Service in Spite of Rejection

Matthew 14  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Matthew 14
Herod had slain John the Baptist. Hearing of it, the disciples departed with Jesus by ship to a desert place. The people learned where He had gone and followed Him walking. Jesus, seeing a great multitude, was moved with compassion toward them and healed their sick. At evening time the disciples would send the multitude away to buy food, but Jesus said that they must not depart. He told the disciples to give them food. They answered that they only had five loaves and two fishes. Jesus said, "Bring them hither to Me."
He commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and two fishes and looking up to heaven, He blessed and brake the loaves and fishes and gave them to the disciples, who gave to the multitude. After they had eaten, they took up twelve baskets full, having fed five thousand men besides women and children.
In chapter 13, when the seed was sown, we saw that the good seed brought forth fruit in varying degrees, some a hundredfold, some sixty and some thirty. Dispensationally we see the testimony decline. First it began well with five thousand men, besides women and children being fed. The early Church at Jerusalem had thousands breaking bread. It was first Jewish in character until Stephen's death. After that, the Gentiles were brought in. That was the fruit, the hundredfold.
The Lord constrained His disciples to get into a ship and to go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitude away. Then He went up into a mountain to pray. It was evening and He was alone. Jesus was a man in the heavens, but alone. He was the only man in the Father's house in heaven. Being a man, He wanted a company of men with Him; He wanted to have a bride.
His people were out on a stormy sea. We are reminded of the "dark ages" where the people of God were reduced to sixtyfold. At the fourth watch of the night Jesus came walking on the sea. The company of believers were now Gentiles, as it is for the most part today. Some of the epistles of Paul were addressed to Gentiles-Ephesians, Colossians, etc. This was a Gentile watch, the fourth watch. (The Jews had three watches per night, the Gentiles four.)
The disciples were troubled; Jesus spoke to them saying,
•"Be of good cheer"-the Lord's coming, the rapture.
•"It is r-the gathering point, unto His name.
•"Be not afraid"-a necessary warning, as we see in watching Peter as He walked on the water.
After the Lord spoke, Peter answered, "Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water. And He said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus." The ship is man's religious organization. We must come down, humble ourselves, leave the ship, and go to Jesus.
"But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" This is the thirtyfold.
There is much profession today and there are many believers in the world. While not able to destroy the body of Christ, Satan has corrupted the testimony, so that only a few gather to the precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ on scriptural ground.
When the Lord began to revive the truth of the one body, the one table and the rapture, then "be of good cheer" was brought to light; it is the believer's hope. Also revived was Jesus as the gathering point- "it is I." The disciples were afraid when the truth was first set forth. How good to have a Person, Jesus, for a center for our worship and praise.
Peter gives us a picture of the condition of the true testimony in the last days, before Jesus comes. Peter, as he walked on the water, was afraid. Do circumstances frighten us when Jesus tells us, "Be not afraid"? This has to do with taking our stand with the two or three gathered to the precious name of the Lord Jesus.
Could you walk on the water of circumstances, if Jesus was with you? Or if He was not with you? The only way that we can rise above circumstances is to have Jesus with us and be trusting in Him.
The Church Caught up —Israel Restored
Coming unto the ship, the wind ceased. Now the ship becomes a picture of the little remnant of Jews after the Church is caught up (Dan. 12:1-31And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:1‑3)). The little remnant who will preach the gospel of the kingdom for seven years are pictured in this company in the ship. They take the place of testimony, once the Church has left the earth. Of course, no one who has heard the testimony of the gospel of grace and rejected it will be among these witnesses. They that are in the ship, wor-shipping, own Him as the Son of God, that which the Jews refused to do when the Lord was here in the world. The blessing comes again to Israel. The virgin daughter of Israel is being healed.
The people of Genesaret, who before asked Jesus to leave their shore, now, through the testimony of the man healed of the demon, brought the whole city to be healed by Jesus. It is a picture of the millennium. This encourages each of us to be faithful in testimony. It will bring great results. How little we know what a word spoken in season will do!