Power of the Blood

Sometimes in life, as is the case with Philip here in Matthew 14, our Lord and Savior Jesus, will test us. Philip is staring at a mountain. A literal swell of people and the seemingly insurmountable problem that stands before him needs to be solved. How do we take the moment and allow Jesus to be Lord over all? Because in times like these, we may feel overwhelmed and even get discouraged, when what we really need is to do is know that Jesus is oftentimes preparing us to witness one of His mighty miracles. I love what happens next in Matthew 14 where Jesus meets all the needs. See some have come for healing, while others came for a word. And Jesus, He is going to feed them all.

In life, there are some people who just have a marvelous gift of making introductions. These people are known as butlers. Back in the Old Testament, we encounter the life of Lil Joe. Who in Genesis 39:19-41:36 will get locked up, where he meets a butler, a baker, and a king. Now kings finance dreams and Jesus does that in our story. Bakers are those who know how to put things together. They understand timing and how to follow the recipe given. Then there is the butler, this is one who makes introductions. Make no mistake, Philip is a butler, for he introduces Nathanael to Christ. However, he is not yet convinced of Christ, though He has proclaimed Him under a tree. 

Enter Andrew, he too is a butler and has introduced his now-infamous brother, Pete, to Jesus. John 6:8-9~Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many? (ESV) Some think of this as fish-n-chips, while others think of it as the island treat of boiled fish and Johnny cake, but it really is more like pancakes and fish. I think that it is part of the new rutti tutti fresh and fruity at the IHOP. 

Jesus says gather and group the people, have them sit for the feast, bless what God has given and break bread. Yes, even in the midst of loss, where grief grips, and grace prevails. As they collect the leftovers of a little boy’s lunch, I have always wondered, Why twelve baskets? Was it so each disciple had to carry the weight of this moment moving forward? Perhaps this will mark them in a way so they never forget His power. Do you remember the power of Jesus at work in you? 1 Corinthians 4:20~For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. (ESV)

You may be discouraged today; if not, we will all face discouragement in our lives, because we live in a sin-cursed and fallen world. The discouragement that comes maybe in our homes or families, our marriage or parenting problems, it can be found in our finances, or in a report concerning our health, perhaps it is a job problem weighing in on you. It could even be because of a sin problem. So, grab hold of what the Matthew 14:1-21 passage shares with us.

Nothing is beyond the power of Jesus. There is no problem Jesus cannot solve, there is no sin Jesus cannot forgive. There is no life Jesus cannot use in a powerful way. Whenever you become discouraged, remember what Jesus said in Luke 18:27~What is impossible with man is possible with God. (NIV) Today whether you sit, kneel, or stand, know that your life can be filled with the victorious power of Jesus Christ. If you are weighted, cumbered with a load of cares, deeply distressed, or just F.I.N.E.=> Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, Emotional, God is on the throne and wants to help you with what you are facing. All you have to do is tell Him and allow Him to work on, in, and through your life.



Jesus our source

Where is your power for life found? Are you like a phone that needs to be plugged in each night or does your bed have a magnetic charging station? If so will you share the model and serial number with me? I need one really bad. As we walk out our salvation, we discover that if we desire to grow in the Lord we cannot do it on our own. We need a source. Which means that we must learn that our reliance is on Jesus’ and His Power (14:13-21) 

When Jesus hears about John the Baptist, He withdraws from the area of Capernaum by boat so the crowds cannot follow Him. He goes to a solitary place to be alone with His disciples (Matthew 14:13). Luke shares this solitary place with us. Luke 9:10~When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida. (NIV) Ever tried to get alone, to just have a moment of peace, to pine or to contemplate life’s moments. Christ Jesus is trying but the people are so needy. They probably just watch where His boat is going and run after to meet Him at it’s landing. Even in a melancholy state, where pensive sadness brings His boat ashore, Jesus steps into the moment. Matthew 14:14~When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed there sick. (ESV)

Arriving at the shore of sorrow, met by overwhelming need, we find the only miracle recorded in all four gospels. The pragmatic disciples attempt to assuage the pain and tiredness felt by many. But not Jesus, who capitalizes on the Spirits in-breaking. Matthew 14:16~ Jesus said, They need not go away; you give them something to eat. (ESV) What? How is that my job? Pete, you said you were his favorite. I gave up fishing, for following, it’s all on you guys. The disciples have already seen Jesus turn water into wine, He heals countless people in scores of towns. The Word stood against storm and calmed the sea just by speaking, He has cast out demons and delivered those bound in a leprous shame. However, the disciples still don’t understand who Jesus truly is. We are going to feed 5000 people with what kitchen?

This crowd of 5,000 men, does not take into its accounting the women and children who are present that day at dusk. (14:21) For all we know, Jesus could have fed ten, even twenty thousand people. Little is much when God is in it. Matthew 14:18-19~…Bring them here to me…he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. (ESV) The gospel of John tells us when Jesus looks up and sees the great crowd coming toward Him, He tests Philip by asking where they could go to buy food for all the people. Philip says I couldn’t work 200 days and make enough for each to get a bite. (John 6:5-7) One denarius was a day’s wage for a common laborer (Matthew 20:2, John 12:5), and 8 months wages would not suffice this crowd a morsel each. 

After all the miracles Philip has witnessed, he never considers Jesus is about to perform another one. Philip doesn’t realize what John will later write about Jesus. John 1:3~Through him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made. (NIV) Did you know, that you were made with purpose? God has done many miracles in our lives. He has spared us from accidents, healed our bodies, provided for us when we weren’t sure where our future was going to come from. He has even helped us navigate through our worst decisions. And through it all, we have learned to trust in Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith.

Today, take time to recharge your spiritual life with God. I know this is a busy time of year for each of us, which makes this all the more poignant for our faith. Worship the Lord today in the beauty of holiness.



Patience

How many of you enjoy a good hazing when you get home? If not, what is wrong with you? Nothing. As John proclaims that God desires us to live in righteousness and make good choices, he touches a real nerve and enrages the notorious Herodias, who desires to put him to death, but alas she needs permission. Herod couldn’t put John to death because he feared the Jewish people who believed John was a prophet (Matthew 14:5). 

Thus John just sits, locked up in his waiting. While Herodias’ scours pining for a chance to kill John. Opportunity strikes on as Herod throws a Birthday bash, for the who’s who of Galilee. Mark 6:21~Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. (NIV) During the party, Herodias’ daughter Salome, Philip’s own child, performs a sensual dance for her uncle and stepfather Herod Antipas. So pleased and seduced by the moment, he promises to give, Matthew 14:7 ~so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. (ESV) Caught up, he speaks too much. Ever happened to you? With so few words you overextend yourself. Bound by his own words. Mark 6: 23~And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” (NIV) 

They are not interested in wealth, power, or even the provision of half a kingdom. No, they are motivated by a sinister spirit and ask for John’s head. (14:8) Herod is sorry for what he has promised. But, because he made the vow in front of his royal and prominent guests, his pride won’t let him revoke his vow. The loss of John, a voice crying in the wilderness (Isaiah 40:3) Herald of God with us, cousin of Christ, a friend of Jesus. He will immediately lose his head. The head of this righteous and holy man is then brought on a platter and given to Salome, who gives it to her mother (14:9-11). John is snuffed out at just over 30. (Luke 1:5-66). 

That night, surrounded by resentment Salome danced in betrayal as a pawn in a diabolical game of chess. Dancing an unholy family into the hottest place in hell. Christ Jesus said in Matthew 11:11~Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist, yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (NIV) There is no greater divine compliment paid to just a man, in scripture. Matthew 14:12~And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus. (ESV) Like me, you have probably wondered, Why would God allow this to happen to John the Baptist? No one can say with any certainty. So trust the words of Christ in John 13:7~Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” (NIV) 

Do you have a problem worse than John the Baptist? Or perhaps you just want some help learning, how to rise above discouragement? We begin this journey by remembering that we are not the only ones to get down and that many others have worse problems than ours. So, we look to Jesus who is our ever-present help. We read the scriptures that remind us that God has been wrangling problems much worse than ours and we begin to praise Him for the work He has wrought in our lives and now that He is not finished yet! Paul writes to us about this very encouragement in Philippians 1:3-6~Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. (MSG)