08 January 2011

Matthew 14-16

In today's readings, Jesus feeds a bunch of people (twice!), John the Baptist loses his head, the disciples think Jesus is a ghost, a Canaanite woman receives crumbs from the table (and a healed daughter in the process), and Jesus begins to prepare his disciples for his death. These are some pivotal chapters in Matthew's Gospel.

The story of Jesus walking on the water and his discussion of defilement drew my attention today.

Jesus Walks on the Water (14.22-33)
Jesus sends his disciples across the lake ahead of him and goes to spend time in prayer alone. A storm has come up and the disciples are having trouble rowing the boat across the lake. Jesus, being God and all, strolls out onto the water toward the boat. The disciples see him walking on the water and believe him to be a ghost. He straightens them out and then Mr. Act-First-Think-Later (aka Peter) decides to give water-walking a shot. He does fine until he stops focusing on Jesus and begins to focus on the storm.

As Jesus enters the boat, with a slightly wet and embarrassed Peter, the storm dies down and the disciples begin to get the picture about who Jesus really is. Isn't funny how moments where utter catastrophe can bring out the deepest faith claims of our lives?

That Which Defiles (15.1-20)
I really don't have much commentary on this passage other than to echo Jesus' words to the people listening. I truly believe that the things stored up in our hearts will one day spill over from our mouths - usually when we least expect it - and will cause irrevocable damage to the ones we love, the ones we are in ministry with, or the ones who least deserve to have more damage inflicted upon them.

I strive to live a life that could never be described with his quote from Isaiah 29.13, but I don't always live up to that.

What verse(s) stuck out to you in Matthew 14-16?

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