Disorder (Matthew 14:3-12)

Photo by Darwin Vegher on Unsplash

From the disorder of nothing, God created all things. From the disorder of   light and darkness, God created the order of day and night. From the disorder of earth and water, God created the dry land and the sea. We know these things from the opening lines of Scripture. Yet there is much profit in being reminded of this truth. In fact, years after Matthew’s account of Jesus’ life and ministry, Paul would encourage the Corinthian church with this truth, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” 

Sometimes the darkness and chaos of our circumstance and/or sin can appear to overwhelm us. We wonder if God will ever be able to bring clarity to the mess that we’re in, or bring holiness out of our messed up lives. But He is well able to do that, and He is always working to that end. He is constantly winding the threads of circumstance to bring about the conclusion He predestined, even as Satan and his hordes (and all sinners in their sin) are trying to unwind those threads into disorder and confusion. We can trust that He is able, because God knows “the rest of the story,” and His Word is full of accounts that tell us so!

Having told the reader that Herod the tetrarch believed Jesus to be John the Baptist resurrected, Matthew now breaks into the Gospel narrative to give the reader some background information: “Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered him a prophet. On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for them and pleased Herod so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.”  

Herod would’ve known that John was dead – he ordered that execution and personally saw the grisly result. Herod also would’ve known that he didn’t really want to kill John because he believed John to be known as a prophet. If John was now resurrected and alive, it would be a minor vindication of Herod’s internal thinking. It would also allow that Herod could propagate that idea in the public sphere. That would not only shine a confusing spotlight on John – it would also spread many seeds of confusion about Jesus (and even about Herod). But by including “the rest of the story” in the Gospel narrative, God informs us of the full truth. Any mistruths the reader might have had about who John or Jesus were (or even who Herod was) are washed away by that revelation. 

This is a powerful spiritual principle; As He did in the beginning, and as He and did again in Jesus’ day, God is still in the business of separating light from darkness! 

The work of the Spirit can and will do the same in our lives!

The web became an almost omnipotent—and omnipresent—tool for cruising the information highway. The Internet, however, has not helped people discern truth

Kendall H. Easley

APPLICATION: Thankfulness

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”  – Jesus, speaking in John 16:13