InTouch.org with Dr. Charles Stanley
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Read | Matthew 14:22-34
John the Baptist Beheaded
1At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the news about Jesus, 2and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” 3For when Herod had John arrested, he bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. 4For John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5Although Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded John as a prophet. 6But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod, 7so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8Having been prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 9Although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oaths, and because of his dinner guests. 10He sent and had John beheaded in the prison. 11And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12His disciples came and took away the body and buried it; and they went and reported to Jesus.
Five Thousand Fed
13Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 14When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. 15When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” 17They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” 18And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” 19Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, 20and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. 21There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.
Jesus Walks on the Water
22Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 23After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 24But the boat was already [a]a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25And in the [b]fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.
27But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” 28Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”
34When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret.
35And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick; 36and they implored Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured.
No one gets through life without trials. Realistically, you are either in a storm, just getting out of a one, or about to enter a turbulent time. That is the bad news. Thankfully, we serve a good God who provides beautifully—especially during the dark periods of life.
Today’s passage tells of a stormy night on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus provides for us today just as He did for His disciples in that unsettling situation. Today, we will focus on ways that He does this.
First, the Father gives Christians His presence and the promise that He will never leave (Heb. 13:5-6). This is, perhaps, the greatest gift because from this awareness, He offers a sense of comfort, courage, and confidence.
Second, the Lord blesses His children with a pathway through trouble. He is in total control of our storm and will use the trial for His purpose. We may not understand, but we can trust His hand to guide us and accomplish good. Sometimes the reason and benefit of a difficulty will becomes obvious, while in other cases, it may never be clear.
Third, the Father offers believers the potential to grow. Hardships are exercises in trust and times to learn more fully who God is and how great His power and love are.
No one enjoys trials. But remember to express gratitude for God’s hand in your life and the way He will use the adversity. Hardships are chances to trust your Creator and to know Him better. Of course, they are painful, but don’t waste the opportunity to become all the Lord has planned for you.