Summary: Having faith even in times of difficulty
"How Great is Your Faith?"
Intro: This week one of the topics of most conversations has been death and dying. The world mourned at the passing of Princess Diana and Mother Theresa. All the world seemed to stand still in a matter of speaking to grieve for these two notable figures who both died this past week. And really this is a fitting tribute for these figures. As we go on in the study of the book of Matthew, we see a funeral mentioned this week. Turn to the book of Matthew, chapter 14.
One preacher stood up one day and wanted to get across to his congregation the seriousness of death. "All of you members of this congregation, you’re going to die one day," he thundered. He reiterated the point to stress its seriousness. "Every member of this congregation will be dying one day soon." A man towards the back seemed smiling rather smugly. The pastor asked him why he was so happy. He replied, "I don’t belong to this congregation; I’m from the church down the street!"
Children have a lot of interesting perspectives about death. A group of nine year olds was asked about death.
Jimmy said, "When you die, they bury you in the ground, and your soul goes to heaven, but your body can’t go to heaven because it too crowded up there already.
Judy said, "Only the good people go to heaven. The bad people go to where it’s hot all the time like Florida."
Marsha said, "when you die you don’t have to do homework in heaven, unless your teacher is there too."
Johnny said, "Maybe I’ll die someday, but I hope I don’t die on my birthday, because it’s no fun to celebrate your birthday if you’re dead!"
Jesus faced up to deaths and funerals in his time on earth. These are times that try our faith.
I. Our faith is tested when we doubt God’s plans.
The death of John the Baptist touched the whole nation, just like the deaths of Princess Diana and Mother Theresa. Herod had been afraid of killing John because he knew how the people viewed him as a prophet.
I’m sure many people questioned the death of John. Here was one whom everyone knew to be a prophet of God. And yet God does not step in to spare his life. If God is really a good God, why didn’t he do something? Many times we question the plans God has for us. We often think we know better than God. Yet when we examine our faith, we know that God’s ways are always best.
We won’t dwell much on the first part of the chapter. Rather let’s look on the the second part.
II. Our Faith is tested when we doubt God’s Power - 13-21
Jesus’ reaction:he withdraws to grieve
"solitary"he didn’t want to be giving of himself, he was drained, he needed reflection
Jesus’ reality:the crowds follow: they will not leave him alone; want to see miracles
"on foot"they are willing to pay a personal price to see Jesus
Jesus’ response:he had compassion and healed their sick: he cared about the individuals and
the needs they had.
**In a time of personal need, Jesus is willing to spend the time to minister to the needs of those around him.
"evening"disciples are getting restless: wanted the crowds to go
#did you ever have someone stop by in the middle of your favorite show?
or how about ten minutes before supper when you’re cooking the two steaks
"so they can go"disciples wanted the crowds to fend for themselves
"Lord, we’re sure they’ll find something to eat out there somewhere!"
"not need to go"Jesus cared about them (crowd). Disciples cared about themselves.
"you give them""Don’t pass the buck" Jesus gets disciples to take the responsibility.
this showed the disciples their lack of faith: were not able to feed crowds
"5 loaves, 2 fish""we’re pushing it as it is" - 12 disciples, Jesus, each only getting a little bit
fish would have been "small" fish - loaves probably like pitas
"bring to me"Jesus takes responsibility for the miraculous
""looking up"public training of them: not need to look up, but wanted to teach them
acknowledges need of father [John 11 - Lazarus - "that they may believe"]
"gave thanks"He had faith that the Father would work
"broke the bread"he did the miracle
"gave disciplesHe put the ball back intheir court - here’s the food, at least pass it out
"people were satisfied"when they had seen the miraculous and ate, they were content
Many will put up with a lot if they are given a show and a meal
Esau sold his birthright for a pot of beans
5000+clearly was a miracle beyond man’s doings