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2007-06-03_In The Boat_Matthew 13.53-14.36_SL

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In The Boat

Matthew 13:53-14:36   |   Shaun LePage   |   June 3, 2007

I.       Introduction

A.    Imagine that you are about to have open heart surgery. Your surgeon comes in to talk with you just moments before you receive anesthesia. As he talks, he reveals that he has never performed open heart surgery before, but he tries to reassure you that he has read a lot of books on the subject and passed all of his tests in all of his classes dealing with open heart surgery. Would you want him to operate on you? Of course not—and fortunately that’s not how it’s done. An open heart surgeon works alongside someone who has done open heart surgery many times before he performs surgery on his own. His education will include not just teaching, but observation—the example of one wiser and more experienced.

B.    Fortunately, Jesus taught this way as well. He taught and modeled—Mt 10:24; Lk 6:40. In Mt. 12 major shift—Jesus rejected; Ch.13 taught (via parables) disciples about kingdom in church age and how they (we) would need to minister between His 1st and 2nd comings.

C.    Next, series of seemingly disconnected events: Purpose? Model! To show disciples how to live and minister in this “inter-advent age”.

II.     Body—Matthew 8--Four scenes for disciples

A.    Scene 1: Jesus did few miracles in His home town (13:53-58)

1.     hometown reaction: “astonished” | 5 questions summary: ordinary man, but “astonishing…wisdom and power”. | Verdict? “took offense” (skanalidzo; stumble) “unbelief”—missed blessing: 11:4-6. They had been “astonished” but stumbled over His humanity (irrelevant details). Faith pleases God, willful unbelief loses blessing.

2.     Jesus’ reaction: proverb and not many miracles | why proverb? Prep disciples—they would be “prophets” and those closest to them would reject them | why not many miracles? Unbelief—dishonest doubt. Obviously, He moved on—not much time there.

3.     What was Jesus teaching His disciples? Limit your time with dishonest doubters. You are a blessing—if rejected, don’t waste much time.

B.    Scene 2: Jesus withdrew from Herod (14:1-13a)

1.     (1-2) Herod’s reaction is the focus: “John…risen” (reported by John’s disciples when they reported his death?)

2.     (3-12) parenthetical story, John’s death: reveals Herod’s wickedness (a hostile enemy) and preview of Jesus’ treatment—His “Elijah” was dead; symbolic of Messiah’s rejection | He believed Jesus’ miracles, but rejected Jesus because of sinful life

3.     (13a) Jesus “withdrew…secluded place by Himself” 4X in Mt.—see also v.23 | Jesus didn’t confront Herod; He would be abused by Him soon enough; confronting the hostile is almost always a waste of time. See Luke 23:7-9—questioned at length, but no record that Jesus ever spoke to Herod | He also “withdrew” to grieve, pray, refresh

4.     What was Jesus teaching His disciples? Two things: 1) Stay away from the hostile. Withdraw. Pray for them (5:44); remember 10:16? 2) Take care of yourself so you can care for others. Our design; If Jesus did, we also.

C.    Scene 3: Jesus fed the hungry crowd (14:13b-21)

1.     (13b-14) Followers, curious, sick—looking for miracles? Selfish motives? No doubt—at least many/most. But Jesus “felt compassion”—invested time with these people! Notice also the end of the chapter (34-36). Constant needs, everywhere.

2.     (15-21) Miracle story is focused on dialogue with disciples. They saw only what little they had to offer (17). Jesus turned their focus to Him (18). | Important discipleship principle: Jesus took what His disciples had and satisfied everyone! It’s not about you and me, our talents, our experience—it’s all about Jesus; give Him what you have | Notice: Jesus took care of disciples! They too were satisfied—“12 baskets” (19-20).

3.     What was Jesus teaching His disciples? Two things: 1) Show compassion to all who show up. They might have purely selfish motives, but some will believe and follow. Be patient; show compassion; the needs are constant and everywhere, don’t let it overwhelm you—focus on the individuals in front of you; 2) Look to Jesus to meet your needs. Don’t look at what you have to offer—nothing! Give Him what you have.

D.    Scene 4: Jesus helped Peter walk on water (14:22-36)

1.     (22-23) Jesus alone again—wasn’t available 24/7 even to disciples.

2.     (24-26) “long distance”—not a trick, deep water | “fourth watch” 3-6 a.m. Got away by Himself, but He was ready to go when they were in trouble—any time, day or night. Must find the balance. | “walking on the sea”—actually a pretty funny scene: Forgot about the storm! “terrified…ghost…cried out in fear!”

3.     (27-30) Jesus’ presence and encouragement changed everything! Peter did “take courage”. Peter was no longer “afraid”—at least for a minute. His faith didn’t last long, but it was enough to make him one of only two people who have truly walked on water! What was his mistake? He took his eyes off Jesus—Peter’s literal mistake is a common spiritual mistake—Heb 12:1-3; Col 3:1-2. With Christ, he did the impossible. Without Christ, he sank. But he pulled it out—refocused: “Lord, save me!”

4.     (31) Jesus admonished him for “little faith” and lifted him up—kept him from drowning. Why admonish Peter—only one out of the boat?! Listen carefully: Admonishment is good! It builds up; identifies the real problem so it can be corrected!

5.     (32-33) “those in the boat worshiped…‘You are certainly God’s Son!’”—the climax! “In the boat” strikes me as important—only those who went through the storm “in the boat” got to see Jesus working; got their faith built up; got to be part of this worship service! Symbolic of being “in the boat” of discipleship—show up and be changed forever! Notice: Jesus received worship—didn’t stop it! Claim to deity. Disciples were learning—growing. Compare with 8:23-27. Questions then. Worship now!

6.     What was Jesus teaching His disciples? Lift up the honest doubter. The focus of Jesus’ ministry was on a small group of believers. He encouraged them when they were afraid, admonished them when they doubted—an important way of building up (lifting up) disciples. Their faith was strengthened and resulted in worship! Bonus (Peter Lesson): Fix your eyes on Jesus. Especially important when doing something that is impossible (like Peter)! John 15:5—we can do the impossible with Christ, but unless we abide with Him in close, personal relationship, we will sink. If we keep our focus on Him, trusting Him through storms, we can do the impossible!

III.   Closing:

A.    In these 42 verses, Jesus said very little. But He taught so much by example. Are you on board? Are you ready to be—not only a disciple—but also a disciple maker? (28:19). Maybe you think you’re too far behind—still trying to figure out how to be a disciple, much less a disciple maker. These disciples Jesus was working with had a long way to go, too. Like undergrads sitting in Biology 101 dreaming of being surgeons. But Jesus had a vision for these undergrads. By recording these lessons and preserving them for us, God has a vision for you and me, too. Ask God to show you the next step.

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