chapter 14

Today in Matthew 14 we see Jesus continue to teach about the lessons and power of faith. To me, faith is the most important aspect of our relationship with Christ. It is the entire basis behind our salvation, as we must have faith that we are saved by grace. During our study of the book of Hebrews we saw the great feats that were accomplished simply by acts of faith. This is illustrated in Hebrews 11 and that passage pretty much covers only Old Testament acts of faith and not the works of Jesus. We are asked by Christ to simply have faith, and we see in this chapter that event eh disciples didn't have enough faith at times.

So why is faith important? Let's face it, if Christ wanted to, He simply could reveal Himself powerfully to each and every person on the planet, leaving little doubt to His power and glory. This would be easy for Him, and if it was done to every person there would be no need for hell and damnation. It would be the simple way to save everyone, because if Christ simply chose to, He could do so. Faith, however, comes from free will. Much like the impetus behind this blog, Jesus merely presents the facts and leaves each person to make up their own minds when it comes to the gift of salvation. Christ makes sure that we actively take part in the process of saving ourselves. His life is meant to erase all doubt, but we still must learn about Him and accept this gift of faith.

19And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. – Matthew 14:19-21

There is often a misconception when it comes to this particular miracle performed by Jesus. It is labeled as Jesus feeding the 5,000, but in actuality He fed many more on this day. As we see in the final verse, the number actually mentioned was 5,000 men. There were a number of women and children there with these 5,000 men, and they too were fed by the miracle that Jesus performed. It is mentioned here because it is an instance when He chose to teach the disciples more about faith. We will see, however, that they still had doubt even after this.

25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.

 27But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

 28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

 29"Come," he said.

   Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

 31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" – Matthew 14:25-31

This is another important lesson, especially for Peter. We know that Peter eventually went on to become a strong pillar of the early church. He is an interesting character simply because he often had moments of great faith mixed with moments of great doubt. This is one of them. We see that he was impulsive enough to hop out of the boat and walk on water, but quickly lost his faith and began to sink. Our own faith is like this when things go wrong. It is easy to have faith when things are going well and it seems like we are walking on water. It takes strength to continue having that faith when we are sinking.

TODAY'S QUESTIONS:

  1. How did the disciples gain faith by the feeding of the 5,000?
  2. What significance does the martyrdom of John the Baptist carry?
  3. How does Jesus save us when we are drowning?