[Matthew 14 from the Message]
This chapter starts with Herod, who is fearful that John has come back from the dead. This reminds me just how much violence was a part of life in Jesus’ day … and that I deceive myself when I think good behavior guarantees good fortune.
And Jesus, for whom this message hit very close to home, could not get away, even to grieve the death of his cousin. His own struggles were trumped by his concern for the people seeking him out, needing both hope and food. Maybe being able to attend so tangibly to his calling – in feeding their bodies and souls – at least gave him a way to remember that something grander than Herod was at work. When he finally found some time alone, it went late into the night.
The narrative moves on to the storm at sea and Jesus, walking on the water. I don’t know what to make of the ‘facts’ of the matter – but there is a deep truth in the story. Storms scare me. It is easy for me to lose my faith in the face of what seem insurmountable odds. But Jesus walks to me through the storm and invites me to walk with him. Even when I tentatively trust his call, I find myself distrusting my own ability to respond – and that is when I sink. And then he catches me once again. Like those who crowded around him as they landed – when I touch him – even the edge of his clothing – I am healed.