Reflection on Matthew 14:22-33

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+14:22-33

Scripture

When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”

Observation

After they have fed the 5000, Jesus sends the people home. He then tells the disciples to cross the lake in the boat while He goes into the hills to pray.

During the night a storm arises, and the disciples are struggling against the big waves. Jesus comes towards them walking on the water. The disciples, terrified, think it’s a ghost. Jesus speaks to them and tells them not to be afraid.

Peter tells Jesus to command him to walk on the water. He gets out of the boat, but fear causes him to sink. Jesus grabs him, and they climb into the boat. Then the wind stops, and the disciples worship Jesus.

Application

Faith enables awesome miracles. But fear kills faith and so blocks the miracles.

When I focus on the physical world or the circumstances around me, I can easily be gripped with fear, or its little brother, anxiety.

Terror, fear, anxiety, worry- whatever name we give it- looks at the potential for suffering. Faith looks at the potential for God’s grace to be manifested.

We might believe the miracles of Scripture are real, but still fail to believe that God is right here with me now. Many people believe that God heals, but they lack the faith to claim their own healing.

Often it is fear that God will not come through for them that stops them from asking. Sometimes it is fear of rebuke that stops us from offering to pray with a friend.

Imagine if Moses had let fear stop him at the Red Sea or if David had been afraid of Goliath. All the people Jesus healed had to ask and believe- what if they had let fear stop them?

When the storms rage I need to keep my eyes on Jesus.

Prayer

Lord please help me to always trust you no matter what is happening in my life. Amen.

Reflection on Matthew 14:13-21

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+14.13-21

Scripture

Taking the five loaves and the two fish, Jesus looked up to heaven and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and then the disciples gave them to the crowds.

Observation

Having heard of John the Baptist’s death at the hands of Herod, Jesus goes away to be alone. The crowds follow Him, and moved with compassion, He starts to heal them.

As the day goes on, the disciples tell Jesus that He should send the people away to get food. Jesus tells them they can feed them. All they have is five loaves and two fish, nowhere near enough. Jesus blesses the food, breaks it and gives it to the disciples to distribute.

When the people are fed there is more left over than when they started.

Application

God’s economic system is different to ours. He is not limited by lack, but He turns lack into abundance.

The disciples start off with a boy’s lunch and feed ten thousand people with it and end up with much more then they had to start with.

When we are following Jesus, inadequate resources are not a limitation but an opportunity for a miracle. The problem is that we often focus on what we don’t have instead of on what God can provide.

Here are the ingredients necessary for a miracle to take place:

  • A need. People need food. God will not step in where there is no need.

  • Availability. The disciples had a little and were willing to bring that to Jesus to use.

  • Worship. Jesus took the bread, blessed it and broke it. This is a reference to Communion. When our hearts are focused on worshipping Jesus, any thing is possible.

  • Obedience. The miracle took place in the disciples’ hands as they stepped out in faith.

I have seen these miracles take place as the Lord has provided for my family and my church in very special ways. He is always faithful and just needs us to trust Him to provide all that we need, regardless of how much we have in our hands.

Prayer

Thank you Lord for your amazing provision and your awesome miracles. Thank you for providing more than enough. Please help me to trust you in every moment of my life. Amen.

Reflection on Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+13:1-9,18-23

Scripture

He told them many things in parables, saying “Listen! A sower went out to sow.”

Observation

Jesus is surrounded by many people, so He goes on to a boat to preach. He tells the crowds the story of a sower who sows seed onto four different types of soil- a path, rocky soil, weedy soil and good soil. These different soils produce different yields.

He then explains to His disciples that the seed represents the word, while the soils represent the hearts of men. While many obstacles might prevent people from taking hold of the gospel, the ones who do run with it yield a huge return for God’s kingdom.

Application

Jesus tells us to Listen! He is still telling us to listen.

There are many people wanting us to listen- musicians, entertainers, advertisers, politicians, activists.

There is much talking past each other, but precious little listening.

To listen means that we value someone, that they are worth the time and that their words and thoughts are important to us.

This morning I spent two hours listening to an inter-state truck driver. He loves the Lord but struggles with anxiety from time to time. This morning he needed to be listened to and encouraged in his dreams and visions for the future.

We also need to listen to Jesus. He is talking to us all the time- directing, encouraging, building up. We need to hear His voice in our daily life.

It is hard to remember to listen to Jesus because He doesn’t always get in our face and shout “Listen to me!” We hear Him in the Scriptures, in the words of others and in the quiet voice in our heart.

Jesus says “Listen!”

Prayer

Lord help me to be still and listen. Speak to me so that I can lean my life on your wisdom. Amen.

Reflection on Matthew 11:16-30

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11.16-30

Scripture

My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Observation

Jesus compares the generation to children complaining that their friends don’t dance to wedding songs or mourn for funeral songs. They rejected John as being demonised because he fasted, but criticise Jesus for being a “glutton.” He then passes judgement on the towns that had rejected Him despite the miracles He performed there.

The Father has entrusted all things to the Son. Only the Father and Son know each other, apart from those to whom the Son reveals them. Jesus then invites all who are burdened to come to Him and enter His rest.

Application

There are people who believe that they can work out salvation on their own terms. Some people think that they can encounter God through nature.

Jesus says that we can’t work it out on our own. Sure, we might be able to figure out who God is and what He is like, but we cannot enter into an intimate relationship with the Father unless we get that revelation from the Son.

He then invites all who are burdened to come to Him. The revelation of the Father being talked about here is not a mystical vision given to a select few. It is the ability and desire to receive Christ’s invitation to fellowship.

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is the only way to the Father. There is no other means of salvation.

All we need is the faith to say “Yes” to Jesus.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I thank you that you welcome all who say “Yes” to you. Help me to live in an ever deeper fellowship with you and the Father in the grace of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Reflection on Matthew 10:40-42

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+10.40-42

Scripture

Whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple- truly I tell you none of these will lose their reward.”

Observation

Jesus says that whoever welcomes us welcomes Him and the Father. Likewise anyone who welcomes a prophet or righteous person in His name will receive the reward of that person. Just serving an “insignificant” christian will bring eternal reward.

Application

God delights in blessing His faithful servants far beyond our ability to fathom. Jesus is saying here that if you welcome a prophet in His name, or a righteous person, you get the same reward they get in heaven.

So if I welcome Prophet Bigboots into my home and share with him, I get his reward in heaven. If he is going to get a mansion, I get one too just by being his friend.

Even if I just share a cup of coffee with Brother Unknown or Sister Hasnothing, I get an eternal reward for that act of kindness, which nothing can take away.

We really don’t know who is important in God’s kingdom. Abraham unwittingly served lunch to the Trinity. So this person of poor means in front of me today could be the leader of a revival tomorrow- or maybe not.

When Jesus is saying there is a reward for people who show hospitality or love to other christians He is really saying this: when you share your life with other people, regardless of their status, you are showing that your heart is with me.

This little passage puts meat onto the commandment of Jesus, “A new commandment I give you that you love one another as I have loved you.” It shows us what christian community is about.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, help me to take on board what it means to give a drink to the “little ones.” Show me how to share my abundance with your people. Amen.