It has been far too long since we last shared our Wednesday Gospel Bible study. For that, I apologize. As we continue our walk through the Gospel According to Matthew, we pick up where we left off last time in Matthew 14.
Today, we will be looking at some of the miraculous works performed by our Lord Jesus Christ. John the Baptist has been executed at the command of Herod the tetrarch. His disciples buried the body and then told Jesus of what had taken place.
Matthew 14:13-21 (ESV) | Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Our Lord Jesus Christ withdrew to a desolate place of solitude. The crowds followed him on foot and He had compassion on them and healed their sick. What follows is a lesson for the disciples… feed My sheep (John 21:15-19). Jesus is demonstrating to them that God will provide for what He commands His people to do. This translates directly to our command to make disciples of all nations. We only have what we have been given, and as we give of that, He will provide the increase. This is central to what it means to be a good and faithful steward of God’s Word. This also extends into the very idea of Christian works… it is by God’s grace alone that we are able to do good works. Once they had been fed, Jesus sends the disciples across the water while He dismisses the crowds. What happens next is awesome.
Matthew 14:22-33 (ESV) | Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land,beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
The ability to perform miraculous signs and wonders isn’t something Jesus “had”, it was grounded in Who He Is. The disciples needed to know this, understand it, and teach it. Notice that nowhere in this section nor in the remainder of the New Testament are we commanded to walk on water, or challenged to try it ourselves… no where. Don’t let anyone misrepresent the purpose of this passage in that way.
Matthew 14:34-36 (ESV) | Jesus Heals the Sick in Gennesaret
34 And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick 36 and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.
I wonder if the people of Gennesaret obtained faith in hearing of the woman who was healed by touching the fringe of Jesus’ garment.
Matthew 9:18-26 (ESV) | A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed
18 While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. 20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. 23 And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, 24 he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. 25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 And the report of this went through all that district.
The request of the people of Gennesaret is interesting, but their faith was in Jesus Christ and His power to heal. Please don’t mistake the request as being formulaic (if we just do xyz then we can secure our healing); rather, I believe it to be one of humility. They were unclean, and wished to be healed.
Until Next Week
Please pray for our family as we do some more traveling. In our next Gospel Wednesday we will move into a key conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees regarding the Law of God versus the doctrines of men. Very important for us to pay attention to what is being taught there. I hope you’ll join us.
Jude 1:24-25 (ESV) | Doxology
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
In Christ Jesus,