One of Those Days

Text: Matthew 14:1-36

I.         It is easy to get a distorted view of time while reading the Bible

            A.        We see the highlights over a 4,000+ year period of time and come away thinking that miracles and exciting events happened constantly

            B.        But sometime we read the events in the Gospels and don’t realize all the things that happened in a single day’s time.

                        1.         There were days in Jesus’ life that were a roller coaster ride of wild emotions.

            C.        We are going to examine the events of just one day in Jesus’ life as recorded in:

                        1.         Matthew 14:1-36

                        2.         Mark 6:14-56

                        3.         Luke 9:7-17

                        4.         John 6:1-21

II.        The events

            A.        Prior to this day

                        1.         Jesus sends the twelve out to preach

                        2.         Herod has a birthday party where he offers his daughter anything she wants, up to half his kingdom.

                                    a.         She, with prodding from her mother, asks for the head of John the Baptist. Herod reluctantly agrees.

                                    b.         John had publically declared that Herod’s marriage was immoral in the sight of God and Herodias was looking for revenge.

            B.        Word reaches Jesus on this day that John was murdered - Matthew 14:12

                        1.         John was Jesus’ cousin and the man sent by God to prepare the people of Israel for Jesus’ coming.

                        2.         How would you feel if your cousin died? Not just die, but found out he was murdered. Not just by anyone, but the corrupt, drunken ruler of the nation as a party-favor to please his daughter. [grief]

                        3.         In addition, Herod has heard of Jesus and how much Jesus’ teaching is like John’s teaching.

                                    a.         Herod wants to meet with Jesus - Luke 9:9

                                    b.         Somehow it is doubtful that this would be a social call or a result of a desire to learn from the Messiah. [danger]

                                    c.         What would you do, if you were Jesus?

            C.        Before Jesus can do anything, the disciples return - Mark 6:30

                        1.         They are bubbling with excitement over everything that had happened

                        2.         They can’t wait to tell Jesus all the news.

                        3.         Has this ever happened to you? You are grieving inside, but no one else notices? You need some quiet time, but everyone else is excited and demanding your attention.

                        4.         It is not just the disciples either, a crowd has followed them back to see the Messiah. - Mark 6:31

                        5.         There was so much to do that Jesus and the disciples did not even have time to eat.

            D.        Jesus tries to get some quiet-time with his disciples- Mark 6:32

                        1.         They go off in a boat for a deserted place near Bethsaida - Luke 9:10

                        2.         But the people figured out where he was going and beat Jesus and the disciples there.

                        3.         All Jesus wanted was a moment of peace and what he got was a demanding crowd that couldn’t take a hint!

            E.        Most of us would have gotten angry or have broken down and cried, but Jesus saw something that most of us would miss. (Mark 6:34)

                        1.         We would have been so caught up in our own grief that we would not notice other people’s feelings

                        2.         Jesus saw a need. These people needed help and guidance. Jesus went to work.

                                    a.         Sometimes the best cure for grief is work.

                                                (1)       Elijah - I Kings 19:13-17

                                                            (a)       Elijah was depressed! People were seeking his life. People were not listening to God’s message.

                                                            (b)       God told him to get up, he had work for him to do.

            F.        It began to get dark, and the disciples suggest that Jesus send the people away so they can find food. - John 6:5-9

                        1.         But Jesus turns to them and says “You give them something to eat.”

                        2.         In a sense it was a test. They had been given miraculous powers. They had just come back from a journey where God supplied their every need as they preached the Good News.

                        3.         Instead they chose to complain. “Do you expect us to spend almost a year’s wages to feed this crowd?” Not that they had that kind of money on them, but really Master, be realistic!

                        4.         Can you imagine Jesus’ disappointment in his disciples? They had an opportunity to apply their lessons and to shine, yet they remained blind - seeing only the things immediately around them.

            G.        The crowd is fed, but they are not content

                        1.         Here is the Prophet, the Messiah, our King! - John 6:14-15

                        2.         If Jesus was reluctant, well, they would make him king by force.

                        3.         All this time, Jesus still hasn’t had a moment of peace to deal with his grief.

                        4.         The disciples and the crowds are excited with the power shown (both that day and in the prior days). Here is the moment they have been waiting for!

                        5.         Jesus insists that the disciples get in a boat and row away from the crowds.

                                    a.         He then tells the people to go home.

                                    b.         He then walks away from them all, by himself, and prays

                        6.         Imagine the confusion of the disciples! The perfect opportunity passed up! And then to be sent away! - Matthew 14:22-23

            H.        That night a storm arose while the disciples were making their way across the sea

                        1.         The disciples feared for their lives.

                        2.         Jesus knew their predicament - Mark 6:48

                                    a.         He was out in the storm as well. But he waits until the fourth watch (between 3 and 6 in the morning).

                                    b.         The disciples have been battling the storm all night. They are three or four miles from shore in a severe storm! - John 6:18-19

                                    c.         Wondering why Jesus doesn’t notice their distress. Wondering why Jesus, who calmed the sea earlier, doesn’t do something!

                        3.         Is that not how we react? We want God to see our problems and do something about them right now! Yet, sometimes God lets us struggle with them for a while. Perhaps longer than we care to deal with them, because the very struggle is teaching us - James 1:2-4

                                    a.         We pray for patience and God gives it to us by teaching us, but often we do not like the lesson. We learn by overcoming problems.

                        4.         Jesus walks out to the disciples and would have passed by, but they see him.

                                    a.         The disciples are terrified. Their boat is sinking. They are far from shore in the middle of a storm. And now a being is moving across the water - a ghost!

                                    b.         By Jesus calms their fears, assuring them it is he.

                                    c.         Peter cries out “If it is really you, command me to come to you!”

                                                (1)       Peter is not testing Jesus.

                                                (2)       He is scared. Where he is at seems to be sure death.

                                                (3)       Where the Master is safety. Peter is wanting to clinging to someone who can save him.

                                                (4)       At first it works, until Peter’s fears makes him think of what he is doing!

                                    d.         Jesus rescues Peter, scolding him for his lack of faith.

                                    e.         Instantly the sea is calm, as if there never was a storm! I’m sure the disciples wondered if they just imagined it, other than they were soaking wet.

                        5.         Now they fall down and worship him - Matthew 14:33

                                    a.         The feeding of the 5000 did not impress them as much as their rescue from the sea - Mark 6:51-52.

                                                (1)       This was amazing! This was impressive!

                                    b.         Why is that?

                                                (1)       It was their life that was on the line!

                                                (2)       This was personal! Jesus had snatched them from the brink of death.

                                    c.         Sometimes we need a severe shock to see what was always there.

III.       The application

            A.        God never promised his followers a life without grief.

                        1.         In fact, we are promised quite the opposite - Luke 9:23-24

                        2.         We are going to face days, just as Jesus did, that are emotional roller-coasters.

                        3.         We are going to face disappointment in God when He doesn’t match our expectation of him, just as the disciples did.

                        4.         We are going to face problems and trials where it looks like God has abandoned us, just as the disciples did.

            B.        Will your faith carry you through? Will you lean on God or cry out against Him?

            C.        What will it take to get you to realize how much you need a savior? Come out of your shell of self-reliance.