Surprised by Christ (Mark 6:45-52)

Sunday, March 17th, 2013
Sermon Series: Mark

The Gospel of MarkDownload Sermon Outline

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Surprised by Christ

The overwhelming character of Christ as seen when He walks on water

Mark 6:45 to 52

 

Awhile back, an article by a sportswriter popped up called, “Terror on the Side of a Steep Slope”.  Listen to what happened to a person just like you and me.  Jay was hunting deer in a wildlife area near Red Bluff.  He climbed up to a ledge on the slope of a rocky gorge, and raised his head to look up on the ledge above him when, in his words, “I caught a movement to the right of my face.  I instinctively pushed myself back and the rattler struck, just missing my right ear.”

The snake’s fangs got snagged in the neck of Jay’s turtleneck sweater, and the force of the strike caused the four-foot long snake to land right on his left shoulder.  This sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  It gets better.  The snake then coiled around his neck–awesome!  As Jay grabbed the snake behind its head with his left hand, he could feel the warm venom running down the skin of his neck, and the only sound he could hear was the snake rattle.

Then as he grabbed the snake, Jay fell backwards and slid headfirst down a steep slope through brush and lava rock, with his rifle and binoculars bouncing along beside him.  He said, “As luck would have it, I ended up wedged between some rocks with my feet caught uphill from my head.  I could barely move.”  He got his right hand on his rifle and used it to disengage the fangs from his sweater, but the snake had enough leverage to strike again.

Jay said, “The snake made about eight strike attempts, and managed to hit me with his nose just below my eye about four times.  I kept my face turned, so he couldn’t get a good angle with his fangs, but it was very close.  The only way out was to choke him to death.  I was afraid that with all the blood rushing to my head, I might pass out.”

When he tried to toss the snake aside, he literally couldn’t let it go.  He had to pry his fingers loose.  Warden Dave Smith said, of meeting this fellow Jay, “He walked toward me, holding this string of rattles, and said, with sort of a grin on his face, ‘I’d like to register a complaint about your wildlife here.’”

Talk about a shocker, a surprise, a quick turn of events.  Life is like that–sometimes life feels like a snake-fighting experience.  One moment everything is smooth sailing, with the wind behind you–the next, you’re in the midst of a storm, fighting for your life!  Today’s miracle is just such an event–a shocking course change.  Everything after today is going to be different in Christ’s ministry.  The Lord is demonstrating He is God come in the flesh, but He will also show His passionate commitment to go to the cross.

In the events surrounding Christ walking on the water, He is proving to us He will not be deterred from going to the cross, or distracted by the temptation to be made king, or delayed from His purpose to be our substitute.  And Christ will strengthen the faith of the disciples, and challenge each of us to know Him better, and depend on Him more.

Are you ready?  You could be here with a heartbreak, so you feel like you’re surrounded by a tumultuous sea, without hope in your trial, and no idea what your future holds.  Some of you are anxious about tomorrow–you may be asking, “What will become of our children–will they believe–will they remain faithful to Christ and follow Him obediently?  Where is my future spouse–will they ever show up?  What will become of our health–will I go deaf or lose my mind or memories, who will take care of us, will I spend the last ten years of my life abandoned, slumped over in a wheelchair at some grungy nursing home?  What will become of my marriage–will we ever trust each other again, will we laugh, play, pray or ever talk again, will it be sad, strained and dissatisfying for the next thirty years?”

The answer to all these questions and more is the person of Christ.  When you see Him for who He really is, when you understand His heart toward you, you will have your answers–satisfying deep answers.  But that doesn’t mean life won’t be a hard, snake-fighting experience.  It doesn’t mean you won’t have a storm or two, now and then.  And it doesn’t mean the Lord won’t surprise you in shocking ways, like He does here in Mark 6:45 to 52 with Jesus walking on the water.

What a day this has been already!  This very morning, Jesus and His men get together and travel by boat over the top of the Sea of Galilee to try to get some rest.  They are worn out from all their ministry, and from the news that their friend John the Baptist has just been murdered.  Their friends and fans see them leave and follow them by land–but instead of sending them away, Jesus teaches them God’s Word.  Then because they’re out in the middle of nowhere with no food, the Lord supernaturally feeds this crowd of ten to twenty-five thousand from two fish and five barley muffins, producing twelve full leftover baskets–one for each disciple . . . an amazing miracle.

Now the evening of the same day, everyone will split up.  Jesus will disperse the crowd, the Lord will send the disciples off in their boat, and Christ Himself will go up the mountain to pray.  Why is this happening?  To show us . . .

#1  The Awesome Authority of Jesus Christ  Verses 45 to 46

Jesus walking on water is also recorded for us in Matthew 14 and John 6, giving us a vivid picture of the authority of Christ.  Read Mark 6:45 and 46, “Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. 46 After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.”

Don’t miss the first word—“immediately”.  Right after the feeding of thousands, the Lord “acts”, and those actions carry an urgency, almost a drastic motive.  Really?  Yes.  Look carefully at verse 45, “Jesus made His disciples get into the boat.”  On the surface, this seems like a strange thing to do–why wouldn’t the Lord want His disciples around Him?  Only that very morning He asked them to go with Him to that area for rest, but now He’s abruptly forcing them away.

The word “made” is constraining, compelling, forcing His disciples to get into the boat.  “Made them” carries an urgent pressure, just like when your kids are having a good time and they don’t want to get in the car to go home.  It seems the disciples didn’t want to go, but the Lord made them leave.  He might have even personally pushed the boat off the shore—so keep in mind, Jesus forced his disciples to go out onto the sea.  Why?  Verse 45, “To go ahead of Him,” implying Jesus would join them later.  And Jesus wants them to go back to the other side to Bethsaida.

They’re in the lonely wilds outside of Bethsaida, they’re going to head back toward Capernaum where they started via boat, to the other side of where the River Jordan enters the lake, to the Bethsaida suburbs, just outside their hometown of Capernaum.  This is a short, easy trip made many times–but they don’t want to go, for two reasons.  One is simple–they’re devoted to Christ.  They love the Lord, and they don’t want to be apart.  Even more dramatic is the Lord sending the crowd away.

Verse 45, “While He Himself was sending the crowd away.”  Sending is to set free, release–sometimes used of a divorce or the releasing of a prisoner.  He’s strongly shooing them away.  See it there in verse 45, while He Himself is abruptly dismissing them.  Mark is telling us Jesus was emphatic about doing this Himself.  He would not leave this to anyone else–the Lord did not want the disciples involved in dismissing the crowd, He’d do it Himself.  It would be a firm, friendly, courteous exercise of His authority in order to induce them to disperse back to their homes.

Why is everyone scattering?  It was late, many people were far from home, the crowd was not eager to leave Jesus on their own accord, and the Lord wanted to pray—all true.  But the main reason is this:  after the miracle of supernatural food for thousands, the people reacted this way in John 6:14 to 15, “When the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, ‘This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.’ 15 So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.”

This is why Jesus dismisses the crowd, sends the disciples away and goes off to pray–they want to make Him king.  Hey, what’s wrong with that?  Because Christ didn’t come the first time to be the world ruler–Christ came the first time to be the only Savior.  He didn’t come to be king, He came to go to the cross, to die for the sins of His children, and rise from the dead in order for you and I to be forgiven and made right with God.  He came so God’s judgment for your sin could fall on Christ, so that God’s eternal judgment would not have to fall upon you.

Christ had a mission to fulfill–to suffer and die for sins.  But the crowd was intending to take Him by force and make Him king.  Can you imagine the pressure of this moment?  A crowd forcing you to be a king would prevent you from fulfilling your mission on the cross, so the crowds had to be dismissed.  We know the disciples were caught up in Christ being king, even fighting over who would sit on His right and left.  So to prevent the disciples from being caught up in the fervor of the crowd, Jesus forcibly sent them away in the boat.

For the Lord Himself, there was personal pressure too–the move to make Him king is a repeat of Satan’s temptation in the wilderness to make Him king without going to the cross.  This is a real temptation–Jesus could gather a massive following, overrule the religious leaders, conquer the Herods and take Rome.  But He chose to go to the cross–for you.  Imagine the emotional appeal to avoid the Father’s anger for our sin–to bypass the physical torment of crucifixion, and to dodge the spiritual agony of bearing our sin.

But the Lord would not allow it–they could not force Christ.  In spite of their great numbers, their determination to make Him king in their own way, for their own purposes, the Lord proves His divine authority over the multitude.  They could not make Him do anything contrary to His Father’s plan and will.  So without argument or fanfare, Jesus simply dismissed them.

The Bible tells us Jesus has all authority–He’s in charge.  He determines who goes to heaven.  He’s the judge at the final judgment.  He is sovereign over Satan, demons and holy angels.  He’s in control over every circumstance, over every person alive and every person here.  Psalm 115:3, ”Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.”  God does as He pleases, only as He pleases and always as He pleases.

But events are about to dramatically change for Christ.  It is no wonder the Lord had to get alone to pray.  Verse 46, “After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.”  To bid farewell is to graciously, yet firmly separate Himself from the crowd.  It contains the idea of looking at them intently, then turning away.  Christ will not allow this king movement any momentum–yet without harshness or rudeness, He firmly says goodbye, then leaves to pray.

Even though Christ was one with the Father, He lived in continual prayer.  And in times of crisis, He took to the mountain to pray.  Mark records three specific seasons when Jesus went to the mountain alone to pray:

1)  in Mark 1, after a successful ministry in Capernaum, He prays

2)  in Mark 6, after feeding the 5,000, He prays

3)  in Mark 14, before His betrayal and crucifixion, He prays

His prayer displays His utter dependence on His Father to constantly move toward the mission of the cross.  Like the Lord, we are to pray in focused seasons, and continually.  No Christian can be filled with the Spirit, glorifying God, or honoring Christ anywhere and with anyone, without prayer.  Christ is a person to be with, not merely think or hear about.  Christ’s prayer surely was an affirmation of the Father’s will, for Him and His men to stay on target.

I think the Lord might have known the Galilean ministry was coming to a close, that the crowds would soon reject Him in huge numbers, and that the cross loomed closer than ever.  You see that incredible knowledge with . . .

#2  The Amazing All-knowing Knowledge of Jesus Christ  Verse 47 to 48a

Mark 6:47, “When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land.”  Evening had come, it’s long after sunset, it’s very dark–and Jesus is separated from His men.  He’s on land, while His men are in the middle of the lake, away from the shore.  We know from the other gospels they are about three to four miles out, and Mark wants to make certain we understand—during the previous storm of Mark 4, Jesus was with them in the boat.  But now, they’re separated by miles, and things are not going well.

Verse 48, “Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night, He came to them.”  John states the sea was getting rough, as a strong wind was blowing, and Matthew adds–the boat was battered by the waves, for the wind was from the opposite direction.  Battered means tortured, and Mark uses the same word for straining at the oars.  At the oars they’re being tortured—literally, receiving a painful beating.

They’re in the boat, it’s in the middle of the lake, and one of those famous sudden storms has arisen on the lake.  So they take the sails down and pick up the oars–but Mark alone tells us they’re experiencing harsh physical pain while straining at the oars.  They’re floating like a cork in a perfect storm–why so hard?

Why?  Verse 48, “for the wind was against them.”  The wind is coming from the northwest.  It starts off from the Mediterranean Sea, is fueled by the ice cold of Mount Hermon, then funneled through Arbel cliffs on the northwest side of the lake, accelerating over the surface of a hot lake 700 feet below sea level.  So now as the wind screams across the lake, the twelve are headed into that wind, making very little progress.  And what makes it worse is, they have been at it for seven to eight hours.  They left before sunset, should have traveled four miles close to shore, but now they’re three to four miles out, battling to get back to shore, and are nowhere near their destination.

Mark says it is at about the fourth watch of the night–that’s around 3 am in the morning.  If they left at 8 pm, that’s seven hours of a painful beating at the oars, making no progress, getting nowhere.  Remember, they originally left home to rest, and they didn’t get any.  Now they’ve been up all night, straining at the oars to stay afloat.  They’re physically and mentally exhausted.  And I wonder what they were thinking–were they still wondering why Jesus rejected the opportunity to become king?  Most likely, for now, the storm drove those thoughts from their minds.  Now they just want to survive and get out of this trial.

I wonder if they’re blaming Christ for their predicament.  After all, it was Jesus who made them get into the boat, which resulted in them being stuck in a storm all night long.  And if there was evidence of a storm brewing when they left, do you think any of them became angry at Christ for making them leave?  The disciples were already confused, frustrated, disillusioned and disappointed that Jesus had sent them away–they must be wondering now why Jesus had sent them to their deaths.

And don’t ever forget, the disciples were in this miserable, painful, and harsh trial because they obeyed Jesus.  What a lesson for each of you, and for the Church at large.  Imagine what disobedience could have brought to those men that night.  Disobedience might have resulted in a full stomach, a warm bed in someone’s home, an opportunity for real rest, and a time to be refreshed with friends and family–wow!  But now, because of obedience, they are wet, tired, in pain, straining to stay alive, exhausted and now forced to remain awake all night long.

Wow Chris, that isn’t too motivating.  Let me put it this way–never play baseball and you will never strike out, but you’ll also never hit a homerun or win the game for your team.  Resist the Lord–do not obey the obvious commands of the New Testament, and you may miss some of life’s contrary winds, but you will never know the winds of the Holy Spirit in your sails bearing you along, using you to honor Christ and change lives for God’s glory.

Friends, do not neglect the first two words of verse 48–what are they?  “Seeing them.”  They were never alone, they were never far from God’s heart, never out of His mind, never forgotten, neglected, or abandoned.  Christ was seeing them in the storm, in the dark, all alone, in their pain, all wet, miserable and exhausted.  Christ knows what they are going through, and Christ knew of their situation long before it happened.  The storm and His men were equally in His hands, and He knew in advance exactly what He would do with both.

If you are enduring a painful trial right now, in the past if you’ve gone through a miserable season of difficulty, most view the Lord as having blind indifferent eyes, but this passage says different–Christ saw them.  A few think He could physically see them from His mountain.  Most think He could see them spiritually, through the Spirit, or through the attributes of omniscience and omnipresence.

Psalm 139:2 to 4, “You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. 3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all.”  And Hebrews 4:13, “There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”  You can trust the Lord’s amazing knowledge of everything you’re enduring, because of . . .

#3  The Adept Protection of Jesus Christ  Verses 48b to 50

Verse 48b, “He came to them, walking on the sea.”  This is described in the historical present tense, meaning a fact–Jesus is walking, literally, on epi the sea–stepping on water.  He’s not splashed, getting wet, or soaked with spray, but Jesus is moving through the waves as if it were a solid path–Jesus is walking on the water.

It is interesting that the Lord waited until the middle of the morning.  Special ops teams will wait until 3 am before they attack, because it gives them the greatest advantage over an enemy.  When His men are at their lowest point, Christ comes.

Have you ever had a trial God did not solve quickly?  You’re prone to think, “Doesn’t He care?”  Or tempted to ask, “Does He know?”  He does, and His timing and wisdom are perfect!  Some liberals try to undermine the miracle.  One said Jesus was walking on submerged stones.  Others say He’s walking beside the sea on the shore, it just looked like He was close to them in the boat.  Others suggest Jesus had special floating boat shoes, or the disciples were so tired they just thought He walked on water.

No, this is supernatural–it is what God alone can do.  Much is said about the final phrase in verse 48, “and He intended to pass by them.”  Was He trying to be playful and surprise them—“peek a boo, surprise.”  That didn’t work–plus it would be heartless and cruel in their current struggle.  Was He planning on just walking by and rejoining them at the shore?  Was He doing like God did, passing by Moses to display His glory?  Maybe.

No, I think the best view is this–He didn’t come straight at them like He was an enemy trying to sink them, but Jesus walked to the side and front so they’d have an opportunity to see Him, then invite Him into the boat.  The Greek is probably best rendered, “He was about to pass them by when they spotted Him,” verse 49 to 50, “But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost and cried out; 50 for they all saw Him and were terrified.”

They lost all objectivity.  They thought Christ was a ghost, literally a phantom, and they cried up–literally screamed higher, like girls.  And not merely one or two of the men, but all of them–they all saw (saw is looked intently, gazed) Christ walking on the water.  This was not the imagination of one or two guys–they all saw Him and were in abject terror, thinking they were doomed men.  That can’t be a man, can it?  Human beings do not walk on water, do they?  No–except for Christ.

None of them recalled the Lord’s promise that He’d join them.  So the combination of the darkness, the early hour of the morning, the storm, the exhaustion from weeks of ministry, and now seven hours of working the oars, bailing water, hanging on–all contributed to their terror.  But it’s safe to say they freaked out.  Remember, this is the same lake the demon possessed pigs ran into and drown–could this be them?  They’re trapped, screaming like girls, and not one is thinking objectively–no disciple says, “Gentlemen, phantom off the port bow.”  Where do you go in the middle of a storm, trapped in a boat, with a phantom coming right at you, to get you?

If it were me, I think I’d laugh at them, since there’s humor here, but thankfully the Lord is much more gracious and protective.  Look at verse 50, “But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, ‘Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.’”  He didn’t let them squirm, but with a heart of sympathy, Jesus instantly spoke to them, and said a total of three things–two commands and one declaration, do you see them?

1  Positive command, TAKE COURAGE, or be of good cheer, have a cheerful mind

The Lord assures them.  He could have said, “BOO!” or, “You bunch of babies,” but He tenderly commands them to adopt the continuing attitude of courage and cheer, not fear.  Courage can be commanded, terror can be overcome–how?  The nearness of Christ makes the difference.

2  Next Jesus assures them, “IT IS I,” literally ‘I AM’–sound familiar?  It could be Jesus is reminding us what God said to Moses–I am who I am, or what Jesus said to the Jews, “Before Abraham was born, I AM.”  It is I, I AM is here, your God is here right now, take courage.”  Hey fearful men in the boat, the God who made you is here!  The God who fed 5,000 is also walking on water next to you!  The one who calmed the storm is also in the storm with you.  The God you have worshiped all your life is now standing before you.  It is I–you know my voice.  I am your Lord and Master–I don’t need to be proclaimed as King, I am King, I am God.

3  Negative command, DO NOT BE AFRAID, stop being afraid, stop fearing right now

Why?  I am here with you now.  The personal presence and love of God should dispel your fear.  Second Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”  The Spirit indwells you–you have God with you all the time.  He does not have to walk on water to get to you, He is with you 24/7.  Therefore do not be afraid.  Matthew 10:29 to 31, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 “So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”  As His true child you are loved.  Even bald men, do not fear–God is with you and values you greatly.  Hebrews 13:5, “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.’”  Jesus says to His men, FEAR OUT, COURAGE IN–why?  I am with you, and you are loved, leading to . . .

#4  The Absolute Love of Jesus Christ  Matthew 14:28 to 30

It is at this exact point that Matthew tells us Peter also walked on water.  The gospel of Mark leaves it out because Peter is behind this gospel, and most likely Peter was reluctant to focus on himself doing something supernatural.  Briefly look at Matthew 14:28 to 30, “Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ 29 And He said, ‘Come!’ And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’”

Peter is overjoyed to see Jesus and desires to be with Him, wherever Christ is and where Christ goes–so command me to come.  Jesus saying, “Come,” is an act of love.  It’s God’s nature to be loving, just as it is water’s nature to be wet–Christ loves his own, so come.  But what looked good while sitting in the boat, looks frightening on the water–and Peter began to sink.  The Lord rescued Peter, challenged their weak faith, and asked them why they would doubt–especially since . . .

#5  The Astonishing Power of Jesus Christ  Verse 51a

The most spectacular miracle in this event actually was accomplished without Jesus saying a word or raising a hand.  The moment Jesus and Peter got into the boat with the other disciples, look what happened in verse 51.  Mark 6:51, “Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped.”  Total chaos turned to total calm.  It instantly stopped blowing–it’s as if the wind was simply waiting for the miracle to be finished, and when it had served its purpose, the wind suddenly and completely stopped.

But the miracle is not done yet.  John 6:21 adds just as instantaneously, “Immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.”  They were 3 to 4 miles out, the wind stops, but now they’re instantly docked at their final destination.  You can trust God’s Word–Mark is totally understated about this boat transfer.  John reveals it later.  There is no limit to the power of Christ–He sees them from miles away, He walks on water to get to them, He immediately ends the wind and instantly transfers the boat three-plus miles to the shore.

Whatever you are facing today, Luke18:27 says the things that are impossible with people are possible with God.  So get it right, Luke 1:37, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”  So did the disciples believe God can do the impossible?  Sadly, no . . .

#6  The Arduous Heart of the Disciples   Verses 51b to 52

Look at the end of verse 51, “and they were utterly astonished.”  Mark is incredibly descriptive with his words here.  Utterly means excessive, beyond measure, over the top!  Astonished is where we get our English word for ecstasy.  It is to be out of your mind, amazed, mind-blowing.  Plus the verb astonished describes the men in a continual state of being totally overwhelmed with astonished amazement–mouths are gaping.

Even the verb “they were”, they were utterly astonished, describes the men exceedingly within themselves amazed, telling us their internal reaction.  They were internally, emotionally blown away.  You say, “That’s good.”  No, not really–for two reasons.  In verse 52 . . .

#1  for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves

#2  but their heart was hardened

First, for two years the disciples have seen astounding displays of the Lord’s miraculous powers–raising the dead, healing a leper, calming the storm, restoring a limb, casting out an army of demons.  And, they had just witnessed firsthand Jesus feed potentially 25,000 people, using a child’s lunch of two fish and five loaves.  Therefore, they should not be continually out of their minds.  They should not be mouth-gaping, stupefied with amazement.  Because they’d not understood what the feeding pointed to, they also missed what the walking on water proved.

Second, the reason in verse 52 is their heart was hardened.  The reason the twelve didn’t see Jesus accurately was a problem of heart.  This is not the defiant heart-hardening found in hateful religious leaders, but a calloused dulling, and void of understanding that comes from chronic disbelief.  Few things break my heart more than those who hear God’s Word, understand who Jesus is and what He’s done, yet week after week they still remain in their sins–they’re the Gospel-hardened.

Well, the disciples had day-after-day, week-after-week, month-after-month for two years now seen who Christ is and what Christ can do–yet they remained glory hardened.  They had become so used to seeing miracles, they failed to grasp their true significance as to who Christ is–His glory.  Because of all they had seen and heard from Jesus, they should have understood far more than they did.

There was some hope–in the midst of their amazed shock and calloused hearts, Matthew 14:33 tells us those who were in the boat worshiped Him saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”  There were small indicators the truth was beginning to sink in as to who Jesus was, but all the gospels will continue to show us just how slow the men were to realize Jesus is God in the flesh.

ONE  Do you embrace who Jesus Christ is?

In one 24-hour period, they’re in a boat traveling to get some rest, crowds follow, they teach and care for thousands all day, in the early evening they miraculously feed them, the crowd wants to make Christ King.  So He sends the disciples off in a boat, dismisses the crowd and goes off to pray.  After rowing all night in a storm, at 3 am Jesus comes to His men walking on the water, gets in the boat, calms the sea, and miraculously sends the boat to their intended destination.

That is one memorable 24 hours–but to what purpose?  Christ sought to train His men.  The feeding of the thousands and the walking on water, calming the storm and instant destination were intended to help them embrace exactly who they’re with.  The twelve must have been perplexed by Christ’s refusal to be made king.  They must have talked about it while on the boat together.  It may have even clouded their confidence in Christ and caused confusion concerning His intentions.

But Christ didn’t need the crowd to make Him king, He is King–Christ is GOD, and was going to the cross to be their Redeemer.  Only God can feed thousands from a small boy’s lunch.  Only God can walk on water, calm storms and instantly transport boats.  Even if they could not understand His ways, they could maintain their faith and confidence in Him, because they knew who He was, and we know who He is.

Are you remembering who Christ is?  If so, it should affect your heart to trust Him with what you are facing.  It should affect your speech, with thanks not complaints.  It should affect your actions, in devotion not indifference.  It should affect your battle with sin, dependence on Him not you.  And most importantly it should cause you to surrender, forsake your pride, fear and sin, and turn to Christ for salvation from sin.

TWO  Do you daily live knowing Christ abides in you?

Christ supernaturally sees His men on the lake and comes to them.  But Christian today, Christ does not see you from a distance–Christ is at home in your heart 24/7.  He indwells you!  Christ, through His Spirit, is in you all the time.  You come to church not to be with Christ, but to obey His command to gather to worship Him together–He’s in you.  At work, at school, in sports, at home, in the yard, in the car–the all-powerful Creator God is fully dwelling in you all the time.  Don’t forget who you worship–and who you worship is with you.

THREE  Are you willing to live intimately with Christ?

If you’re obedient to Christ, there will be plenty of storms.  There will be danger, difficulty, weariness, and sadness.  You will be open to a library of sorrows and stresses which are unknown to the uncommitted heart.  The obedient were forced to go in the boat, which led to an all-night storm battle.  But be of good cheer, Christ sees all, and knows when you feel alone or fear that no one cares.  Christ prays for you even while you’re in the storm.  And Christ comes to you in the midst of the gale, treading across the problems that afflict you.

You will learn more about Christ as you venture out on troubled waters, and you will worship as never before.  You who keep your lives pointed following only God’s Word will encounter contrary winds, but you’ll also experience the wind of the Spirit in your sails, bearing you on in power and fruitfulness.  Come on Christian, are you living for that which is eternal?  We serve the King who is returning, and will take over–are you serving His plans or yours?

Some of you are holding back in service, giving, or time for fear you will forsake your children or other priorities.  Trust Him.  Today Jesus calls you to surrender to His will.  Say to Him, “Lord, I want what you want, no matter what.”  Let’s pray–He is coming to be King and Ruler of all.  You will bow.  Until you’re sold out to Jesus you’ll always be for sale to the highest bidding temptation.

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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.
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