Something interesting struck me as I was reading Matthew chapter 14.
The first twelve verses talk about John’s beheading. Then we move through several verses with Yeshua feeding the crowd. We land near the end of the chapter with Peter walking on the water.
My rabbi, Matthew Salathe, talks about bookends – times in God’s Word where things seem related. For me, Matthew 14 has once such set of bookends. It speaks especially to those who take honor and grace, success and good health as evidence of God’s favor, as evidence that one has led a godly life.
This happens to be the same viewpoint as the Sadducees. They believed there was no afterlife. When we are rewarded here, it is proof that we are godly.
However, Matthew 14 smacks that belief right in the face. John (the Immerser) was a godly man. He was out doing the work God called him to do. Yeshua said he was Elijah, if we can accept it. AND he was Yeshua’s cousin. Now you would think with all this going for him, he would have been rescued from prison – or at the very least kept his head, right?
I’m sure there was some point where John cried out to be saved. After all, even our Messiah called for deliverance in the garden. Yet that salvation never came for John.
Then we have Peter, walking on the water, doubting God as he looked down, but crying out for help. And what happened? Yeshua saved him.
In between these bookends we see a crowd of people in need of healing, crying out for help and Yeshua has compassion for them. But not only does he heal them, he also meets their immediate need for food.
All this got me to thinking: God’s compassion is not always manifested the way we think it should be. Sometimes, that is a hard pill to swallow.
When we look at John and Peter – each facing death – and see that one was saved and the other left to die, we often feel God is unjust or unfair. However, it is in those hardest of times that we must remember Who He is – a good, good Father. And as hard as it is to accept, Father really does know best.
Part of Abba knowing best is the need for his plan to unfold across time and space, even when that plan’s operation necessarily mows down our fragile human lives.
Sometimes, that unfolding requires power to shift from one person to another…what seems to be favor and grace often is merely an enablement for the next person to pick up the baton, and carry to the next stage.
It was necessary that John should diminish for Yeshua to grow the greater by his very absence…there needed to be only two choices for the people, how things were under the Scribes and Pharisee, or Yeshua.
John died, Yeshua rose in prominence among the people thereby, and Peter took his first steps in a ministry of faith by experiencing the terror of stepping into the waters of chaos.
“Peter took his first steps in a ministry of faith by experiencing the terror of stepping into the waters of chaos.”
I never thought of it that way. Very well put, Questor!
Thank you. I was describing that hollow feeling that I get when I have done something way beyond my ability, and envisioning the massive difference for an unsaved human to attempt what only Yeshua, as a human, could do. If I got the words right, it was the Ruach. 😉