Always look at the context as you ponder ministry in God’s Kingdom

Yes, Jesus fed the 5,000.  Yes, he walked on the water, even beckoning Peter walk on the water, too.  These are amazing events.  Both are recorded in Matthew 14.

But look at the context.  Look at the whole scene.

1.  At the beginning of Matthew 14 John the Baptist gets beheaded.  Yes, the one of whom it was said, “Of those born of a woman none is greater that John the Baptist.”

2.  Jesus loved John.  John was in prison wondering if he had somehow missed the boat when Jesus sent word that the Kingdom was advancing … the blind were being healed, the lame were walking.  “Hang in there, John.  The kingdom is advancing!”

3.  And now the beheading.  Hang in there?  Excuse me?  When he hears of this, Jesus immediately dismisses the crowd and goes to a remote, lonely place to pray, to grieve, to quiet his spirit, to wonder, but not to deny reality — John really had died! Period! One can only imagine Jesus’ prayers in those hours.  But the clamoring crowd soon found Jesus and he cared for them, feeding 5,000. 

4.  But again, please don’t miss the context.  Jesus loved John the Baptist.  He did not condemn John for doubting when John was is in prison.  Rather, Jesus says, “This man is the greatest.”  And the greatest one just got beheaded.  Put yourself in the scene … the grieving, the sorrow, the reality of pain and anguish Jesus surely instantly experienced in the very midst of an incredible ministry. Do you get this?  Do you feel this tension? Jesus never denied reality! 

5.  Here is what Jesus said next — The one who is the least in the kingdom now is greater than John.  Really?  Yes, we serve a risen Lord, and that risen Lord is in the world today!  In the world and inside of us!!

6.  Today may you know the hope to which you have been called, the glorious riches of your inheritance, and the power available for us who believe and who desire to live a victorious life.  May we all quiet our spirit enough to know these truths.  Oh, may we know this when fear and doubt come knocking at our door.

7.  So, whatever happens to you today, nothing will separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Nothing!  “Take courage,” Jesus said to the disciples who saw him walking on the water, “It is I.”  Friends, Jesus is in our midst…This very day! Aren’t you so glad?

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