No Ordinary Man
There is a story of two boys who were misbehaving, and the preacher, thinking he will change them by getting them to understand God’s omnipresence, asks the older boy, “Son, do you know where God is?”
The boy was struck silent at this, and after the preacher asked him the same question a second and third time, the boy ran out of the office and grabbed his younger brother and said, “Let’s get out of here! God is missing and they think we did it!”
As you read through the Bible, it is important to remember that it is a book about God. As I say that, perhaps you’re thinking, “Duh, Pastor I already know that.” Well, I am not insulting your intelligence, but many times we read passages and our first response is is to turn inward and make it all about us. What is God promising me, or how do I benefit from this passage. God indeed promises realities in His Word and we can benefit from all of it, but first and foremost, remember this morning that the Bible is a book that is all about God - not all about us.
As we have been studying the Bible in chronological order, we have turned from the Old Testament to the New and God breaks a 400 year silence with John the Baptist the prophetic forerunner for the Messiah - Jesus. For 400 years, the Israelites have not heard directly from God.
John the Baptist comes on the scene in his camel skin ensemble and his locust with honey diet and proclaims that the Kingdom of God is coming. The great announcement of the kingdom is that God is not missing, God is here, and that He is within our reach - in the person of Jesus.
Now, As you read through the gospels, what you find is four perspectives on the person and work of Jesus. And as we have mentioned the last two weeks, if you want to know what God is like, study the person and work of Jesus Christ - because He is Emmanuel “God with Us.”
And that is what we are doing here today, but why does Jesus matter? Here is a video of a ministry mentor of mine with some thoughts on that question.
This Jesus is no ordinary man - and we see this today in Matthew 14 if you’ll turn there with me.
Matthew is written with the purpose of proving that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal King. Matthew was a converted Hebrew tax collector, and wrote from the perspective of a Jew.
Early church fathers, Irenaeus (fl. c. 175–195) and Origen (c. 185–251), said that Matthew had been written for converts from Judaism, Jews who had embraced Jesus as their Messiah.
Matthew also wrote to explain Jesus’ Kingdom program. The first-century believers who had left all to follow Christ must have wondered what would become of them and what would happen in the future. So Matthew explained how and why Jesus was rejected by Israel and God’s program following that rejection.
Read along with me here in Matthew 14 as we look at three miracles of Christ.
1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, 2 And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. 3 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife. 4 For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. 5 And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. 6 But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. 7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. 8 And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger. 9 And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath’s sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her. 10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. 11 And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother. 12 And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus. 13 When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. 14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. 15 And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. 16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. 17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. 18 He said, Bring them hither to me. 19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. 21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children. 22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. 33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. 34 And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; 36 And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.
Beginning in v. 13, we read of Jesus performing the miracle of feeding the 5,000. A couple of notes
Jesus chose compassion before convenience.
13 When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities.
Jesus hears of the beheading of John and wanted to get away.
But people follow Him...
14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.
Jesus made the insufficiencies of the disciples sufficient.
15 When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.” 16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 17 And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” 18 He said, “Bring them here to Me.”
As we know in reading the rest of the account, Jesus blessed the food and there was enough plus leftovers.
But don’t miss v. 19:
Jesus included His disciples in His plan
19 Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes.
As Matthew portrays Jesus as the fulfilling King, He is sure to include the disciples in the distributing.
He could have had it fall from the sky (manna in OT)
He could have filled their bellies without needing to have them eat.
He could have done anything he wanted, and He did - He used His disciples (mere men) to distribute His miracle.
Just following this miracle of feeding, as some scholars believe to be upwards of 25,000 people, Jesus sends the people and disciples away, so that he can spend some time alone with the Father.
Jesus was intentional to walk with His Father
23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.
No one else was around. No interruptions. Jesus took time for what mattered most.
It has been said that an empty cup does a thirsty man no good. Jesus refreshed and refilled so that He could continue to pore out of Himself for the benefit of others.
And it’s a good thing, because as v. 24 reads:
24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
Jesus met His own in the midst of the storm
25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
When Jesus is on the throne, there is not need for worry.
Some of us have postgraduate degrees in anxiety. We tend to worry about worrying.
Here we learn that God knows exactly what is going on in our lives.
In His humanity, Jesus withdrew to refresh and refill.
But in His deity, Jesus knew exactly what was going on in the lives of his disciples.
And it is here we find the truth of vv. 28-33, that:
Jesus is Who He said He is
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
Peter wants to go see Jesus.
Jesus says come.
Peter goes and walks on water too…
Peter gets distracted with all the waves and the wind.
Jesus reaches down to save him.
Jesus asks - Why did you doubt?
This is important, because Jesus gets to the heart of the issue real quick.
He doesn’t ask, why did you look at the storm.
Why did you get out of the boat?
Why didn’t you wear your floaties!?!
He asks, why did you doubt - In reality, Why did you not trust me?
Do you think the storm is greater than me?
Do you think the waves and wind are doing their own thing?
Did you forget that I made the elements of the storm?
I AM WHO I’VE SAID THAT I AM.
And because I am who I say that I am, you can trust me!
What is Matthew 14 all about?
The trustworthiness of this man named Jesus.
He is more than a good man.
He is more than just a prophet.
Jesus is divine, and he came to fulfill everything anticipated in the OT.
Jesus is divine, and he came to seek and to save those who are lost.
Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and you can trust Him today!
Jesus chose compassion over convenience
Jesus made the insufficiencies of the disciples sufficient
Jesus included His disciples in His plan
Jesus was intentional to walk with the Father
Jesus met His own in the midst of the storm
Jesus is Who He said He is