Thursday 20 October 2016

Bible Book:

“ … immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’” (v. 27)

Matthew 14:22-27 Thursday 20 October 2016

Psalm: Psalm 34:9-24


It may seem odd that, previously, the disciples had wanted to sendthe people away to find food but Jesus insisted on feeding them;but as soon as they had finished eating Jesus insists that everyoneleaves immediately (verse 22). The Gospel of John's account of themiraculous feeding may explain the issue. So amazed was the crowdat what had happened that they wanted to take Jesus and make himking (John 6:15).

If Jesus had crossed over to flee Herod (see yesterday) then hewouldn't want to do anything to suggest he was leading arevolution. In Jewish history Moses had led the people through thewilderness until they reached the edge of the Promised Land. Duringthis time they ate bread from heaven (Exodus16:1-5). Now, here was Jesus providing bread in the wildernessfor people to eat. He wanted to be clear that he was not going tobe like Moses and lead them against the Romans.

Maybe the disciples were getting caught up with the crowd andthat is why Jesus sent them away first. But whilst travellingacross the lake a storm blew up as is common on the Sea of Galilee.Despite all they had just witnessed the disciples were stillgripped by fear.

It is possible this account was included for the benefit ofthose early disciples. Jesus was no longer physically present andthey felt buffeted in the storms of persecution. It might haveseemed as though Jesus had abandoned them. It is worth noting thatthe disciples were not crossing the lake to escape anything (asJonah did in the Old Testament (Jonah1)), but rather because they were following the instructions oftheir master.

In the midst of their fear, Jesus appeared. As with themiraculous feeding we needn't waste time trying to work out how.But in their darkest time the disciples suddenly realised thatJesus was present. At first this realisation scared them, but thenhe spoke. "It is I" could be translated I AM, the divine name forGod given to Moses (Exodus 3:13-14). With these words Jesus soughtto reassure them and offer comfort.  

To Ponder

  • How have you heard the voice of Jesus during stormy times?
  • Are there occasions today when the Church risks getting caughtup in the crowd and losing sight of who Jesus is? What might theybe? And how might the Church guard against this?
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