I’ve just been doing an in-depth study of Matthew 14. As I delved into this chapter and pulled it apart I’ll have to say, I ended up a bit humbled over the whining that I sometimes catch myself doing.
I’m not sure the exact time-frame of these events, but it seems like to me they happened in the span of a few days. We begin with a traumatic, PTSD event actually. John the Baptist is decapitated and his head is served on a platter at a party. After this, the disciples are tasked with burying his body. I don’t want to go into this scene, but we can all do the word picture on this one.
They go and tell Jesus, who has been healing many. He says, “guys I/you need to get out of here and get away from the madness.” They get into a boat to get away. Trouble is on the shore are all these people needing “counseling.” 5,000 men plus the women and children. Ever been at a big event? Imagine one section at a football game all crying out to YOU for help. So you have compassion and say…”ditch the vacation” I need to get back to work. He does. He goes ashore and heals many. Now as dusk falls it is apparent everyone is now hungry.
Another daunting task before Jesus and His disciples. Imagine how disheartened they must have been. Time for a miracle. Jesus takes five loaves and two fish and feeds the bunch with a lot left over. Duties done, Jesus decides again to take a vacation.
This time He goes alone to the mountain, the disciples get into the boat. Vacation interupted yet again with a storm. Can you imagine 3:00am and the waves are raging. On top of everything disciples see a ghost walking towards them. They are exhausted and now have to face this fear. Realizing it is Jesus, Peter goes to Him…on the water. But has a huge failure in front of his peers and His Lord. Jesus rightly exhorts him that he doesn’t have enough faith. Seems to me jumping out of a boat at 3:00am to walk on waves would take a bit of faith to even try. But no, his attempt only ended in failure.
And so Jesus takes care of all. Everyone is in the boat with Him. He calms the waves and for a fleeting moment there is peace and safety. FINALLY after all the exhausting emotions…death/burial of a friend, swarms of people crying out for help, miracles of doing something with nothing, ghosts and failures and miracles. Talk about a roller coaster!
Again the “vacation” ends…with what …one hour of rest in the boat maybe? It’s back to work in ministry as they see on the shore all the desperate people in need of what they have. Everybody wants a piece of them. And with compassion they give it.
Realistically we have to see…following Jesus isn’t for sissies. We better all learn endurance or we’ll never make it!