Sorry if you are receiving the blogs late sometimes. They are set to send out at 2:30 am but often don’t arrive for many hours after. Looking into why this is.
John the Baptist Beheaded
14 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, 2 and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
3 Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, 4 for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5 Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet.
6 On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much 7 that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 9 The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10 and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12 John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And 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. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But 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. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.
Once Jesus heard John had been killed, it says He withdrew to a solitary place. Jesus must have been grieving this news and was heartbroken. But Jesus was starting to become a pretty popular guy, and the crowds followed Him. My own human nature, I would have probably cried out to give me some space. But it says Jesus had compassion on them and healed the sick. 5000 men plus women and children, it’s hard to imagine a crowd like that all trying to get close to you and get your attention. I can only imagine what the disciples were feeling.
Then Jesus says the most unlikely of things. Sit them down and lets give them all something to eat. I can imagine the looks on the disciples faces as they tried to contemplate how they were to feed 20,000 people, maybe more. But Jesus again performs and incredible miracle and an incredible lesson for everyone. Jesus breaks the bread and blesses it, gives it to the disciples, who then give it to the people. Do we see a comparison here? Jesus starts off His ministry as one person. He shares His knowledge with the disciples, who in turn share with the people. With this act of feeding the people with a small amount of food, He showed how to spread the news and grow the church. Can one person sharing the gospel make a difference? Absolutely. I often think about the guy who finally convinced Billy Graham to attend an outreach event. He was just doing as God asked of him, he must have been in awe of what God did with that.
I think we all know the lesson when Peter hops out of the boat. Don’t doubt, don’t take your eyes of Jesus. You will sink. What is awesome to me in this story is when Peter cried out “save me”, Jesus immediately reached out His hand. That is the same promise we still have today.
Let’s remember today that we have been given a gift, the gospel, and we are to share it freely. It is our duty and purpose.
God, what a precious gift you gave to us, Your Word. Give us boldness and courage to share with those in our circle of influence. Take what we say to others and make it take root and grow. Lord, help us to never take our eyes off you when the storm comes and doubt creeps in. Thank you that you are always right there to take our hand when we begin to sink. Jesus, in this time of storm we find ourselves in with the panic of the virus right now, help us all to keep our eyes fixed directly on You and that we put our trust fully in You so there is no need to fear. Thank you Jesus, amen.