Jesus Walks On Water

Don’t Jump To Quickly!!!!

Now that I stopped you from leaping to your doom, let me explain.

In Bible study we often jump much too quickly to the application of a text. We make this jump well before we have established the meaning of the passage we are studying. This is a normal mistake and one that is very easy to make. We want the Bible to speak to our lives, so we try to get it to that point as quickly as we can.

Our passage this week from Matthew 14 is one of those stories that is often the victim of being pushed toward application too quickly. Jesus walks on the water, calls Peter out of the boat, enters the boat, and the storm subsides.

Before we can say that Jesus has the storms of your life under his feet and that he can calm the raging seas of your heart, we must look at the original meaning of the text. What was Matthew trying to get his readers to see by including this story in his gospel?

The key is found in verses 27 and 33.

In 14:27, Jesus proclaims his deity by saying of himself, “It is I.” The structure of this statement is connected to God’s declaration of his name to Moses in Exodus 3:14, “I AM WHO I AM.” So when Jesus says, “It is I,” we could translate it as, “It is I AM.” Jesus is saying to the frightened disciples, “Don’t be afraid. I am God.”

In 14:33, the disciples proclaim Jesus’ deity when they say, “Truly you are the Son of God.” So what they witnessed while on that boat made them believe and declare that Jesus was God.

So the point of this passage is to tell us clearly that Jesus is God. That is the meaning of the text. Now, a very appropriate application is that he is in control of your situations and circumstances. He can bring calm to the storm in your life. Or he may send you out into the boat to experience the storm for a while so that you will see him as the only source of hope for you (see Peter getting out of the boat).

So keep bringing your class to the meaning before you bring them to the application.

Psalm 18:16 – He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters

Psalm 23:2 – He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.

Psalm 65:7 – who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples,

Psalm 69:1 – To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. Of David. Save me, O God! For the watershave come up to my neck.

Psalm 69:2 – I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.

Psalm 69:14 – Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.

Psalm 77:16 – When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled.

Psalm 89:9 – You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.

Psalm 144:7 – Stretch out your hand from on high; rescue me and deliver me from the many waters, from the hand of foreigners,

Revelation 13:1 – And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.

Revelation 21:1 – Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

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Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

Bread is everything.

If you lived in the Middle East during the first century, the above statement would have been true for you. Bread was, and still is, the staple of a middle eastern diet. And in Jesus’ day, you needed new bread everyday. You couldn’t run out to your local Publix and buy two loaves to get you through the next several days.

You needed daily bread, and if you didn’t get it, you were hungry.

In Matthew 14, Jesus meets the need of thousands of people by providing their daily bread for them (and a little bit of fish, too). He performs this miracle to meet the physical needs of the crowd, to be sure. But more so, he performs this miracle to say something about his own identity.

In John 6, Jesus told the crowds that he was, in fact, the Bread of Life that had come down from heaven. So as he gave the crowds what they needed in order for their physical needs to be satisfied, he also made sure they knew that he was what they needed for their spiritual needs to be satisfied.

Just as bread was an absolute necessity to give someone physical life, Jesus is an absolute necessity to give someone spiritual life.

Jesus Turns Water Into Wine

Why did Jesus turn water into wine at a private wedding celebration?

It is important ask why Jesus did anything at all.

He was purposeful in all that he did. As he attended the wedding celebration in John 2, and as need presented itself, and as his mother petitioned him to act, and as a few servants witnessed his miraculous power, Jesus acted purposefully.

His purpose in working this miracle was to show his glory. This was the first sign recorded in John’s gospel that pointed to the identity and work of Jesus as the Son of God. So doing something as simple as turning water into wine (simple for Jesus anyway) began to pull the curtain back on who he truly was and what he came to do.

I share in the video this week that I think there are two highly significant images here in this miracle. The first image is that of great blessing when the Messianic age begins. We see this connection in Amos 9 when Amos speaks of the wine flowing down from the mountains. The blessing of that Messianic age is symbolized in the abundance of wine, one of the great crops of Israel. As Jesus provides an abundance of wine at this wedding feast, it is as if he is saying that the time of Messianic blessing is beginning…in him.

Secondly, the image of the wedding feast is quite important to us as Christians. Revelation 19 uses the imagery of a wedding feast to symbolize the joy and celebration involved in the full consummation of the Kingdom of God. When God makes all things right through Christ, the elect of God shall be welcomed to the wedding supper of the Lamb. And, in fact, we won’t just be guests. We will be the honored bride. His church will participate in the celebration for the church is the bride of Christ.

So as Jesus is starting out in his public ministry, he is revealing his glory, which points to his identity as the Messiah and turns our hope to the future marriage supper of the Lamb.

And remember, as Messiah, as the one who would save, he would give his life. In order to purify his bride and make her ready for the marriage supper, he would give his life. So even from the beginning of his ministry, the reality of death and resurrection is in the mind of our Lord.

 

The Wicked Tenants

“I’m warning you…”

A lot of times I hear beleaguered parents say that phrase to their children when little Johnny or little Sally once again refuses to listen to simple instructions. Just this week I was witness to an interaction like this. I half smiled and half frowned as it seemed pretty evident that the warnings that mom was issuing would not amount to much of anything. It was almost silly to listen to mom threaten her daughter with ambiguous warnings, while her daughter’s reaction made it clear that she wasn’t worried one bit about what mom had planned.

Don’t let our failures as parents shape your view of God. When God gives a warning, he is serious about following through on it. There is no doubt. And because we know that he will follow through on it, we can see the warning as an act of grace. By warning us now, he keeps us from greater consequences later.

This week we study the parable of the wicked tenants. God sent his prophets to warn the people of Israel that they were not living the way that he made them to live. They were not following the commands of God, thus they were not producing the righteous fruit that they were intended to produce.

The message of the parable is that if you refuse to hear and heed God’s warnings, eventually there are no more warnings to give. The last step is simply judgment. The doctrine of personal judgment is not a popular one for it ends in an eternal hell. But even understanding that truth is, in a sense, a grace-filled warning from God for us to turn away from sin and turn to him.

The link to the video about the supposed differences in God between the OT and NT can be found here.