I am very thankful to be part of the Moms Bible Study Fellowship group. Just last week, I was thinking of how we could contribute to the group, perhaps by providing lunch money to offset the costs involved. I had been thinking about it, and had wanted to ask via the chat group on whatsapp how to go about it, who do we look for to give the money to, etc. Nonetheless, I didn’t want anyone in the chat group to feel inadequate or obliged to give after reading my message… So, I did not message the group my question. Praise and glory be to God who answered my question! Aunty Judy couldn’t get lunch for the group and asked via the group chat if anyone could help, I quickly volunteered and am thankful God gave us this opportunity to provide for the ladies. There were 6 of us who responded that they would be able to attend the BSF today, I bought 7 packets of Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak and 5 bottles of barley and chrysanthemum tea, just in case we may have someone pop in unexpectedly. True enough, the extra packet came in handy for Uncle Foong whose lunch was not taken care of for today! God is Jehovah Jireh – Our Provider!
Today, Baby E was a little lamb! and was happy playing with Isaac, Asher and Jude.
Bible Study notes: Matthew 14:1-12
As “Herod the Great” attacked and sought to destroy the infant Jesus (Matt 2:1-18), so “Herod the tetrarch” arrests, imprisons and eventually kills John. Note that these 2 “Herods” are 2 different people. In fact, the latter title in 14:1 serves to distinguish this Herod, also called Antipas, from his father, King Herod as mentioned in Matt 2:1.
Having “heard the reports about Jesus” (v. 1), Herod Antipas showed lack of understanding firstly by offering a faulty explanation for Jesus’ miraculous powers and secondly, by not showing the slightest interest in learning more about Jesus. Herod’s rejection of John’s preaching corresponds to the Nazarenes’ rejection of Jesus’ teaching – this response parallels that of the crowds written in Matt 13:54-58. (Perhaps this can help to explain why Matthew has placed this story here, rather than with the account in Matt 11:2-3.) Is light on the Truth (about Jesus) withheld from Herod because he has not responded rightly to the truth he has already received (from John)? What about us? What about the people whom we talked to about Jesus?
Matthew’s account is shorter than Mark’s (compare Matt 14:1-12 and Mark 6:14-29). By keeping the story brief, Matthew focuses our attention on the stark differences in the respective characters between Herod and John:-
- The Strength of John the Baptist
Despite knowing the risks involved, John publicly reproached a clear example of immorality. He openly declared the unlawful liaison between Herod and Herodias, who was his brother Philip’s wife (Matt 14:3-4) – when Antipas divorced his first wife to take his brother’s wife, he not only violated Jesus’ teaching on the moral indissolubility of marriage (Matt 5:31-32) but also the Mosaic law concerning incest (Lev 18:16; 20:21).
- The Weakness of Herod Antipas
Despite his kingship, Herod is shown to be a most insecure individual. Wanting to kill John because of his preaching, he nonetheless refrained because “he was afraid of the people” (v. 5). And in the end he reversed himself and had John killed under pressure from Herodias and in fear of what his dinner guests would otherwise think (v. 9).
Jewish scholars had devised ways to release people from oaths that would lead to more evil, so no one would have faulted Herod for breaking his promise: life took precedence over oaths. But Antipas was concerned about more than his oath itself. Once Herod had given his oath in front of dinner guests, his “honor” was at stake (compare Esther 1:10-19); here short-range political considerations take precedence over the long-term ones, and Antipas remained captive to what others may think.
Before we make promises (especially to our little ones), think through first and make sure we are able to keep them. Many parents often give empty promises to their children, not knowing by doing so, they not only jeopardize their own trustworthiness, they also unknowingly cultivates the same seed in their own offsprings by being bad examples.
I pray that J and I will be extra careful with our words, that we will not give empty promises to Baby E. May God help us to look to Jesus who does not give empty promises. He actually comes back from the dead to keep his promises! In fact, he fills emptiness with promise, for we see this in the empty cross, empty tomb, and empty grave clothes:-
- The empty cross promises forgiveness, even purification from our sins and the only way to fill the void in our souls for God.
- The empty tomb promises us Jesus raised from the dead and we too shall be raised in the resurrection.
- The empty grave clothes promises positive proof that Jesus is who He says He is. He is the Son of God!