Sometimes we forget who is Bigger. In life when persisting problems prevail we need to be reminded God is Bigger. He’s bigger than any and all of the problems that life and all of its sundry lessons hurl at us. After John the Baptist, cousin, friend, and dutiful servant of God is summarily killed, Jesus feeds 5,000, in grief. Then He returns the disciples to the Galilean shore. Where Christ says, “all aboard.” Matthew 14:22~Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. (ESV) Leaving Bethsaida, he headed home to Capernaum, back to Jesus’ ministry headquarters.

John 6:17~where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark and Jesus had not yet joined them. (NIV) Jesus has forced them to leave. Matty’s verbiage is; Immediately he made them. Which suggests they were reluctant to leave Him. Perhaps the crowd’s cause has given them pause. For after dining to their fill, this crowd calls Him Prophet or Messiah. John 6:14~After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world. (NIV) Say, this is an interesting turn of events, a very big shift for the disciples. Wait, What, Leave? John 6:15 ~Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. (NIV) Is this not carpe diem, a moment to be seized? Our pericope this week reveals to us how God is Bigger and that if we will trust Him and His process, we will experience victory.

Take time today to reflect on how big God is. Consider the problem you have faced in your life, school, career, marriage, relationships, family. Take special note of the blessings that were given to you by God and thank Him for all that He has provided, even in the midst of adversity. I bet you will find yourself praising and worshiping Him. Love on Him because He first loved you.

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.