christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

matthew 14, doing the works of Jesus

Read Matthew 14 at Bible Gateway.

This chapter contains several smaller chiastic structures that figure into larger ones. One example is with the feeding of the five thousand:

Mat 14:13b-23
1a) Mat 14:13b, Jesus departed by boat to a deserted place by Himself;
1b) Mat 14:13c, The multitudes followed Him on foot;
1c) Mat 14:14, Jesus was moved with compassion for them and healed their sick;
1d) Mat 14:15-16, Jesus: You give them something to eat;
1e) Mat 14:17, We only have five loaves and two fish;
central axis) Mat 14:18-19a, He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass;
2e) Mat 14:19b, He took the five loaves and two fish, and blessed them and broke them;
2d) Mat 14:19c, He gave to the disciples, and they gave to the multitudes;
2c) Mat 14:20-21, They all ate and were filled, about five thousand men;
2b) Mat 14:22, He sent the multitudes away;
2a) Mat 14:22-23, The disciples departed by boat and Jesus was by Himself on the mountain.

This structure is very instructive in showing that, as in Mat 10, Jesus wants His disciples to learn to do the works that He is doing. The central axis shows us how we accomplish that. But also, this entire structure forms a single element in the next structure concerning the next miracle:

Mat 14:13b-33
1a) Mat 14:13b-23, Feeding the five thousand (He has shown Himself to be the Son of God);
1b) Mat 14:24, The boat was tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary;
1c) Mat 14:25-26, Jesus went to them, walking on the sea + they cried out in fear;
1d) Mat 14:27a, Be of good cheer + It is I;
central axis) Mat 14:27b, Do not be afraid;
2d) Mat 14:28-29a, Lord, if it is You, command me + Come;
2c) Mat 14:29b-31, Peter went to Jesus, walking on the sea + O you of little faith;
2b) Mat 14:32, When they got into the boat, the wind ceased;
2a) Mat 14:33, They worshiped Him as He has shown Himself to be the Son of God.

His life and His works reveal who He is. In both these instances, Jesus wanted His disciples to do the things the He was doing. He wanted them to be the ones to feed the multitude, and He wanted Peter to walk on the water as He was doing. He did not correct His disciples when He discovered they were ill prepared with provisions and had only brought five loaves and two fish. He did not correct Peter for presuming to ask to walk on water as He was doing. His only word of correction came when Peter stopped walking on the water.

So now, why is it important to Jesus that we be doing the same things He did, even to walking on water? Because when His disciples do His same works, it likewise testifies to who He is. Men are drawn to worship Him, as they conclude that only the living Son of God can multiply five loaves to feed five thousand men, or calm stormy seas, or walk on water, or cast out demons, or heal all who were sick.

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