Testing, Testing 4

04/07/2020

            When we left the disciples, they were in the middle of a lake and had been rowing for hours against the wind and the waves, frantically trying to cross the lake as Jesus had told them to do.   It was dark.  They were tired.  They hadn’t made much progress and they had very little to show for their efforts.  They might not have been thinking about Jesus, but Jesus was definitely thinking about THEM.

            Mark 6:48 – He (Jesus) saw the disciples straining at the oars because the wind was against them. Jesus had never left them out of His sight.  He didn’t just KNOW what was happening, He also SAW what was happening.  Jesus had gone up on a mountain to pray and one of the things He was paying for was THEM.

            Jesus has returned to the Father and is now at the right hand of God interceding for us.  (Romans 8:34)   He not only knows the things we’re struggling with; He also sees the things we’re struggling with and He’s praying that our faith will not fail. (Luke 22:31) “His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.”  Don’t let Satan tell you that your Savior has forgotten you. 

            Matthew 14:25 – During the fourth watch of the night,” (when everything is the darkest,) Jesus went out to them. He had not forgotten them.  He had not forsaken them.  He was there when they needed Him, and He will always be there for us as well.

            Matthew 14:26 – When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake they were TERRIFIED.  ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.  They had just seen Him a few hours ago.  They woke Him up because they thought they were going to die.  When He rebuked the wind and the waves, the water grew calm and the storm was over.  What kind of man IS this?  Even the winds and the waves obey Him,they declared.  (Matthew 8:27)

                Evidently the disciples still don’t know who He is because now they think He’s a ghost.

This is the same kind of problem all of His disciples, including you and I, seem to have.  WE THINK WE KNOW JESUS SO WELL BECAUSE WE’VE KNOW HIM SO LONG.

            We’ve been to Bible Studies.  We’ve heard sermons.  We’ve read our Bibles.  After a while we get to the point where we think we’ve got it all pretty well figured out. Over the course of time, our faith becomes neatly wrapped in a tight little package of what we believe and what we DON’T believe.  

Even though the Bible tells us that Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirrorand NOW we know in part; THEN we shall know fully, “we are still very confident that our knowledge of God is complete.  We’re going to be spending an eternity with Jesus and we will probably STILL never know all there is to know about Him.

 Everything we need to know about Jesus today is in the Bible.  But God’s Word should be teaching us something new about Jesus every day.  The Holy Spirit should be giving us a fresh understanding of something we already know or pointing out something we’ve never noticed or thought about before.

But we’ve got to remain teachable or we’ll start taking Jesus for granted.  When we start becoming a little too confident about what we believe and what we don’t believe, the Lord has a way of showing us, like those disciples on the lake, we don’t know what we think we know as well as we think we know it. 

            If we are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, if we’re diligently seeking the Lord will all our heart and soul, when we ask Him for bread, He won’t give us a stone.  If we ask Him for a fish, He won’t give us a snake. (Matthew 7:9)   In other words, if we approach the Word of God by faith, and prayerfully seek to know the truth, our Heavenly Father loves us too much to stand back and let us be deceived.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and He will guide us to the truth that will set us free.

We DON’T know Jesus so well because we’ve known Him so long.  He will constantly surprise and amaze us.

Matthew 14:27 – Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid.  Knowing that Jesus is with us, hearing Him say from His Word, It is I! should be all we need to give us courage and remove our fear.  Putting our faith in the Words He has spoken, should completely fill us with peace and strengthen us with hope.  The winds may still be blowing.  The waters may still be rough.  The storm may still be raging around us, our situation may not have changed, but when we hear Jesus declare, It is I,” faith will fill our minds with peace and put our hearts at rest.

Matthew 14:28 – If it is you, Peter replied, tell me to come to you on the water.” “Where have I heard this before? (Oh yeah,)  Matthew 4:3 –  If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread. 

IF it is you?  Jesus just said that it WAS.  Don’t you believe Him?  Don’t you trust His Word?  Jesus doesn’t have to prove who He is.   We accept Him by faith.  People like to talk about Peter’s faith right here.  But, personally, I don’t see it.  No statement of faith ever starts out with “If.”

It seems like, in every situation, in every relationship, in every church, there’s always someone who can’t sit back and patiently wait for the will of God to be done.  They always feel like they have to help move things along.  Jesus was walking toward them.  He was about to get into the boat to calm the storm.  There were eleven men in the boat who were willing to wait for Him to do that.

But it wasn’t happening fast enough for Peter.  Peter always has to be in control.  Peter is the one who thinks he has to fix everything.  Peter’s the one who thinks, “we just can’t sit here.  We have to DO something.  Let’s try this and see if it works.  Let’s try that and see if the Lord will bless it.  I’ll do whatever you ask me to do, Lord.  But please don’t ask me to do NOTHING!  Please don’t ask me to wait.

OK, Peter.  Let’s try it YOUR way.   Matthew 14:29-31 – Come, He said.  Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he (Peter) saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’  Immediately, Jesus reached out His hand and caught him.  ‘You of little faith,’ He said,’why did you doubt?’  

Every time we impulsively do something to help the will of God move a little faster, our plans and our good intensions sink just as quickly as Peter did.

Matthew 14:32 – And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.  As soon as they realized it was Jesus and let Him take over, they landed safely where Jesus wanted them to be.  They couldn’t have done it without Him and that’s exactly what this test, and EVERY test, was designed to teach them (and us).  We can’t do ANYTHING without Jesus.

Matthew 14:33 –  Those who were in the boat worshipped Him saying, ‘Truly you ARE the Son of God.”  We need to get to the place where we can worship Him and know that He is truly the Son of God BEFORE the wind calms down, before our situation changes, before our trial is over.  We need to place our confidence in Him from the very beginning and throughout the entire storm.

Next Tuesday, Lord willing, we’ll be on to something else.  I hope these posts have been helpful for you.  Please feel free to comment, reply, ask questions or make suggestions.  I’d love to hear from you.  Invite someone else to get into God’s Word with Pastor Buj.

Published by pastorbuj

I have over forty-five years of pastoral experience serving churches in Rhode Island, New York State and California. After retirement, I wrote and published a book titled, "Why Did He Bother? A Pastor's Account of God's Abundant Mercy, Love, and Grace." It is available as a paperback, e-book and audible from Amazon.com. My newest venture is a Bible teaching blog site called "pastorbuj.wordpress.com"

6 thoughts on “Testing, Testing 4

  1. Excellent! What encouragement! I praise God that every time I go to the Word it is fresh and new. Thank you Lord for your Word! Thank you that you are Emmanuel, God with us!

    Like

  2. It’s easy to get distracted in our everyday tasks and forget we have help. Trying to do things on our own with out the guidance of the Lord. We first look for the problem and it’s our nature to try and fix it. And end up on a rabbit trail with more confusion. The alternative is to have faith in our relationship with great expectations of our Lord guiding us to a peaceful outcome. Satan can ruin this by believing in his lies. We need patience and wait on the Lord.
    Thank you for the reminder where our power really is.

    Liked by 1 person

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