Daily Devotion for January 9, 2014
Around 1400, John Wycliffe translated the Bible into Middle English. This was declared heresy by the Church — which hit its lowest point of corruption around this time — and persons found in possession of an English language Bible were liable to be burned at the stake.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Dear Lord, please give me the patience to make it through this busy day with all the hustle, demands and distractions of modern life. Let me find the quiet time to hear your voice and feel your calming presence. I ask this in your son's name.
[Let us close our eyes for a minute, and think about what it means to hear God's voice in prayer.]
Thanks for the Life of Christ
Almighty God, I thank you for the life and teachings of your only Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He lived and walked as one of us, a mortal man who bled and felt pain, who felt anger and love, who would become tired and hungry. The world has seen no other love like this, for you willingly bore the pain of mortality, that we might be saved.
The beating, torture, and painful death that Christ suffered at our hands was a terrible thing; yet you considered his victory in overcoming that death worth the cost, so powerful was your love. I praise you for Christ's resurrection and victory, and for his promise to all people, that he will intercede for us at our death, and bring us to eternal life. Today I remember and celebrate His resurrection, giving all glory to Father, Son and Holy Spirit for this miracle and the redemption of our own lives. Through Christ I pray,
Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine — to him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ for ever and ever,
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Psalm 46:1-3 (NKJV)
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.
Matthew 14:32-36 (NIV 1984)
Jesus is Called the Son of God
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.
Notes on the Scripture
There are three main stories in Matthew 14. 1) A flashback to the death of John the Baptist, 2) Jesus feeding the 5,000, and 3) Jesus walking on water. Tacked onto the end we read these two short comments.
The first is not really “tacked on” since it occurs as the end of the walking-on-water story, but it involves a greater issue. Throughout all the gospels, Jesus seems reluctant to name himself the Son of God, to make an outright definitive statement that “I am the Messiah”. He comes very close a number of times, but throughout the three Synoptic Gospels, He never makes a plain and full statement. He arguably does so once fairly early in John — “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) — and is almost stoned to death for it; but then, later in John, He once again becomes more elliptical in referring to himself.
Do not misunderstand. Jesus repeatedly indicates his divinity, by word and deed. He allows others to say it and does not disagree, and He will claim aspects that can hardly be claimed by someone other than the Christ, such as “I am the way and the truth and the light” in John 14. In Mark (but not Luke or Matthew), when Caiphas asks him if He is the Son of God, he replies “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:61–62) But note, the response given according to Matthew and Luke is not “I am” but rather, “You have said so.” (Matthew 26:63-64)
We are getting beyond exegesis and into interpretation here, but this observation finds direct support in John 16, when Christ is preparing the apostles for his crucifixion and says: “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father.” (John 16:25)
Christ was trying to tell us something in all of this, and one candidate is something we saw in Matthew 13, when He discussed parables. Those who are able to know him — those who have “ears to hear” — will understand that He is God, the Messiah of the prophets, without needing it spelled out for them. Those who do not would simply be infuriated and execute him before the appointed hour.
And, actually, nobody was fully able to comprehend Christ until after the Ascension, for full understanding is an attribute of the Holy Spirit, which the apostles will not receive until the Pentecost. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” (John 16:12-13)
So when the disciples say “Truly you are the Son of God” in today's Scripture, we must remember that this does not represent a full and permanent understanding of Christ. They are in a learning curve, as we say today, and make this remark in the heat of emotion, in reaction to rescue from the gut-level fear of being in a small boat during a storm.