Tag Archives: John the Baptist

Matthew 14 – John, Jesus, & Peter

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.

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Matthew 11 – Reactions

When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.”  When i read this, I take it as Jesus instructing and sending out the disciples and while they are sent out to do the work of ministry, He is going to their home cities to teach and preach.  It seems almost like a mentality of, “You go take care of these places and meanwhile I have your back.  I am going to make sure your families and friends are taken care of. ”  It’s like His reaction to their stepping out is to take care of those they care about.

Meanwhile, John the Baptist, the one who recognized Jesus conception from the womb and leapt in his mother’s womb at His presence, the one who prepared the way for Jesus, the one who told Jesus that he couldn’t baptize Him because he was not even worthy to untie His sandals, the one who heard the voice of God (YHWH) speaking and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Jesus, the one who said, “He must increase, and I must decrease”, that John; He has set for too long and has come to the point of wondering and doubting that which He had previously known beyond a shadow of a doubt.  So he sends his disciples, the ones that are left, to Jesus to ask if He is the one.  Jesus reaction is not one of disgust that John is even asking such a thing and reacting in such a way, but His reaction is to tell them to observe and report.  That that is the answer for John’s doubt.  There is no criticism of John, only comfort.

Meanwhile, Jesus begins to respond to the reaction of the cities He has already been to.  He had preached, and taught, and healed, and done miracles, and called them to repentance, yet they had not.  They had continued doing what they knew was wrong and treating Jesus teaching like a passing fad.  So Jesus pronounces “Woe” on them.  They rejected the message, so that reaction is going to affect their standing on the judgment day.

Finally, Jesus calls for a reaction from the people.  The conclusion to the chapter is, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

So what is your and my reaction to His message?

 

John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Matthew 9 – Responses

As time goes on, Christ continues ministering.  It doesn’t matter where He is, or what He is doing, He keeps ministering.  However, as you will see, the people’s response to Him contrasts greatly.  A paralytic is brought to Him.  He tells him that his sins are forgiven, and not long after that, to get up and walk.  The scribes (educated folk) criticize him for the first thing, and the people were awestruck and praise YHWH for both.  Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners.  The Pharisees criticize Him for mingling with the rabble.  Meanwhile, the tax collectors and sinners come to repentance.  John (the Baptist)’s  disciples critically question him about why they and even the Pharisees disciples fast, but Jesus’ don’t.  Jesus replies that now is not the right time.  If you expect too much from someone or something at the wrong time, you can destroy the work that needs to be done.

Day by day, people keep coming to Him, in spite of the scribes and Pharisees criticisms.  We actually begin to see deep contrasts in who and how people come to Him.  A synagogue official (public VIP figure) comes boldly to Him pleading with Him to heal and revive his dead daughter.  Meanwhile an unclean woman with an issue of blood comes to Him secretly hoping to get a scrap from the master’s table.  She wants to be healed.  While she comes in secret, He heals her publicly.  While the leader calls to Him publicly, Jesus heals his daughter in secret.

As He goes on and casts out demons, the religious leaders follow along with the gentile beliefs and decide that the only way for a demon to be cast out is if you send in a stronger, tougher demon to kick the first one out.  But then you end up with a different, stronger, demon to deal with.

Yet none of this matters to Jesus.  He feels compassion for the people for they are like sheep without a shepherd.  So, what’s His response?  That answer is in chapter 10.

John Camiolo

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Matthew 3 – John the Baptist

John the Baptist had a purpose for his life.  He was to prepare the way for the coming Messiah.  His purpose was to point people to THE Christ.  His primary message was, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!”  Once the Christ came, he was to decrease so that Christ could increase.

How often do young people, and even older people, seek purpose for their lives?  How often do they pursue understanding for who they are, and what they are to do and become?  But, what if we did know?  What if we did know that we were to prepare the way for something great… and then, that’s it.  What if we knew that we would spend years and years of our lives dedicated to the work of preaching, teaching, calling, etc.  Then it would lead up to ONE day!  …one minute!  …one moment!  And then… what?

You’ve just spent your entire life getting ready and it’s over.  Now “He must increase, and I must decrease.”  None of the rest of it matters all that much.  Your purpose is done, and the rest of your life is mostly meaningless.  Not only for that to happen, but to know that that was going to happen.  Wow, that’s tough.

I really wonder if in today’s world we could handle knowing the truth?  I really wonder if we aren’t so caught up in ourselves that if God / YHWH actually told us what we wanted to know, how many of us would simply run away.  There are those that would say that in those times people were made of sterner stuff.  I don’t know to what extent i would agree with that.  People are people.  Someone may be taught to be stronger, better, wiser… whatever, but we are still made of the same stuff.

Would you or I be able to simply let go, knowing that our purpose has been served and we have nothing left but to push people away and tell them to follow something else… not because we had done something wrong, but because we had done it all right?  John the Baptist was an amazing man.  He lived the life  that YHWH had made him f or, then when that moment was over, he decreased so that Christ could increase.  I don’t know if i could do that.

 

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

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