Mistaken Identity

This past weekend at Eastbrook, I continued our new preaching series, “Who Do You Say I Am?”, by looking at a strange episode in Matthew 14:1-13 on the death of John the Baptist at the hands of Herod Antipas. This passage has import for revealing Jesus’ identity and also gives us insight into the life of discipleship.

This message is part of the sixth part of our longer series on Matthew, which includes “Family Tree,” “Power in Preparation,” “Becoming Real,” “The Messiah’s Mission,” and “Stories of the Kingdom.”

You can find the message video and outline below. You can also view the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, and he said to his attendants,
‘This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead!’” (Matthew 14:1-2)

Jesus Mistaken for John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-2)

Reports about Jesus reach Herod Antipas

The similar ministry of Jesus and John the Baptist

Herod Antipas’ similar concerns about Jesus and John

John the Baptist Crashes Herod’s Party (Matthew 14:3-12)

John speaks truth about Herod’s actions

Herod’s party and family drama

John’s brutal death at Herod’s hands

Jesus Withdraws (Matthew 14:13)

Withdrawing from Herod Antipas and the crowds

Withdrawing with the apostles and to be with the Father


Dig Deeper:

This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize John’s message in Matthew 3:2
  • Journal, draw, paint, or ink this story as a way of reflecting on how you see Jesus and who Jesus really is to you.
  • Read more about John the Baptist’s life in the following passages:
  • Luke 1:5-25, 39-80
  • Luke 3:1-20
  • Matthew 3:1-12
  • John 1:6-8, 19-34
  • John 3:22-36
  • Matthew 11:1-19
  • Matthew 14:1-12
  • Mark 6:14-29
  • Matthew 17:11-13; 21:32
  • Read more about Herod Antipas here or here.

Eastbrook at Home – September 19, 2021

Eastbrook-At-Home-Series-GFX_16x9-Title

Join us for worship with Eastbrook Church through Eastbrook at Home at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM.

We continue our series, “Who Do You Say I Am?,” as I preach on the death of John the Baptist at the hands of Herod Antipas in connection with Jesus’ rising ministry in Galilee from Matthew 14:1-13. We are also integrating our annual meeting into the services this weekend as a way of highlighting all that God is doing in our midst.

This series continues our extended journey through the Gospel of Matthew, which includes our previous series “Family Tree,” “Power in Preparation,” “Becoming Real,” “The Messiah’s Mission,” and “Stories of the Kingdom: parables of Jesus.”

We also continue in-person services at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 AM this weekend at the Eastbrook Campus, and you no longer need to RSVP ahead of time.

If you are new to Eastbrook, we want to welcome you to worship and would ask you to text EBCnew to 94000 as a first step into community here at Eastbrook.

Each Sunday at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM, you can participate with our weekly worship service at home with your small group, family, or friends. This service will then be available during the week until the next Sunday’s service starts. You can also access the service directly via Vimeo, the Eastbrook app, or Facebook.

If you are not signed up for our church emailing list, please sign up here. Also, please remember that during this time financial support for the church is critical as we continue minister within our congregation and reach out to our neighborhood, city, and the world at this challenging time. Please give online or send in your tithes and offerings to support the ministry of Eastbrook Church.

“Who Do You Say I Am?” – a new series at Eastbrook

This coming Sunday at Eastbrook Church we begin a new preaching series entitled “Who Do You Say I Am?” This continues our journey through the Gospel of Matthew, focusing the expansion of Jesus’ ministry throughout the Galilee region in teaching and activity in Matthew 13-16. The series is an exploration of Jesus’ identity through all this. This is the sixth part of our longer series on Matthew, which includes “Family Tree,” “Power in Preparation,” “Becoming Real,” “The Messiah’s Mission,” and “Stories of the Kingdom: parables of Jesus.”

Join us each weekend of this series in-person or via Eastbrook at Home.

Here are the weekly topics for the series:

September 12 – “Missing Jesus” – Matthew 13:53-58

September 19 – “Mistaken Identity” – Matthew 14:1-12

September 26 – “Feeding 5,000” – Matthew 14:13-21

October 3 – “Walking on Water” – Matthew 14:22-36

[October 10 & 17 – MissionsFest]

October 24 – “Matters of the Heart” – Matthew 15:1-20

October 31 – “Seeing the Other” – Matthew 15:21-28

November 7 – “Feeding 4,000” – Matthew 15:29-39

November 14 – “Mixed-Up Priorities” – Matthew 16:1-12

November 21 – “Who Is Jesus?” – Matthew 16:13-20

What Does It Look Like to Step Out in Faith? [Peter and Faith, part 4]

image 2 - water

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat. (Matthew 14:28-29)

Peter’s faith leads him to risk stepping out of the boat. He actually steps out in faith to follow Jesus onto the waters in the midst of the waves and wind. Peter shows us what faith looks like. He hasn’t waited for someday. He’s looked and listened for Jesus. And he steps out.

Philippe Petit, a French acrobat and high-wire artist, knows what it means to risk stepping out. In the early 1970s, he heard about the construction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York. When he saw a picture of their design, it was like he heard a voice calling him to do something startling and risky.

The 2008 documentary, Man on Wire, tells the story of how, after six years of planning, on August 7th, 1974, Petit and his friends secretly rode a freight elevator 104 stories up into the newly constructed twin towers of the World Trade Center. After stretching a ¾” metal cable across the 200 foot span between the towers, Petit illegally stepped out for a high wire act like no other. With the winds blowing, Philippe Petit was 110 stories—a quarter of a mile—above the sidewalks of Manhattan. 

Man on Wire

He walked the wire for 45 minutes, making eight crossings between the towers. He sat on the wire, gave knee salutes and, while lying on the wire, spoke with a gull circling above his head. After this spell-binding display, Petit was arrested, taken for psychological evaluation, and brought to jail before he was finally released.

Risky faith looks a bit like that. We hear a voice calling us to action. We respond. And then we step out. It may seem startling and risky, but we will do whatever Jesus says.

How Do We Hear Jesus? [Peter and Faith, part 3]

image 2 - water

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat. (Matthew 14:28-29)

If faith sees Jesus and desires Jesus, how do we really hear from Jesus?

We see that Peters walk of faith comes after he hears Jesus’ invitation to join Him upon the waves. Now that is wondrous to read about but what does that mean for our own lives?

The first aspect of hearing from Jesus is that we ask and wait. Peter does not jump out of the boat before talking with Jesus. Yes, he is bold enough to take the initiative to ask Jesus but Peter is not so foolish to try and walk out there without first hearing Jesus’ invitation. Faith responds to God. Faith hears because God first speaks. Our framework for understanding the dynamics of a living interactive relationship with the Living God through Jesus Christ must always be shaped around the deep truth that God speaks first and our lives are always a response to Him. I had a friend in college who jokingly said that in prayer he told God what to do. Of course, prayer is not really like that, anymore than any important relationship in our life is like that. Prayer is an interaction with God based in a loving relationship of trust by which we hear Him first and respond.

Out of that place, we begin to develop a living relationship with God. Now, many will say that our life with Christ is not like Peter’s interaction here in Matthew 14. This is true in the sense that Peter is talking with the incarnate Jesus upon earth. But it is no less true that we, by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, can interact with the Living God through Jesus Christ. So, let me invite us to once again renew a living relationship of faith that listens for God. How do we do that? Well, the primary ways are through first and most importantly paying attention to the guidance of Holy Scripture. After that we also hear from God by attuning ourselves to the inward promptings of the Holy Spirit, listening to godly counsel, and paying attention to how God speaks through our circumstances. You may want to read more about this in my earlier post “How Do We Hear from God Today?”

Consider some questions with me about what this episode in Peter’s life means for us today:

  • What is God inviting you into these days? What steps of faith is God calling you into?
  • Are you listening for the inward promptings of the Holy Spirit?
  • Are you measuring those inward promptings against the Word of God – the Bible – which keeps us trustworthy and true?

May we be the sort of faith-filled disciples who not only fix our eyes on Jesus, but also open our ears to hear Jesus. As He said, “My sheep listen to my voice” (John 10:27).