It’s quite the statement when someone who kills you, hears about the Son of God doing amazing things and preaching & teaching, and thinks it is you risen from the dead. Not that John the Baptist would really appreciate the irony of the situation so much. But it certainly does make a statement.
This chapter focuses the mental camera on Jesus, the Christ, by panning through John, Jesus, and Peter. Attention is brought to the fate of John the Baptist, who must decrease while He (Christ) must increase… decrease is right. Herod, who had arrested him for speaking out against him, had been keeping John alive in prison because he was struck by what John said, and Herod would bring him out to listen to him from time to time. However, Herodias, Herod’s wife who did not like John speaking against her, had wanted John dead, but Herod was unwilling to do it. So on Herod’s birthday, Herodius’ daughter, Salome, danced for him. He offers her whatever she wants, she asks for the head of John the Baptist on a platter, and as much as he doesn’t want to do it, he does it to fulfill his promise before his guests.
So Jesus, in mourning, goes to a secluded place to find rest / peace, but He finds none. The crowds arrive there before He does. Even in mourning, He still minister’s and leads. Then He feeds the crowds… or at least He blesses the food and tells the disciples to feed the people. As a result, 5,000 are fed from five small loaves and two fish. Afterwards He sends the disciples away in a boat, and He sends the crowds home.
Finally, there is a storm on the sea, Jesus walks on water, and the disciples see him. Jesus speaks to the disciples to calm them, and Peter responds with an amazing reaction of faith. He says, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” He is finally getting it. With Christ, and only through Christ (and the Holy Spirit), he will increase.
Who are we to become and at what cost? John had to decrease for Christ to increase. As Christ increased, Peter was able to increase as well. Peter’s increase led to the increase of the church, but eventually he too decreased so that future generations could increase. What is your role and your purpose in Christ?
Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.
P.S. This is my 150th post.