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This week’s readings are all from Matthew 13-14. Click here to see a full listing of each day’s reading and the full chapters of Matthew 13-14. Full readings of each day’s smaller segments of the readings will be posted on this site during the week.

Today's Reading

14 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard reports about Jesus, and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead! And because of this, miraculous powers are at work in him.” For Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because John had repeatedly told him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Although Herod wanted to kill John, he feared the crowd because they accepted John as a prophet. But on Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod, so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Instructed by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” Although it grieved the king, because of his oath and the dinner guests he commanded it to be given. 10 So he sent and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12 Then John’s disciples came and took the body and buried it and went and told Jesus.

13 Now when Jesus heard this he went away from there privately in a boat to an isolated place. But when the crowd heard about it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 As he got out he saw the large crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 When evening arrived, his disciples came to him saying, “This is an isolated place and the hour is already late. Send the crowds away so that they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But he replied, “They don’t need to go. You give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” 18 “Bring them here to me,” he replied. 19 Then he instructed the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, and looking up to heaven he gave thanks and broke the loaves. He gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the broken pieces left over, twelve baskets full. 21 Not counting women and children, there were about 5,000 men who ate.

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Vickie Taylor
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Time is such an interesting thing. Time can move slowly or it can pass quickly in the blink of an eye. Why do I bring up the concept of time today? Because today I have spent time thinking about Matthew 14:1-21 and the time it took for all these things to take place prior to the death of John the Baptist and how much time passed between Matthew 14:1-12 and Matthew 14:13-21. Jesus was 30 years old when his ministry began and John had already begun his ministry and had a loyal following by the time he baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. Herod the tetrarch knew of John and over time had come to see him as a threat to his power but he doesn't appear to have heard about Jesus until after the death of John because he says, "This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead." After the death of John, it appears that Jesus takes time off to mourn his friend and relative in a desolate place. How long would he have been there before the people from the surrounding area heard he was there and began to come and seek him out? It would have taken some time for 5000 men, along with their wives and children to hear about Jesus, make their way to where Jesus was and take their place to listen to him preach. And then, there is a meal to consider. Whew! I don't know about you but in the 30-45 minutes that I have spent with these verses I have just covered a significant amount of time in probably not minutes or hours but days and even years. Why all this talk about time this morning? Well, I believe the Holy Spirit is reminding me that time with Jesus is time well spent. In the good times, in the bad times and in the desolate times, time with Jesus is time well spent. Time is such an interesting thing.

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Shelley Johnson
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Yes it is! I'm learning to pay closer attention to the lapses of time in Scripture, too -- how a turn of the page can be a leap ahead into the future by years. And other times it's a story in real time. It's easy to forget that the book of Matthew covers thirty-three'ish years 😊