“The people” believed that John the Baptist was “a prophet.” His notoriety did not protect him from the wrath of King Herrod’s wife who wanted John to be killed. John’s purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus. As his time on earth eventually came to a violent end, the ministry of the Messiah went forward toward the central events of human history.
Crowds followed Jesus even when He went to “a desolate place by Himself.” People everywhere looked to Him as the immediate answer to their various distresses, and He “had compassion on them and healed their sick.”
When evening came and the people needed to eat, the disciples began to panic. Who would feed all of these hungry souls? Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” How could this be accomplished When the meal was over, thousands had been amply fed with just five loaves of bread and two fish. Who was this teacher and healer?
A few hours after midnight Jesus walked on the water to draw near to His frightened followers. “They were terrified,” but He reassured them with the Name of Jehovah. He literally spoke the words “I-AM,” the simple phrase that God used in the Old Testament to refer to Himself. They all “worshiped Him” and said to Jesus, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
When they crossed over to the other side of the lake in the early hours of the morning, large crowds again sought Him for miracles. Anyone who just touched “the fringes of His garment” was made well.
Jesus is the great “I-AM” and the “Son of God.” He knows about the restless hearts of suffering mortals. We hear His gentle rebuke, “O you of little faith,” and we turn to Him again as our best hope in a difficult world.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, the fact of an uneasy conscience cannot be wished away. Only through the blood of Your Son can we truly have rest. Have compassion upon us, O Lord. Help Your church to experience true forgiveness and restoration. Feed us with bread from heaven. Speak to our hearts in a way that will satisfy our deepest needs and desires. Send Your covenant community forth in peace that we may serve You. Teach us to pray with a secure faith, for we know that You control all things. Come to Your servants in our moments of fear. Take hold of us when we doubt, and don’t allow us to sink under the weight of many cares. We long for the day when sickness and disease will be far from all of Your people. Until the trumpet sounds and the new life of resurrection appears, keep our eyes fixed upon the face of our Redeemer.