Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed. Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,
(Matthew 14:33-36, 15:1 ESV)
Yesterday we read the story of Peter walking on water. The response of the disciples was that they worshiped Jesus, convinced that He was the Son of God. This is the first time we see the disciples starting to understand who Jesus was. As we learned a while back, if God is deity then His son must be deity as well. So here the disciples are recognizing that Jesus is God. Notice that Jesus does not correct them.
Jesus’ actions and reactions – or lack thereof – demonstrate not only who He was but who He thought He was. Jesus never declined worship and never denied that He was the Son of God, thereby tacitly stating that He was God [Matthew 28:9, John 9:37-39].
But there are two other reactions to Jesus in this passage, from the people and the Phariseess. Each had their own idea of who Jesus was.
The boat Jesus and the disciples were in landed at Gennesaret where Jesus was recognized by the men who were farming in the area who sent word to all the surrounding country of Jesus’ arrival. The people then swarmed upon Jesus to be healed. They were quite superstitious – they believed all they had to do was touch the edge of His cloak.
Notice that these people sought only a superficial relationship with Jesus. They were unaware and/or didn’t care about their need for their souls to be healed, they only wanted their temporary earthly bodies to be healed. And while that is not a bad thing, it reveals that their interests were selfish.
If you study the interaction of the general population with Jesus you see that they were very self-centered. They only wanted to be served by Him. They didn’t want to be taught. They were not interested in anything He might say that would make them feel uncomfortable. There was never any show of gratitude. Nevertheless, Jesus always had compassion on them and healed them all.
The final reaction we see in this passage is from the Pharisees. We’ll study this further over the next two days, but for now notice that these men came from Jerusalem.
Jerusalem was quite a ways from Gennesaret. We know from John’s gospel that these events took place during Passover season when people traveled toward Jerusalem, not away from it [John 6:1-21]. The fact that these leaders came all this way at this time of year reveals the urgency they had in meeting Jesus. Likely, they were more senior Pharisees who were summoned by the local Pharisees who didn’t know how to handle Jesus.
But as we’ll learn, they did not consider Jesus to be God, as the disciples did. Nor did they believe Jesus could heal them, as the crowd did. They considered Him to be a fraud.
People today have these three same opinions of Jesus. Some only want Him to provide for their needs and wants. Others reject Him completely, despite the evidence of who He was. And some, the smallest group, recognize Him for who He truly is: God in the flesh.
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