Vs. 2, “and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” Many people would mistake who Jesus really was. We will begin to see a shift in our reading to Jesus spending more time with his disciples. Sadly, we are now told about the demise of our dear John the Baptist. Herod Antipas (younger son of Herod the Great – who sought to kill Jesus as a baby)…was ruling, and would end having John beheaded. This passage of Jesus withdrawing upon hearing John’s death always touches me. Even though Jesus was grieving, he still took the time to have compassion upon those who were hurting and turn the loaves and fish into a miracle. And of course, we end with the famous event of Jesus walking on water in the storm!
Regarding application…Don’t be Afraid. Vs. 27, “But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” It’s important to note that this storm was not caused because of the disciples disobedience. Jesus was the one who told them to get into the boat. Yet, even though the physical storm was upon them. Even though the storm of their spiritual toil and faith would again be tested with Jesus’ obedience on the cross…Jesus would tell them “don’t be afraid.” Question: What are you afraid of? I didn’t ask you if you are afraid…because deep down inside…there is bound to be something that you are fearful about. But, Jesus didn’t rebuke them for it…he encouraged them! Keep your head up and eyes on the Lord. No matter how hard it gets…open your heart to Him and be honest about your feelings! He loves you so much!
Vs. 2, “Concerning Egypt: This is the message against the army of Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt, which was defeated at Carchemish on the Euphrates River by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah.” Jeremiah now begins addressing the nations with oracles (authoritative statements). Starting with Egypt, we see God begin to humble them and remind them of their big defeat at Carhemish from the new rising power (Babylonians). Bear in mind, it was the first the Egyptians that attacked and killed Josiah (Judah’s last good king). Jeremiah goes on to give them prophecies of what is soon to come. Egypt would be destroyed, because of what they did and their very high pride. But in this chapter, we also see God’s reminder of His covenant promise to Israel (Jacob)!
Regarding application…Don’t Get Discouraged. Vs. 27, “Do not fear, O Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, O Israel.” The time we live in now is actually very similar to Jeremiah’s. Wars and the demise of nations and punishment continue in our day. It can get very discouraging to see all the wars and atrocities that happen in this world. Then we look at our own lives and sometimes see the seemingly pointless activities of our lives. Yet, God would remind His people that He is calling them back home. Just as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, “There is no place like home.” This place we live in is but a shadow of what our future holds! Keep the faith, don’t get discouraged when tough times come. Turn to God’s word this week and let Him be a part of your daily life in all your interactions!
Vs. 6, “So Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah and stayed with him among the people who were left behind in the land.” While Jeremiah received his freedom after the Babylonians seized Jerusalem, somehow…he found himself with the captives being marched up to Babylon. He was given a choice by Nebuzardadan, and Jeremiah caring so much for God’s people chose to stay. So, Jeremiah heads back to join Gedaliah who was chosen to help care for the land. An interesting choice because technically, Jeremiah would be with the rotten figs (Jer. 24)…but Jeremiah knew there were already prophets serving in Babylon through Ezekiel and Daniel. Jeremiah once again made a very difficult decision by staying with the rotten figs to help them. So Gedaliah would serve the people and tell them a very similar message that Jeremiah would tell the captives in Babylon to keeping living. But here is where the plot thickens in our narrative. A plot for assasisation! Johanan servant to Gedaliah would receive information that Ishmael (a descandant of David) planned on killing Gedaliah. He wento inform Gedaliah, but Gedaliah did not believe him.
Regarding application…Don’t be Naive. Vs. 14, “and said to him (Gedeliah), “Don’t you know that Baalis king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to take your life?” But Gedaliah son of Ahikam did not believe them.” Looking at Gedeliah, he did not take the council of Johanan seriously. While he was right in telling him not to kill Ishmael, he was naive to think that he should be careful of his life. Important leaders (Presidents, etc.) have secret service to protect them day and night. Gedeliah was to naive to think his enemies would carry out their threats. Likewise…God councils us to be careful of the enemy who prowls like a lion. Put on the full armor of God! We too would be very naive to think that we will not be attacked by the enemies lies and flaming arrows! Be wise dearest brothers and sisters!