In today's reading Jesus is withdrawing from the multitudes and spending more time alone with His disciples, preparing them for His crucifixion. We must keep in mind that even the disciples, at this point, were thinking of an earthly and political kingdom, and they did not understand Jesus' teaching about the cross. It was necessary, therefore, that Jesus prepare them for this great testing experience.

There are three main sections in chapter 14: (1) The death of John the Baptist (verses 1-12). (2) The feeding of the 5,000 (verses 13-21). (3) The miracle of the storm (verses 22-36). There are also three characteristics of this present age in relation to the servants of God: (1) Persecution (verses 1-12)--Christ's servants will suffer and die for Him. (2) Provision (verses 13-21)--Christ's servants will administer the Bread of Life to men. (3) Protection (verses 22-36)--Christ will pray for His servants and rescue them.

In chapter 15 Jesus is withdrawing from the Pharisees (verse 21) into the region of Tyre and Sidon; from there into Galilee (verse 29); and, finally, from Galilee to the coast of Magdala (verse 39). Keep in mind that during this period He was avoiding open trouble with Jewish leaders, while continuing to teach His disciples and prepare them for His death on the cross. Verses 1-20 should be labeled, "Truth versus Tradition," and verses 21-39, "Jesus and the Gentiles.".

MEMORY VERSE FOR TODAY: Man now can be: Redeemed.

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.


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