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God Cares Deeply For Each & Every Person On This Earth


Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel. Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.
(Matthew 15:29-39 ESV)


Jesus was God on earth. When we look at Jesus we see God. By studying His life and the way He interacted with people we learn what God is like.

In today’s passage Jesus healed the blind, the crippled, and the mute. He was concerned because the people were hungry and might faint on their long journey home. Jesus never turned anyone way who came to Him. This is exactly how God has operated from the beginning of time right up until the present.

God is a God of compassion. He cares about the people He has created. He feels our pain. When we hurt He hurts. It makes Him sad to see us sad.

We were created to enjoy life. God did not create us to suffer. But we do as a result of our own decisions to live apart from Him. Yet God is always ready, willing, and able to solve our problems if we simply come to him and lay our problems at His feet. That is, if we give up control of them and let Him handle them for us.

Time and time again we see people do this in the Bible [Matthew 21:28; Mark 2:1-12 et. al]. These are the people who get their problems solved. Those who won’t give up control to Jesus walk away disappointed [Mark 10:17-22]. There is no other remedy to our problems than Jesus.

Government can’t solve our problems. It is made up of flawed, imperfect thinking and acting human beings. Money can’t solve our problems. It usually only creates more of them. Neither can sex, drugs, nor alcohol. They can only make us forget our problems for just a little while.

Only God can cure us. But He isn’t going to do it against our will. We need to come to Him, acknowledge Him for who He is – our benevolent, loving Father who wants to take care of us and give us the best He has to offer.

But human pride keeps us from doing that. We’d rather live apart from Him like an rebellious teenager who thinks they have all the answers. And that is why the world is a mess and is only getting worse. Nothing good can come apart from God [James 1:17].

As we read the life of Jesus we see that God cares about every aspect of our life. He cares about our spiritual needs. He cares about our physical afflictions. And He cares our routine, daily needs. He cares about everything from the mundane to the eternal.

Not only that, but He cares about all people no matter what their background or lifestyle. He cares about the Jew and the Gentile, the male and the female, the gay and the straight. There is no one on earth whose hurt God does not see and whose hurt He does not want to erase.

When people in need came to Jesus, He acted to solve their issues. God’s compassion motivates Him to act. Caring is not simply feeling. It is doing.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.

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Great Faith Leads To Great Reward


And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
(Matthew 15:21-28 ESV)


Today we conclude our three-day study of this passage in which a Gentile woman approaches Jesus seeking help for her daughter who was possessed by a demon. Yesterday we saw Jesus teach this woman that He was not to be feared; He was approachable and willing to help. Today we see His response to her faith.

For reason’s explained yesterday, Jesus declined her request stating it was not right to take the bread (the Gospel) that was meant for the Jews (children) and give it to the Gentiles (dogs). Note that there were two words in Greek for “dogs”. One, which we saw used previously, referred to wild dogs who posed a danger to humans. The word Jesus uses today is different. It refers to domesticated dogs that people kept as pets. Jesus was not insulting this woman. He was simply trying to make a point – that God offered salvation to His own – the Jews.

And up until this point in history, this was true (although non-Jews could be saved by becoming a part of God’s family – becoming Jewish). But Jesus came for all people. He came to save Jew and Gentile. This was always God’s plan. The Old Testament concept of God being only accessible through Judaism was over.

But with few exceptions, the Jews rejected Jesus. This rejection is symbolized by the crumbs in the woman’s comment. She accurately notes that if the Jews didn’t want Jesus, it was perfectly acceptable for the Gentiles to receive what He had to offer.

Notice the woman did not deny Jesus’ statement. She says “yet even“, indicating that she is in full agreement with Jesus. That is, she understands who Jesus is and God’s plan to bring salvation to mankind through the Jews. Yet she also knew that God’s blessing extended to all people. Neither she nor any Gentile was excluded.

This woman knew more than the Jewish people themselves, who had the Old Testament. For this reason Jesus called her faith “great” and instantly healed her daughter.

This woman had little exposure to the Gospel, yet she had great faith. The Jews, on the other hand, had much exposure to God’s plan but they had little faith. This included the disciples [Matthew 14:28-33]. Interestingly, the only other person to whom Jesus attributed such faith was also a Gentile – the Roman centurion who also came to Jesus on behalf of his daughter [Matthew 8:5-13].

This woman knew that Jesus could help her and she didn’t give up simply because her first attempts failed. She took each of Jesus’ responses and learned from them. She was 100% convinced of who Jesus was and what He could do. And because of that faith she did not quit. She persisted and learned the right way to approach Jesus – directly and in humility. As a result, her faith was rewarded.

Great faith leads to great reward.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.

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God Wants You To Come Close To Him


And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
(Matthew 15:21-28 ESV)


Yesterday we read about a Gentile woman whose troubled life lead her to Jesus. Today we read Jesus’ response to her.  At first the woman was crying out from afar for Jesus to heal her daughter. But He did not answer her. This may seem insensitive, but as the story progresses we see Jesus’ strategy.

Next the woman took her request to the disciples who get so annoyed with her that they came and begged Jesus to send her away. Notice that the disciples “came” to Jesus. This tells us that the woman did not approach Jesus directly. She was trying to get to Him through the disciples. But again Jesus rebuffs her by saying that He was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.

From the passage we can tell that Jesus said this within earshot of the woman who likely followed the disciples as they took her request to Him. But then her approach changes. Rather than approaching Jesus indirectly and from afar, she came before Him and knelt. This is what Jesus wanted her to do all along. He wanted her to come directly to Him.

Notice that this was the last place she could go. She had now gone as far as she could – to Jesus Himself. And her prayer at this point is a great one: “Lord, help me”. This prayer is short and simple, yet so full of humility and truth. This woman could not help herself. Her religion could not help her, as we learned yesterday. Only Jesus could help her.

By putting up barriers to this woman’s request Jesus was not treating her unkindly. He was teaching her that approaching Him distantly does not work. He was also teaching her that she need not be afraid of Him. Considering the fact that she was not only a Gentile and a woman, but a Canaanite – a people who were bitter enemies of the Jews for centuries – its likely she was not fully convinced Jesus would help her.

But notice that Jesus never said “no”. Each of His responses, including the silence, left the door open to her request being fulfilled. Who she was had nothing to do with it. How she approached Jesus was all that mattered.

At first the woman approached Jesus timidly, perhaps out of fear or because of a lack of belief that He could/would help her. Either way, she was in error. This entire scene is Jesus correcting her error.

So many people are afraid to approach Jesus. Some keep their distance entirely. Others go through a priest, as Catholics do during confession. Some ask others to pray for them rather than praying for themselves. But this is not what God wants.

God is not aloof. He is not unapproachable. He doesn’t want us to be afraid of Him or to communicate with Him vicariously. He wants a close, personal, one-on-one relationship with us.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.

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There Is Purpose In Pain


And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
(Matthew 15:21-28 ESV)


We come to a very interesting passage today in our study of Matthew. Jesus had been spending most of His time in Galilee, which was part of Israel. But pressure was mounting on Him from the Jewish leaders, who wanted to kill Him, and the general population, who wanted to make Him their king. So He went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. These cities were not in Israel, they were in the Gentile territory of Phoenicia (what is now southern Lebanon). He was thus beyond the reach and jurisdiction of the Jewish authorities who would never set foot on Gentile soil and therefore, would not follow Him there.

With just under a year left to live, Jesus still had much to teach His disciples and getting away to a secluded place would have helped that. But He wasn’t there very long before a Canaanite woman came to Him pleading for mercy because her daughter was severely oppressed by a demon

The Canaanites were bitter enemies of the Jews from the time Joshua lead them across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. For one of them to seek out Jesus and put their faith in Him was not a small statement. The fact that this Gentile woman came to Jesus, a Jewish teacher, indicates how disillusioned she was with the religions she had known.

It is no coincidence that Matthew places this story right after the one about the Pharisees rejection of Jesus. They refused to place their faith in Jesus and instead placed it in their own man-made religion. This woman, on the other hand, rejected the man-made religion she had been taught and placed all her faith in Jesus. For faith to be effective it must be placed in a trustworthy object. Man-made religion is useless. It cannot save. Jesus is God. Only He can save.

But notice it was tragedy that brought her to Jesus. Her daughter’s condition was severe and we can see the mother was distraught and probably had been for some time. I’m sure she tried all the remedies of her religion to cure her daughter. None of them worked.

People often wonder why God allows trouble in this world. Hardship has one purpose: to turn us away from the world and to send us to Jesus. Health is a good thing. But sickness is far better, if it leads us to God. It is better to have difficulty in this life and find Jesus as a result, than to live a life of ease and die without knowing Christ [Psalm 119:17; Matthew 7:21-23; 2 Corinthians 4:17].

This woman left her religious system behind because it could do no good for her. By publicly coming to Jesus she was affirming His power over the gods she had known all her life. She realized that they were useless and false. She realized that only Jesus could help her.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.

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Being Offended Is The First Step Towards Discovering Truth


And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”
(Matthew 15:10-20 ESV)


Over the past couple of days we’ve studied a passage in which Jesus explained that what the people were believing was actually false and, contrary to what they thought, harmed their relationship with God. When the Pharisees heard Jesus say this they were offended.

Being offended is a common reaction non-Christians have to what the Bible says. When people read/hear that God says all of us are depraved sinners and that there is nothing we can do to rectify that, [Ecclesiastes 7:20; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10] they take offense.

The Pharisees reaction was to eliminate Jesus [Matthew 12:14]. Two-thousand years later, people take the same approach. In our culture we are rapidly removing Jesus because He is offensive.

Jesus, who was God, does offend people. In fact, He intentionally offends people by attacking our pride and proving our beliefs to be wrong. He does this because He loves us and wants us to know the truth. The fact that we are offended should be the motivation we need to reevaluate our beliefs, realize we are wrong, and repent.

Being offended is a signal that there is an error in our way of thinking. We are offended because our pride has been hurt. But it is exactly our pride – our love of self and belief that we are good and belief that we are right – that God wants to eliminate. There is no other way to do this than to offend us.

The alternative would be to do what the world is currently doing – condoning everyone’s beliefs and lifestyle so as to not offend anyone. We are suppressing God’s word thinking we are doing people a favor. But we are doing just the opposite. We are harming them irreparably by blinding them to their own sin, as Jesus pointed out yesterday.

This happens in many areas of life but probably the most obvious in our culture today is homosexuality. God calls homosexuality sin. The gay community gets offended at this. The result is our culture moves to suppress such teaching either legally or through peer pressure (e.g. social media) thinking we are being progressive and loving. But this is a lie.

Telling the Pharisees that their understanding of God was wrong was the most loving thing Jesus could do. Not to do so would be to leave them to their ignorance. But that would only mean that they would remain distant from God and end up in hell after they die. This is not what God wants [2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:3-4].

Like Jesus, Christians need to be willing to tell people God’s truth, even if it will offend them, for there is no other way for people to be saved [Acts 4:11-12]. To be sure, we must do it in a way that demonstrates conern for their eternity, not disdain for their present. But suppressing God’s truth should never be an option.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.

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Religion Is The Biggest Hypocrisy Of All


And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”
(Matthew 15:10-20 ESV)


Yesterday Jesus schooled a group of Pharisees about their man-made rules which did not lead people to God, as they claimed, but actually lead people away from God. This all happened in front of a crowd of people. Today Jesus speaks to the crowd so that they understand what they had just witnessed.

“Hear and understand” was a common idiom of the day which simply meant “listen carefully”. What Jesus was about to say was not hard to understand – as we’ll see it is quite simple. Rather, what Jesus is about to say would have been shocking to the Jews in His audience. It essentially nullified large sections of the law given to Moses as recorded in Leviticus. The Jews had lived by this law for centuries.

The Pharisees confronted Jesus because His disciples did not perform the elaborate, ceremonial hand-washing that the Pharisee’s law required. This washing was thought to purify the hands so that any food the person touched would not be defiled and make the person spiritually unclean when eaten. But Jesus explains that the truth was that it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth that defiles a person.

Jesus was telling the people not to be misled by the foolish traditions they had been taught. No ritual, including the practice of washing their hands, could in any way prevent them from being defiled before God because people are inherently defiled from within, not circumstantially defiled from without.

All human beings are sinners. None of us are any good [Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:10]. That is an internal problem. It is a problem with our hearts – our spirits. It is because our hearts are corrupt that we have evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness (lying) and slander.

There is nothing we can do that will improve our spirit. Not confession. Not charity work. Not transcendental meditation. Not yoga. There is no way for a human being to make themselves right with God through their own effort. The physical cannot improve the spiritual. Only God, who is spirit, can fix our hearts [Psalm 51:10, Ezekiel 36:26].

Anyone who teaches people to follow man-made rules to get to heaven is blind. Likewise, anyone who follows such a person is blind. Such teaching was not planted by God – it was invented by man – and as such will be rooted up in the last days. Ultimately, those who follow such erroneous teachings will fall into a pit – they are destroying their eternal future.

God calls anyone who trusts in themselves for salvation a “fool” [Proverbs 28:26]. Such people think they are good and are making themselves better when they are actually bad and are making themselves worse. They appear on the outside to be righteous, but are anything but. God knows their hearts and knows what they really are.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.

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God Is Interested In The Internal Reality Of Who We Are


He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
(Matthew 15:3-9 ESV)


Yesterday a group of senior-level Pharisees confronted Jesus because His disciples didn’t follow their man-made rules. Today Jesus responds to them. As He usually does, Jesus responds to an accusatory question not by answering it, but by asking a question of His own, essentially telling them that they are the ones breaking God’s commandments with their tradition.

God commands children to honor their father and mother. This is the fifth of the Ten Commandments. But the Pharisees had invented a way for people to circumvent this law by declaring all their possessions “corban” – irrevocably given to God. And since a vow to God could not be violated [Numbers 30:2], those possessions, including money, could not be subsequently used for any other purpose, including helping one’s parents as they aged.

Furthermore, the corban possessions remained with the person; they did not have to be given to the Temple or synagogue. The person was still allowed to use the possessions himself. This practice was simply a way to get around God’s law that a child take care of his parents. It allowed a person to appear godly when they were actually breaking God’s commands.

As we can see tradition can be dangerous. It is almost always followed mindlessly, without questioning its benefit. It does not require love or sincerity. As a result, following tradition makes a person prideful and self-righteous as they think they are doing the right things. But, as Jesus points out, they are actually sinning.

To be sure, not all tradition is bad. Traditions that help us remember God’s word, such as the practice of communion which Jesus commanded us to observe [Luke 22:19-20]. Tradition becomes sin when it is based on the commandments of men and replaces God’s doctrine, thereby making God’s word void. A person who does this has a heart that is far from God; they worship God in vain by simply honoring Him with their lips (what they say) not with how they live.

Religion based on human authority is worthless. We must worship God His way or we are not worshipping Him at all; we are worshipping ourselves. God is not interested in outward rituals, such as the correct way to wash one’s hands before eating [Isaiah 1:11; Amos 5:21; Hosea 6:6]. Sadly, many people think that following man-made rules such as lighting candles and praying the rosary is pleasing to God. It isn’t.

And while the original intent of such rituals was probably sincere, the problem is that over time we have a tendency to raise our own man-made practices above the authority of God’s word. That is where the danger lies.

God is interested in the internal reality of who we are; He is interested in our hearts. Humans, on the other hand, are interested in the external image we portray to others. And while we may be able to fool other human beings into thinking we are something we’re not, we aren’t fooling God.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.

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God’s Word Is Complete And Sufficient


“Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.”
(Matthew 15:2 ESV)


Yesterday we briefly saw that a group of senior-level Pharisees had come from Jerusalem to Galilee to confront Jesus because, among other things, His disciples broke the tradition of the elders by not washing their hands when they ate. We all wash our hands before we eat for sanitary reasons. But that is not what these men were referring to.

They were referring to the elaborate, man-made (“tradition of the elders”) ceremonial washing that people were required to perform before eating. These men were not upset that Jesus’ disciples were breaking God’s law. They were upset because they were breaking the Pharisee’s laws.

Over time the Pharisees had created over six-hundred specific rules that they claimed must be kept in order to please God and go to heaven. This same thing happens today in many Christian-based churches. For example, the Catholic Church has what it calls Tradition (with an upper-case “T”). This is a set of man-made rules that have been exalted to the point where they are considered on-par with Scripture, if not above it.

Catholic Tradition has divided sins into two primary categories, venial and mortal sins (similar to misdemeanors and felonies). Venial sins are minor infractions which do not totally sever one’s relationship with God. They can be expunged through charity work. Mortal sin, on the other hand, allegedly severs one from God completely. Mortal sins can only be wiped away by going to confession.

There is actually a third category, called “grave” sins which are really bad mortal sins. One example of a grave sin in Catholic doctrine is missing mass without a valid reason (i.e. not being sick). If someone simply decides not to go to church, they have committed a grave sin and, Catholics claim, have “totally severed their relationship with God”.

There are literally hundreds of rules and regulations the Catholic Church has devised which it holds to be at least equal to God’s word. These rules and regulations are codified in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), which can be viewed on the Vatican’s official website. The rule about attending mass is CCC 1281. The official, and complicated, explanation of venial, mortal, and grave sins can be found in Part III, Article 8.

To be fair, Catholics aren’t the only ones with man-made rules. Protestant denominations also have rules (e.g. Baptist’s traditionally disprove of dancing), though they are not as specific or codified. Muslims, although they don’t worship the true God, have hadith which are uninspired, yet highly revered, man-made writings that “explain” the Koran.

Creating rules that people must follow in order to allegedly get right with God, whether created by the Pharisees, Catholics, or others, is sin. Such rules do not bring people into a stronger relationship with God. In fact, as Jesus will point out tomorrow, they actually harm people’s relationship with Him.

Whenever man adds his own rules to Scripture he ends up valuing his own additions more than Scripture itself and in so doing, raises man to a position above God. This is why we are warned not to do it [Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18].

There is no other law than God’s law, which needs no additions, embellishment, or interpretation.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.

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Three Opinions About Jesus


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.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.

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If You Want To Walk On Water You’ve Got To Get Out Of The Boat


“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
(Matthew 14:28-32 ESV)


In the Bible, Peter is well-known for acting and speaking impulsively and, as a result, making mistakes. He impulsively denied Jesus three times after Jesus was arrested. He made an ill-advised suggestion after Jesus’ transfiguration. He cut off the ear of one of the soldiers arresting Jesus. But Peter’s actions and words were almost always motivated by His love for Jesus.

In today’s passage, though, we cannot say that Peter acted impulsively. He doesn’t simply get out of the boat. Being an experienced fisherman, he knew that was suicide. Instead he asks Jesus to invite him out of the boat and onto the water, which He does. Peter became the second (and final) person to ever walk on water.

Certainly Peter could not be accused of any type of sin here because Jesus would never invite someone to sin. Rather, Jesus’ invitation was a confirmation of Peter’s faith, little as it was. Peter’s faith was enough to get out of the boat, but was not enough to take him across the water.

And even though he didn’t make it very far, Peter should not be faulted. There were twelve men in that boat. The other eleven stayed put. Peter at least got out of the boat. His weak faith was better than no faith.

Faith is increased when it is exercised. And the best time to exercise it is when we are in the middle of storm in our life. We exercise the faith we have until we start to doubt. Then we falter. But it is at that moment that Jesus faithfully and immediately comes to our rescue and the storm abates.

When Jesus asks Peter why he doubted I envision Him putting His arm around Peter, giving him a big smile, and speaking very encouragingly as if to say “you were doing great!”. God is rooting for us. He wants us to succeed. But our doubt holds us back. From Jesus’ words we get the very strong impression that Peter could have walked much further.

It was not the wind or the waves that stopped Peter. It was the fact that Peter noticed them that tripped him up. Similarly, we can’t achieve anything in life if we listen to the naysayers and those who don’t have the guts to take even the first step themselves toward self-improvement.

Spiritual growth is the major goal God has for us. He wants us to have more faith in Him tomorrow than we do today. With great faith we can do things that we never thought we could do [Matthew 17:20]. But, as the title of the book by John Ortberg states, if you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat.

We can’t expect to grow if we stay put. We have to be willing to exercise the little faith we have today in order to develop bigger faith for tomorrow.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.

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