Jesus the Messiah

David Au   -  

It’s the start of another week of The Daily Reading. We will be covering passages from Matthew chapter 14 to 17 this week. We usually would read the passages in sequential order by chapter. But this week, I’d like to instead read passages that are from different chapters but are similar in nature. You’ll see what I mean as we begin.

The reason why we are reading out of order is because I believe it will help you take notice of what might normally be overlooked.

The writer of the book of Matthew wanted to emphasize Jesus as the Messiah, the coming king. I hope the reading this week will help you discover a deeper reality of Jesus as your Messiah, your Saviour.

Day 1

Today let’s look at 2 passages that look similar. They are different accounts but both of them talk about Jesus feeding thousands of people.

As we begin, let’s take a minute to quiet ourselves and ask the Spirit to help us hear the voice of God.

<Pause for a minute>

Now read the two passages. What we will do after you finish reading the passages is we will compare the two passages to make note of the similarities and differences.

Let’s begin reading:

Matthew 14:13-21

13 Jesus heard what had happened to John. He wanted to be alone. So he went in a boat to a quiet place. The crowds heard about this. They followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus came ashore, he saw a large crowd. He felt deep concern for them. He healed their sick people.

15 When it was almost evening, the disciples came to him. “There is nothing here,” they said. “It’s already getting late. Send the crowds away. They can go and buy some food in the villages.”

16 Jesus replied, “They don’t need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

17 “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 Then Jesus directed the people to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up to heaven and gave thanks. He broke the loaves into pieces. Then he gave them to the disciples. And the disciples gave them to the people. 20 All of them ate and were satisfied. The disciples picked up 12 baskets of leftover pieces. 21 The number of men who ate was about 5,000. Women and children also ate.

Matthew 15:29-38

29 Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. 30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”

33 His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”

34 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.

“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”

35 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. 37 They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 38 The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children.

Questions to reflect on:

  1. Both passages began with Jesus being with the crowds, healing the sick among them. What kind of people were in the crowds?
  2. His disciples were there with Jesus as well. After spending a long period of time with the crowds and the crowds were tired and hungry, what would you say is the difference in the way the disciples responded to the hunger versus the way Jesus responded? See 14:15 and 15:32
  3. Where was food to be found according to the disciples? What about for Jesus, where was food to be found according to Jesus?
  4. What did scripture say about how the crowds felt after they ate?

Here’s what I’ve observed:

The crowds were in the thousands, first 5000, then 4000. Among them were the sick, the crippled, the blind, the mute, the lame. On top of that, women and children, too. Most of them were likely very poor, but with thousands of people in the mix, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of them were rich. I once heard a pastor describes the kinds of people that were there as a mishmash of humanity. Meaning there were the good and the bad and every kind of people in between that you can imagine.

While the disciples wanted to send all of them hungry thousands away, Jesus had compassion for all of them.

The writer is telling us this: that Jesus is for everyone. That Jesus loves everyone. And that everyone includes you, my friend. Please don’t count yourself out, you simply can’t. Because Jesus fed the thousands.

All of them ate and were satisfied. All of them were! They were fed by Jesus. The one who has food that no one else has.

There is much to discover just by comparing these two passages.

But I’d like to leave you with this today: The food that satisfies is found not anywhere else but right where Jesus is. The Jesus who loves you and gave his life for you.

If you’d like, use the following prayer to acknowledge that Jesus to satisfy your deepest longings:

Lord Jesus, I may not always be able to see and sense your love for me. But these passages have shown me that you are the One who fed and satisfied thousands. Out of so little you have created abundance. So I acknowledge that you can also satisfy my deepest desires. Please give me the food that sustains my soul. That I may be filled simply by received what you have to offer to me. Amen.


Day 2

Today we look at another two passages that are similar. The first passage is about Peter who saw Jesus walking on water and the second one is about a Canaanite woman whose daughter was demon-possessed.

As we begin, let’s take a minute to quiet ourselves and ask the Spirit to help us hear the voice of God.

<Pause for a minute>

Let’s begin reading:

Matthew 14:22-33

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”


Matthew 15:21-28

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

The two accounts marked Peter and the Canaanite woman’s encounter with Jesus. Both of them eventually came to a point of crying out to Jesus for help. As Peter had gotten out of the boat and began walking on water, he soon was afraid and started sinking, then he cried out “Lord, save me! This is Peter who just helped Jesus, along with the 11 other disciples, fed 5000 people out of five loaves of bread and two fish, and there were twelve baskets full of left over. You would have thought if there’s any time his faith in Jesus would be at its peak, it would have been that moment. He lacked the faith to complete his walk toward Jesus. Well the challenge Jesus gave Peter is not an easy one. I am sure if I was Peter, I might not even have the courage to get out of the boat. The reality lays bare here, that for a Jew, a disciple of Jesus who spent his days and nights with Jesus, comes the incredible call to trust in God to do the impossible.

Although Peter couldn’t complete his walk on water, those around him are sure that Jesus is truly the Son of God, worthy to be worshipped.

Now on the other account, we have a Canaanite woman, a non-Jew, a Gentile, someone who is supposed to be far away from God’s blessings and “chosenness”, came to Jesus begging for help. She addressed Jesus as Son of David, the Messiah! This woman knows who she’s talking to and what she’s talking about!! Some say that Jesus’ response to the woman was rather cruel, that he was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel, but I think Jesus was just being coy, testing to see if the woman would persist. And persist she did! She keeps on pressing forward, not willing to give in to the false belief that God doesn’t care.

“Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” she said, believing that Jesus cares for the marginalized, the poor, and the sick.

I think these two accounts are so beautifully paired together to illustrate the contours of faith: Peter who is a close disciple of Jesus fails in his attempt to trust God while the Canaanite woman shone with her persistent faith in God. Now remember, although Peter “failed” here, this wasn’t the end for him. In his later days, Peter became a man of faith.

What about you? Do you identify the current state of your faith more with Peter or the Canaanite woman? What do you think God is saying to you through the passages you read today?

Day 3

Normally, you can just pick any one of the Daily Reading entries and jump right into it. But for today’s reading, it would help give you some background If you were to first read Day 1 and Day 2. I would encourage you to start with Day 1 if you haven’t.

Begin reading Chapter 15:1-20

15:1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

8 “‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.

9 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’”

10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”

16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

Ok, Here we go!

On Day 1, we read about the miracles of Jesus and his disciples feeding 5000 and 4000 people. On Day 2, we read about Jesus and Peter walking on water and the Canaanite woman’s plea to Jesus to heal her sick daughter.

Here’s where the passage fit by chapter and by verse:

Matthew 14:13-21 – Feeding 5000 people
Matthew 14:22-23 – Jesus walked on water
Matthew 15:21-28 – The Canaanite woman
Matthew 15:29-38 – Feeding 4000 people

Today’s passage sits at the center of the four passages we read on Day 1 and 2:

  • Matthew 14:13-21 – Feeding 5000 people
    • Matthew 14:22-23 – Jesus walked on water
      • Matthew 15:1-20 What Makes People “Unclean”
    • Matthew 15:21-28 – The Canaanite woman
  • Matthew 15:29-38 – Feeding 4000 people

This kind of writing structure is common in Jewish literature. But what’s the point here? The point is that the passage we read today is a key focus that the writer wants us to pay special attention to.

The Pharisees came to Jesus angry with a complaint that his disciples didn’t wash their hands before eating. In the Jewish mind, unclean hands and unclean food can make a person unclean in the eyes of God. There is even a category for unclean people – they are called Gentiles. Jesus was quick to straighten out the Pharisees by telling them what makes a person unclean is the evil thoughts that come from their heart, not what enters into their mouth from the outside.

When we put Jesus’ teaching alongside the passages of Peter, the Canaanite woman and the feeding of thousands, we discover that his teaching marks a turning point on the kind of people that is loved by God.

Have a look at this:

  • Matthew 14:13-21 – Fed 5000 people, the majority of them Jewish from surrounding areas
    • Matthew 14:22-23 – Got on a boat to cross the lake, during which, Peter, a Jew, was challenged to walk on water
      • Matthew 15:1-20 Jesus’ teaching on the unclean comes from the heart, not from the outside
    • Matthew 15:21-28 – Arrived at the other side of the lake, Jesus healed a Gentile, Canaanite woman’s daughter
  • Matthew 15:29-38 – Fed 4000 people, the majority of them in the Gentile town east of Galilee

My friend, Jesus broke the stereotypes of who deserves God’s blessings and declared that everyone, whether their background, skin colour, language, social status is loved and accepted by God! He is the Messiah to the world!

Let’s take a moment and sit in this truth and allow yourself to hold on to the love that God has for you and your family.

If you already have received God’s love, is there a person, or are there people groups, who you believe doesn’t not deserve God’s grace? What might God be prompting you to do in light of this passage?

If you will, with your hands held out, palms up, pause for 2 minutes and sit in the presence of God and receive his love for you.


Day 4

Ok, for the past few days you have done some heavy lifting with the Daily Reading.

Way to go!

Thank you for staying with me.

Let’s begin today’s reading:

Matthew 16:13-28

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

What if I tell you I know someone who has the secret to destroying the Coronavirus once and for all? Would you believe such a person exists? Or would you be suspicious? Really, is that true? Show me and I’ll believe. Now what if you saw first hand how this person cured those with COVID-19 and wherever he goes, the COVID cases go down to near zero?

Would you call that person the Messiah?

Now put yourself in Peter’s shoes, what did it take for him to proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah?

After all that he had witnessed Jesus doing, the feeding of thousands of people, walking on water, the healing of the sick, the blind, the crippled, and the lame. And on top of that, the overflowing compassion that Jesus had for Jews and Gentiles alike, there is not a doubt in his mind that Jesus is the Saviour of the world.

Wherever Jesus goes, good news follows.

It was clear that Jesus needed Peter and the other disciples to be certain that he is the Messiah. What comes next is going to unsettle you.

Scripture says “from that point on”, from that point where the disciples were sure that Jesus is the Anointed One, the Saving One, the Messiah, Jesus began to point that to his mission. Once they were sure of who Jesus is, they now must know what Jesus came here to do.

[Jesus] must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. (v21)

If your eyes are trained, you’ll know that this is glorious, because in the end there is resurrection! But even to Peter, his first reaction was “no Lord! that can’t happen to you!”

It is very hard to grasp that in the Kingdom of God, power flows in the direction of service to others. Power and service go hand and hand and often require self sacrifice.

This calls for a pause to think about the people in our lives whom we’ve received blessing from and whom we could bless. Reflect on these:

  • Was there a time in your life where you were blessed by someone who has more power than you do?
  • Ask God to bring to mind the name of a person or family who you can be a blessing to


Day 5

Hello my friend, before you start reading, pause for 2 minute in silence and sit in the presence of God.

Matthew 17:14-20

14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”
17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Faith is such an integral element of the spiritual journey.

The disciples needed to have faith as they handed the tiny amount of bread and fish to Jesus. And as Jesus gave thanks and handed it back to them, they needed faith to begin distributing it to the crowds. Trusting that there’ll be enough.

Peter needed to have faith to continue walking on the water towards Jesus. The minute he lacked faith, he began to sink.

The Canaanite woman had faith that God cares deeply for even a perceived outsider like herself and her daughter. Jesus said to her “Woman, you have great faith.” Her daughter was healed.

Being healed requires faith, praying for others to be healed requires faith.
How do you have faith?

Jesus pointed out that even “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Well you might say, my faith is small, it’s weak, it’s tiny, it’s inconsequential.

That’s ok. As long as you have the tiniest amount of faith. There is no minimum requirement of how big our small faith must be in order to move mountains.

Just as long as you are not of little faith.

What’s the difference between having little faith as opposed to having faith that is small?

I’m glad you asked!

Little faith is actually a mistrust or disinterest in the Lord. Little faith is actually no faith at all.

Whereas faith that is small, even as small as a mustard seed is faith that knows how fragile our faith can be, and we learn to rely on the God who can move mountains.

Huge difference, right?

Where are you at with your faith? Are you of little faith or do you have faith as small as the mustard seed?

A song comes to mind and I think it’s perfect for us today.

Use it as prayer and ask the Lord to give you more faith.