Matthew 14:13-21- Pentecost 11- August 28, 2011
The Love of God is Always Found in Christ
Frequently in the four Gospels, we hear of Jesus withdrawing someplace by Himself alone. He did this often in order to pray, or to instruct His disciples, or sometimes even just to rest. The Gospel reading for this morning begins by saying, “When Jesus heard this, He withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by Himself.” What Jesus had just heard is explained right before our text begins. Jesus had just heard that John the Baptist had been beheaded by King Herod. Herod had married his own brother’s wife, which was a sin. Leviticus 20:21 reads: “If a man takes his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing.” John was a prophet. So he told Herod what no one else wanted to tell him. And he suffered for doing the right thing. John probably knew that his rebuke would likely do no good. He probably knew furthermore that it would bring him into great danger to confront such a powerful and crooked man. But he did it anyway.
He took this great risk because he was convinced of three things. First, of course, John was convinced that Herod was a sinner who needed to be called out on his sin. Second, John was convinced that Jesus was his Savior. He knew that the message of all the prophets before him, and the subject of his own preaching, was fulfilled in the object of his own faith. He pointed to Jesus with his own finger calling Him the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. That’s what faith does it points to Jesus and says behold the Lamb of God who takes my sin away too. And whatever doubts John might have had while he was languishing in prison were answered by Jesus Himself through messengers, saying, “Go tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.” And this brings us to the third thing that John the Baptist was convinced of: that nothing, not even death, could separate him from the love of God in Christ Jesus his Lord. THE LOVE OF GOD IS ALWAYS FOUND IN CHRIST.