I see Jesus sitting on the grass teaching His disciples – sandled, scuffed feet – gesticulating with His hands. – then my sight moves up and I see the King of glory – high and lifted up, His train filling the temple, with Cherubim flying around calling out “Holy, holy holy is the Lord God Almighty”.
“ Yes Ian I am all those things – my diversity is as big as the universe – no eye has seen nor ear heard – your mind could not contain or understand the fullness of My glory, embracing the size of the universe and yet able to focus on the minutest detail – involved in everything that is going on – involved in your life and thoughts as much as I am involved in each of My children’s lives. This is what it means when My word says you are known by Me. It is a loving, compassionate face that looks down and smiles at you, yet it is a grip like steel that is stronger than any grip in the world, that holds you in My love. Knowing you and you knowing Me is the strongest relationship that any mind can imagine – be secured in in this – know it with absolute certainty.”
Working through Matthew ch 14, the various stories fit together with a unified message. Can you see what it is? Here goes: The chapter starts with John’s death. He is completely removed from the scene. Now who and what does John represent? Look at Mat 4:4. “John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey”. This is a clear picture showing the figure of John as a classical Old Testament prophet. The death of John then symbolizes the distinct closing off of the Old Testament era.
So what should we expect from the next story? A reminder of the New Era which has been launched yet showing how it arose from the OT. The story of the feeding of the 5000 is widely regarded as the clearest teaching that Jesus was the fulfilment of the special prophet recorded in Deut 18:15-19. The one whom Moses foreshadowed. In other words the Messiah Himself. He is shown feeding the people in the wilderness like Jehovah fed the Israelites manna as they travelled through the wilderness.
There is an interesting expansion to the story. Jesus does not feed the multitude personally, but passes the food to the disciples to do the feeding. Thus foreshadowing the New Era where we are to pass on God’s word. Yes feeding with spiritual food, by explaining His word.
The question now arises, How are we to relate to the Messiah? The next story gives the answer. Can you see the message? The story is about faith. That is how we relate to Him. It is graphically illustrated here. Peter is able to accomplish a supernatural act, while his eyes are fixed on Jesus. While he is trusting Jesus completely. When he takes his eyes off Jesus and turns to see the fury of the storm, his faith fails. The beautiful part of the story is that Jesus does not abandon him. He reaches out and rescues him as he sinks. Peter and the others have learned a valuable lesson about trusting Jesus. A lesson we need to take to heart. When we face the storm we should keep our eyes on Jesus and not the fury of the storm. It also teaches us that we each need to grow in faith as we will be faced with multiple storms during our lives. And most important that Jesus is always there ready to rescue us, He will never abandon us to sink.
The chapter ends with two verses which underline the fact that this Man is indeed God, as He demonstrates His supernatural power.
Just look also at the reaction of the people, showing the sort of reaction people would only have as they recognize His deity. Cf verses 33-36.
As I read this chapter I want to, like the disciples in the boat, fall on my knees and worship Jesus, the true Son of God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father.
There is plenty more food in the chapter, but use this framework as you go back and understand what Matthew (the Holy Spirit) intended to convey.