We are basically halfway into The Gospel of Matthew!
We have the death of John the Baptist
IT IS REMARKABLE!!
Yesterday we had The Parable of the Sower
There are some people who hear the Word and they like it, it springs up really quickly
There are others who hear the word and they like it, but they have worldly anxieties and other things that choke the word
Herod is kind of the incarnation of these things
So Herod hated the fact that John the Baptist convicted him of his sin
He liked listening to John the Baptist
He wanted to kill him
But at the same time, he was COMPELLED by him
He was STUCK in this place of SIN
THAT CAN BE SO MANY OF US!!
We HATE the fact that here we are, sinning
And we just can’t take that step to FREE OURSELVES
We just can’t take that step to ALLOW THE LORD TO FREE US
Here is Herod and it ends in the tragedy of the death of John the Baptist
Even worse, it ends with the tragedy of Herod’s own life ending
Moving on, we have two different feedings of the multitudes
The Feeding of the Five Thousand with 12 wicker baskets of leftovers (To be made into a casserole, I imagine 😋😋😋)
The Feeding of the Four Thousand with 7 wicker baskets of leftovers (To be made into bread pudding is my guess 🤔)
One thing we need to say is that Jesus is doing miracles ALL OVER THE PLACE
HE IS HEALING PEOPLE
HE IS CASTING OUT DEMONS
THIS IS REMARKABLE!
HE IS ALSO FEEDING PEOPLE!!
Remember how Jesus is the prophet Elisha
BOTH OF THESE PEOPLE FED MULTITUDES WITH A LIMITED AMOUNT OF FOOD
In those stories of Elijah and Elisha, these are not stories of sharing
If you ever hear the miracle of the feeding the 5,000 or the feeding of the 4,000, when the little boy in the other Gospel was willing to give his 5 loaves and 2 fish and then the remaining people felt compelled to share their own food too, if you ever hear anyone interpret it like that...THEY ARE WRONG
IT IS COMPLETELY WRONG
It is a nice idea
THAT IS NOT THE POINT, THAT JESUS INSPIRES PEOPLE TO SHARE
The point is that Jesus is the FULFILLMENT of the prophets of old
GOSH YOU GUYS!!
Not only that, Jesus is the TRUE SON OF GOD
WHO HAS POWER OVER MATTER
WHO HAS POWER OVER LIFE
WHO HAS POWER OVER EVERYTHING
AND HE CAN MULTIPLY THIS FOOD!!
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!
It is a nice little idea that Jesus teaches people how to share
He taught me how to share
So did my mom and dad
My mom and dad ARE NOT God
JESUS IS GOD!!
There is nothing more infuriating than when people want to ROB Jesu of his DIVINITY by saying this piece was a “miracle of sharing”
LET’S MOVE ON!!
So we not only have Jesus MIRACULOUSLY feeding 5,000
HE ALSO WALKS ON THE SEA!!
But you know, there was a sandbar underneath where he was walking so it wasn’t really a miracle 🤪
Or he was just swimming, you know….🤪
DONE WITH THE SARCASM!!
So Jesus walking on water WAS A MIRACLE
We love how Matthew recounts this in the Gospel
THE WIND WAS AGAINST THEM
THE WAVES WERE AGAINST THEM
WHEN THEY SAW JESUS, THEY THOUGHT IT WAS A GHOST AND CRIED OUT IN FEAR
IMMEDIATELY JESUS SPEAKS TO THEM IN A PLACE OF FEAR!!
IMMEDIATELY JESUS SPEAKS TO THEM IN A PLACE WHERE THEY COULD DIE!!
People die in the Sea of Galilee all the time in these types of storms
Jesus says to them, “TAKE HEART. IT IS I. HAVE NO FEAR.”
Into those places in our lives where we are afraid FOR A GREAT REASON
Sometimes we are not just afraid
We are sometimes tempted to be FRUSTRATED WITH GOD
The reason why they were out in the storm in the middle of the night was because Jesus told them to get into the boat and go out onto the lake
So you could imagine people being a little resentful
“The only reason I’m out in a storm right now is because Jesus told me to go out into the storm. So now I’m not only afraid. I’m also maybe angry.”
Jesus says, “TAKE HEART. IT IS I. HAVE NO FEAR.”
Simon Peter says, “Lord if it is you, command me to walk on the water with you, like you do it.”
THIS IS REALLY INCREDIBLE!!
Jeff Cavins has made this point SO MANY TIMES
A lot of times when we follow Jesus as Christians we think that means that I BELIEVE in Jesus
IT DOES MEAN THAT
We think that it means I THINK like Jesus
IT DOES MEAN THAT
It also means that WE ARE CALLED TO DO WHAT JESUS DOES
So here is Simon who says, “Lord, if you are the Rabbi and I am the student, if you are the teacher and I am the disciple, and the goal is for the disciple is to be able to do what the Rabbi does, then command me to come out to you on the water. Is that true? Or is it just like ‘No it’s you and we are just surrounding you and that’s all this is?’”
And Jesus says, “Come!”
WHICH IS AMAZING!!
Jesus doesn’t say, “Are you kidding me, Simon? In a second I’m going to name you ‘Rock’ and rocks don’t walk on water!” 🤣
Jesus says, “Come!”
Simon does THE IMPOSSIBLE, FOR A MOMENT
Yes he sinks
Yes Jesus rebukes him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
THERE WAS A MOMENT THERE WHEN SIMON PETER WAS WALKING ON WATER!!
WHEN HE WAS DOING SOMETHING IMPOSSIBLE!!
THIS IS WHAT WE ARE CALLED TO!!
WHEN WE ARE FOLLOWING AFTER JESUS, WE ARE CALLED TO NOT SIMPLY DO WHAT WE CAN ALREADY DO ON OUR OWN POWER
WE ARE CALLED TO DO WHAT WE CAN NEVER DO ON OUR OWN POWER!!
WE ARE CALLED TO LOVE IN A WAY THAT WE CAN NEVER LOVE IF IT WAS JUST US!!
WE ARE CALLED TO LIVE IN A WAY THAT WE CAN NEVER LIVE IF IT WAS JUST US!!
THIS IS JUST REMARKABLE!!
Matthew Ch 15 is The Tradition of the Elders
It is such an important thing
Matthew 15:2, “Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.”
One of the things that happened was the command of the Law of Moses was that you would purify yourself before you made your offering in the Temple
So the Pharisees were not trying to be bad guys
They basically said, “Well that’s good. If it’s good that we purify ourselves when we enter the Temple, then why don’t we just purify ourselves all the time? Like when we eat food, when we go to bed, when we get up in the morning?”
So they were trying to extend the GOOD THINGS of the Temple into the rest of their life
THIS IS A GOOD THING
They also ADDED some things that were meant to be OPTIONAL that they did instead of doing what was ESSENTIAL
So one of the things was, “Ok if I take my money and I dedicate it to God, then now that money is set aside for God. I get to use it however I want (which is completely backwards) rather than taking care of my parents.”
And we know that the Fourth Commandment is Honoring our Father and Mother
They were trying to avoid the ESSENTIAL commandment, taking care of their parents, by electing to do this OPTIONAL counsel of dedicating one’s property to God
So many of us are tempted to do this
I WILL DO EVERYTHING BUT…
I WILL DO EVERYTHING BUT WHAT GOD IS ASKING ME TO DO
WE CAN FALL INTO THAT TRAP
In Matthew Ch 16 we see Jesus going up to Caesarea Philippi
We talked about this before when we were going through The Book of Isaiah
Jesus leads the disciples to Caesarea Philippi which is about 29 miles north of Capernaum, where they were living
So they were going on this 29 mile hike north, so that means they were going uphill too…(Dad joke here...I don’t get it but that’s probably because I’m not a dad 🤪)
So they get to Caesarea Philippi
If you ever go there, in the Holy Land, one of the things you realize is that Caesarea Philippi has this incredibly massive rock
It’s like massive cliffs, hundreds of feet tall
Built into this rock are churches, essentially temples
Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?”
Simon says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Jesus responds, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona (son of Jona)! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter (Rock), and on this rock I will build my Church.”
THIS IS REMARKABLE!!
Jesus did not have POWERPOINT so he had to walk all the way up to Caesarea Philippi to give this POWERFUL TEACHING
“Yes, that is correct. And now you, Simon, are now ROCK, or CEPHAS, or PETER, and just like you see behind me, there are churches built into THIS rock. I will build MY CHURCH and the Gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”
We have talked about this being the case for the Role of the Pope
We talked about this when we read Isaiah (Do you remember when? Go back and read Day 201: Keys to the Kingdom for a review of what we have learned before 😁)
The Al Habayit
“I will give you the keys. What you open, none shall shut. What you shut, none shall open.”
The Gates of Hell, or the Gates of Hades in our translation, WILL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT
That means that Hell WILL NOT DESTROY THE CHURCH
EVEN IF THE CHURCH GETS REALLY BAD HELL CANNOT POSSIBLY DESTROY THE CHURCH
THAT IS NOT WHAT JESUS IS SAYING!!
Jesus is saying, “The Gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
Which means not that the Gates of Hades are ATTACKING the Church!
The Gates of Hades will not be able to PREVENT THE CHURCH FROM OVERTAKING HELL!!
WILL NOT PREVENT GOD’S POWER, HIS KINGDOM ON EARTH, FROM DESTROYING THE KINGDOM OF THE EVIL ONE WITH HIS POWER!!
IT IS NOT A DEFENSIVE POSITION!!
IT IS AN OFFENSIVE POSITION!!
WHICH IS INCREDIBLE!!
You and I have been brought into THIS CHURCH
You and I have been made MEMBERS OF THE BODY OF CHRIST
You and I have been made SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF OUR FATHER
Yes, there is this DEFENSIVE PROMISE that GOD IS WITH US
GOD IS FOR US
GOD LOVES US
GOD CARES FOR US
There is this OFFENSIVE POSTURE that we have
Where does GOD’S LIGHT need to be shined?
Where does GOD’S GRACE need to be revealed?
Where does GOD’S HOPE need to be proclaimed?
Where does GOD’S LOVE need to be brought?
Because there are A LOT of places WITHOUT LOVE in our world
Because there are A LOT of places WITHOUT HOPE in our world
Because there are A LOT of places WITHOUT LIGHT in our world
So if we, THE MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH, are meant to be on the OFFENSIVE where the Gates of Hell cannot prevail against it…
Where can you and I bring LIGHT today where there is NO LIGHT?
Where can you and I bring HOPE today where there is NO HOPE?
Where can you and I bring LOVE today where there is NO LOVE?
THAT COULD BE IN THE LIFE OF THE PERSON SITTING NEXT TO US
THAT COULD BE IN THE LIFE OF THE PERSON DOWN THE HALLWAY FROM US
THAT COULD BE SOMEONE NOT JUST IN ANOTHER TOWN, ANOTHER STATE, OR ANOTHER COUNTRY
IT COULD BE A PERSON UNDER THE SAME ROOF AS ME
THAT IS SOMETHING TO PRAY ABOUT
OK YOU GUYS!!
Here we are at the end of Day 262
WHAT A GIFT!!
FR. MIKE IS PRAYING FOR YOU!!
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER