TheShiningLight

Preparing the Way of the Lord

Matthew 14 – 15

Matthew 14

John Baptist is beheaded for speaking the truth to power

Matthew 14:1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, 14:2 And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. 14:3 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife. 14:4 For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.

It is not lawful to take one’s brother’s wife

Leviticus 18:16 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness 

Because a man and his wife are one flesh, to take another’s wife is like taking him also

Matthew 14:5 And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. 14:6 But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. 14:7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. 14:8 And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger.

Herod was rash with his oath which he would not have made if he had feared God, and he feared the people enough to commit murder.

14:9 And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath’s sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her.

14:10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. 14:11 And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.

14:12 And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.

Thus ends a man of God; beheaded for speaking the truth, and that over a rash vow by a wicked king.

14:13 When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. 14:14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

His fame had now spread and crowds gathered wherever he was. However the people came to see the miracles, to be healed and to hear his words but not keep them; as the prophet has said.

Ezekiel 32:31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. 32:32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.

This is exactly the situation in the Ekklesia today.  They love to hear and to speak of the Word of God, and to call themselves godly, and to think of themselves as the righteous of God; yet they have no zeal to keep the Word of God and would rather follow idols of men.

The miracle of the five bread [pita or tortilla] rounds and the two fishes 

Five thousand men were fed and probably at least as many women and children.  This is a symbolic picture of the feeding of the spiritual Bread of Life, the whole Word of God; to humanity who willingly follow Jesus and the Word of God. 

Matthew 14:15 And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. 14:16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. 14:17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. 14:18 He said, Bring them hither to me.

14:19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.14:20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. 14:21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

This was a demonstration of Jesus’ Messiah-ship and power to feed the people as he had fed Israel with manna in the wilderness for forty years. As he provided physical food for a physical bride of the Mosaic Covenant; he has also provided spiritual food for a converted spiritual people. We have only to seek him with all our hearts and be DOERS of his words; and he will give to those who ask; spiritual bread and meat [the Word of God and understanding].

14:22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before [ahead of him]  him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 14:23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

Christ has set an example for us that it is good to occasionally take the time to separate ourselves from all else and spend personal time with our Father; to get away from the bustle of activity and just take it easy and spend time with God. Even married couples would benefit from separating for a short time on occasion for the express purpose of fasting and prayer; we all need a break at times; and we all need to take the time to focus completely on God, to think, and to share our cares with Him; and seek his inspiration, help and understanding.

1 Corinthians 7:4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

The disciples had gone ahead in the boat and very late after he had finished his prayers, Jesus came to them walking on the waters.

Matthew 14:24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 14:25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 14:26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.

The Jews, since their conquest by Pompeius, [who had been invited by the Mosaic Jews to defeat the Hellenic Pharisees] had adopted the Roman division of the night into four watches, and the fourth watch was accordingly between 3 A.M. and 6 A.M., in the dimness of the early dawn. John adds, as from a personal reminiscence, that they were about twenty-five or thirty furlongs from the point from which they had started—i.e., as the lake was five miles wide, nearly three-fourths of the way across.

Having seen all these miracles, and having been given power over demons; they still feared. Why? because they looked at the immediate physical situation and forgot the power of God to deliver them. Focusing on the physical things of this world, whether they be fearsome or pleasurable: Always distracts us from the spiritual things of God!

The whole situation in the world’s religions today is a wrong focus on the physical contrary to the spiritual, and so we are distracted from the POWER and STRENGTH of our God to deliver us. We focus on doing our thing our own way, and in so doing have lost our humility and think we know it all and have need of nothing; we have strayed from our God and fallen away from his commandments.

14:27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 14:28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 14:29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

This is a lesson that fear in this world will result in our failure, and that we must at all times be fixed on zeal for the Word of God and follow our LORD to overcome the tempests [trials and temptations]  of the world.

14:30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 14:32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

We ought to focus on the great power of our God to deliver, and on the absolute WISDOM of his ways; and not to try and deliver ourselves by some kind of compromising with his word. The greater the trouble, the stronger we should stand for God’s word and commandments, and the faster we should RUN to our God to deliver us.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

As Israel could not enter the land through unbelief after so many miracles; will we also be unable to enter the Promised Land of eternal life in  God’s Kingdom because of faithlessness and unbelief?  We cannot please God without FAITH, for it is our faith and trust in God that motivates us to obey him!

Matthew 14:33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

The Healings at Gennesaret

14:34 And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. 14:35 And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; 14:36 And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.

Matthew 15

Matthew 15:1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 15:2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

Jesus uses this question to teach that they transgress God’s Word by their traditions. Jesus uses the example that they do not help out needy parents, instead giving what should have helped their parents to the church; which Jesus calls a sin against God’s commandments. 

This is not talking about tithes or reasonable offerings, it is talking about giving overmuch to feel righteous while being ungodly in not caring for our families.  

Today the Ekklesia commit the very same sin with organizations demanding that the brethren give and give to them, to the neglect of our responsibilities to our families; thus demanding that we break the Word of God. 

Not caring for the families God has blessed us with is a great sin.

1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Did you know that willing property to these groups instead of our legitimate family heirs is a huge sin in the eyes of God?  If you have done so; take the time to obey God and change your will!

Brethren did you know that by giving larger offerings while neglecting our responsibilities to our debtors and families:  We are sinning? 

Hear the words of Jesus Christ!

Matthew 15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. 15:5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; 15:6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

What are our own traditions today that make God’s law of no effect?

1) Buying food and drink, cooking or traveling on the Sabbath and Holy Days and in particular the Eighth Day.

2) Buying into the sin of cooking a big Sabbath meal and making the Sabbath a mere social occasion; as opposed to exhorting one another in the faith.

3) Preaching an outreach that is business oriented and not proclaiming what we are commanded to proclaim; a message of warning and repentance from the breaking of any of God’s commandments.

4) Exalting loyalty to men and  organizations as loyalty to God.

5) Using the non Biblical Rabbinic Calendar for religious purposes.

6) Divorce and Remarriage contrary to Christ’s command.

7) Compromising with God’s commandments and tolerating sin out of a false perverted and phony emotional  “love.”

8) Exalting the organizations, leaders and elders, and our false traditions; above the Word of God as our idols. 

Verse 7 is an absolutely accurate description of the majority today.

15:7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

This is profoundly descriptive of the Ekklesia today. For they exalt their leaders and traditions above the word of Almighty God, making idols of men and organizations.

I am NOT against organization or coming together and working together. I am AGAINST exalting loyalty to the man or Group, as equal with or greater than, our loyalty to God!

We are to prove all things, and to follow men ONLY as they follow Christ!

I am calling these organizations to repentance and to God our Beloved Father and our espoused Husband Jesus Christ.  I am calling for the organizations to focus the people on a zeal to learn and to keep the whole Word of God; and to repent of exalting themselves above God’s Word. I am NOT calling for a dissolving  of organizations.

15:10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: 15:11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

The words of these groups that teach men to pollute the Saturday Biblical Sabbath and the Biblical High Days or to follow the false traditions of men are false.

The words of these men, which amount to them saying; follow me regardless of what is right and regardless of what the Bible says; are evil and depriving many of their crowns.

The words of some who would say; this commandment was for others, or the church has decided,  or that we must keep the commandments but we are weak and Christ has already paid in advance for our sins, so a little bit of sin and compromise is all right, Christ will understand and forgive: Are an ABOMINATION to Almighty God!

Such words are lies and make a mockery of Christ and his sacrifice.  Such words defile the memory of those who were sawn asunder, or burned at the stake, or subjected to torment; because they would not admit that the Emperor, or ANY MAN, was a God along with God the Father and Christ (Heb 11).

Such words are a shame and a blasphemy against God, the apostles, prophets and the martyrs of Christ!

God’s Word is truth unto salvation, it is a healing balm for the called of God; and are words of deliverance that will ultimately heal the nations of their enslavement to Satan and sin. The words of Christ are a joy and beauty that will bring salvation to humanity.  To compromise with God’s Word and to break it on any point no matter how small is sin and brings pain, suffering, decay and death.

REPENT and be BAPTIZED, commit yourself to live by every Word of God and to “Go and sin no more,” and when all men do so, they will find peace!

15:12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? 15:13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.

Those who reject the words of repentance and warning from Jesus Christ, will be rooted out of God’s family and will not be in the resurrection of first fruits, unless they repent.

15:14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Those who follow such men instead of God the Father and Jesus Christ; will also fall with them 

Brethren, when the two prophets come, they will affirm these things and will call upon the faithful pillars to separate our from among the faithless, so that they will not be corrected along with the faithless. .

The faithful pillars KNOW that they are weak [have little strength], therefore they love the more, and rely upon God with all their hearts and are continually seeking him; putting him first and seeking to please him through love and faithful obedience.

The majority, who are the faithless, are the strong [eagles] among the flock, and in their own carnal ways, the wise of the flock. Therefore they tend to rely on their own strength and their own wisdom, neglecting the instructions of Christ.

They believe themselves to be righteous knowing all things spiritual, and have need of nothing; they are lifted up in their pride and arrogant self exaltation. They will be corrected and humbled in the only way possible; by letting them fall into the things that they fear and declare they cannot fall into because they are so righteous graphically and undeniably revealing how very wrong they are.

15:15 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.

15:16 And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? 15:17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 15:20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Any person that teaches to deny any part of the scriptures, or who leads others into following their own ways and rejecting any zeal to keep God’s Word; is a false teacher and an anti-Christ because he is usurping the Word and authority [name] of Jesus Christ. 

15:21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

15:22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 15:23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

Jesus heals the Canaanite 

This an analogy that in the kingdom and the final resurrection to flesh even the Canaanites will have their opportunity to come to Christ and to receive the spiritual healing of salvation. They like all humanity will be delivered from bondage to Satan through the salvation of the Lamb of God in their proper time.

15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 15:25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 15:26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.

15:27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.

This is one of the most moving examples of humility and faith before Christ; that I have ever heard. Imagine this conversation taking place in this era of racial pride. Imagine if you were this woman being rejected because of your race; what would your attitude be.

You, who reject the commandments of God today, because they are inconvenient to you; imagine this humility before God.

This woman is truly stunning in her love, faith and humility.

Oh, that there were even a small grain of such faith and humility in the Ekklesia today.

15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. 

Jesus healed multitudes physically as a sign of his Messiah-ship; and as an allegory that he will heal both physically and spiritually when he comes to rule the nations. 

Each of these handicaps has a spiritual counterpart; from opening the eyes of the blind to see physically, as opening the eyes of the spiritually blind to see spiritual things; or healing the physically dumb as an example that Christ will give understanding and open the mouths of men to praise God and teach God’s Word; or healing the physical cripple as an allegory of healing the spiritual cripple so that he may walk (live)  in the light of the Word of God!

15:29 And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. 15:30 And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them: 15:31 Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.

The miracle of the seven [Middle Eastern] rounds of bread (and a few fishes); representing that in the Kingdom Christ will feed all people with the Word of God, the Bread of Life. 

15:32 Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. 15:33 And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude? 15:34 And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.

Four thousand men plus the women and children were fed in abundance so that there was more left over than what they had in the beginning!

15:35 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. 15:36 And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 15:37 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.

15:38 And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children. 15:39 And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.

For the second time Christ feeds the multitudes; demonstrating his Messiah-ship; and as a type of the feeding of the masses with the Bread of Life when their time comes.

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