The Scriptorium

Two Kings

The end of one the beginning of the other. Matthew 14.1-36

Matthew 14: Son of God (7)

Pray Psalm 132.6, 7.
Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;
We found it in the fields of the woods.
Let us go into His tabernacle;
Let us worship at His footstool.

Sing Psalm 132.6, 7.
(Finlandia: Be Still My Soul)
The word throughout the chosen nation spread,
to Ephrata, and in the fields of Jaar:
“Now let us go,” the faithful people said,
“and worship where our Savior’s dwellings are!
Around His footstool let our worship spread.
Come, gather to Him, all from near and far!”

Read and meditate on Matthew 14.1-36.

Prepare.
1. Which two kings are in view in this chapter? In what ways do they differ?

2. Over how much does Jesus rule as King?

Meditate.
Matthew 14 unfolds a remarkable and subtle transition which, like a watermark on paper, creates a background for what Matthew has written here.

It is the story of two kings, two administrations, and two testaments. The first king is Herod, who oversaw an administration of oppression, pragmatism, and scorn for God. He ruled as a puppet of Caesar, who ruled as a puppet of Satan. Herod wielded an earthly sword, but not unto justice and righteousness. His was a self-serving and sorry administration.

The second King is our Lord Jesus, Who rules a Kingdom of life, grace, healing, and restoration. He has defeated and bound Satan, and is now taking back for Himself all that is rightfully His. Jesus wields the Sword of the Spirit to give life and cause all creation to obey the will of God.

With the death of John, the Old Testament, as it were, reaches its final episode. The Old Testament Law –  which, John insisted, applied even to Herod – was powerless to save. But saving was never its purpose. Bringing the blessings of grace to those who are saved was and remains its valid role. But for the Law to fulfill its mighty purpose, a new administration is required, under a new King. With the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus recapitulates and supersedes the manna of the wilderness, holding out the promise of boundless blessings to come. With Immanuel, the New Testament launches, abounding in grace and renewing power.

By demonstrating His power over wind and sea, Jesus showed that God had truly come among men, and though men don’t always seek Him for the right motives, still His grace abounds to those who are yet in the bondage of sin and its effects. A new administration has begun, in which the grace of God is the currency and His glory is the motif, driving force, and goal.

Reflect.
1. How would you describe the power Jesus exercises in His Kingdom? What is its nature, scope, and effect?

2. Who has a place in the new Kingdom and administration Jesus came to launch?

3. How can we make sure that our motives in following Jesus are what they should be?

The weakness of those who, not knowing that Christ is God, desired to make a nearer approach to him, was endured for a time. Now that he fills heaven and earth with the sweet savor of his grace, we must embrace―not with hands or eyes, but by faith―the salvation which he offers to us from heaven. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Matthew 14.34

Jesus, You are God and King, and I am Your child and servant! Send me today for Your Kingdom’s sake to…

Pray Psalm 132.11-18.
Thank God for Jesus, David’s Son and our King, and offer up your day to Him in prayer.

Sing Psalm 132.11-18.
Psalm 132.11-18 (Finlandia: Be Still My Soul)
Remember, Lord, the oath You swore to David;
do not turn back, do not deny Your Word:
“One of your sons, with your throne I will favor,
and He shall keep My cov’nant evermore,
and walk within My testimonies ever;
thus He shall ever rule as Israel’s Lord.”

God dwells among us, and He will forever,
to meet our needs and clothe us with His grace.
He has to us sent Jesus Christ, our Savior,
and made us His eternal resting-place.
His foes are banished from His presence ever,
but we shall reign with Him before His face.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

 

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore