New Testament in 6 months – day 11

12 Apr

Still running a day behind. Might have to wait until Sunday to catch up.

Matthew 14:1-36
At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered him a prophet. On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for them and pleased Herod so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus. When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish, ” they answered. “Bring them here to me, ” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost, ” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you, ” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come, ” he said.Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith, ” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.

The first thing that jumped out at me was the whilst Jesus’ reaction to the death of John, His cousin, was to go and find some time in private, when the crowds come looking for Him He looks on them with compassion, even though it is He who probably needs it more in grieving for the loss of a family member.
The second thing I noticed was that, when we get to the “feeding of the 5000” (more likely at least double that number if the women and children are included) Jesus just tells the disciples to feed the crowd. And when they say that they only have 5 loaves and 2 fish Jesus asks them to give Him the food, He breaks the loaves (but not the fish) and then gives it to them to hand out, with no explanation as to how it will spread out beyond a dozen or so people. I can almost imagine the disciples looking at each other in bemusement as Jesus directs them to to it, expecting to run out almost immediately. I wonder at what point they started to realise that they were feeding more people than was possible?
And then we have Jesus walking on water. But what sticks out for me is that when Jesus sends the disciples ahead there is no recorded question from them about how He was planning on joining them. I mean, it is possible that they might think He would get another boat over, but what would be the point in doing that when they already had a boat there? He could walk around the lake, but it would take a long time to do that, so they would be waiting a long time for Jesus to arrive. But they still left Jesus there on His own to dismiss the crowd.

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Archbishop Cranmer

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