Monday, February 27, 2012

#8 Mark 6:49-50 "Hello? It's Jesus!"

"But when they saw Him walking on the lake, they thought He was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw Him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, 'Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.' "

Jesus walked on water. Every time I think of this image, I envision a glorious, supernatural sight, a miracle, a wonder, an awe-inspiring vision.

But not those crazy disciples. They weren't struck with awe and wonder. They were terrified. Don't think "The Greatest Story Ever Told" or "The Ten Commandments." Think "Poltergeist" or "The Ring." They were scared!! My goodness. What were they thinking?

Well...I usually am not one to be too hard on those poor disciples. After all, when WE consider what we know today about Jesus, the disciples' fears and "crazy thoughts" seem pretty lame, considering the leader they were following was the Lord of the Universe Himself.

But remember, at the time, they really didn't know that.

This story of Jesus walking on water to get to his disciples is preceded by the miraculous event when Jesus fed 5000 people using just a small amount of food. This was no small miracle. It wasn't simply a matter of Jesus, in His wisdom and cleverness, taking a small boy's lunch and somehow stretching it out into enough food to tide people over until their next meal.

No, this was a miracle that took the loaves and fish (which, really, were more like small buns with sardines) and supernaturally made it into a feast, with 12 baskets of leftovers. This wasn't done by a whiz chef from The Food Network. This was the work of God.

So, since the disciples witnessed this wonder first-hand, Bible scholars conclude that they should have known that Jesus could only have produced that miracle as the Son of God. So, why were those guys afraid of a storm at sea (especially the experienced fishermen who had no doubt met such conditions before) and the figure that walked on the sea toward them?

Simple. They weren't expecting Jesus to come they way He did, by walking on the sea as though it was solid ground. (Who had ever seen something like that before?)

Do I know Jesus as my Lord and as the Son of God? Yes I do. Does this mean I always recognize Jesus' presence in my life when He comes to me in a totally unexpected way? No, it doesn't.

Haven't you ever been in a troubling or painful situation, and felt confused? Sometimes you think you see guidance in your life or hear a word from God....but then you doubt. You're not sure what you were seeing or hearing was from God....or from yourself....or from the world or our pop culture....or maybe even from the Devil.

How many times have I heard from other believers, "I think I know what God might be saying to me, but I'm not sure if I'm hearing God's wisdom, or just 'hearing' what I want to hear because that is the message I prefer"?

Yes, we all get confused sometimes. An unexpected and unlikely occurrence might be something sent by God...or it could just be coincidence. That voice in your head might be God telling you something important....or it might be your own guilty conscience or your fear talking. do we know for sure where those messages, situations or words of wisdom come from? Simple. Look at this verse once again. When the disciples got confused, Jesus identified Himself and said, "It is I. Do not be afraid."

During those times I get confused and really, really, really need God's guidance, I know I can trust God to identify Himself to me and assure me that I have nothing to be afraid of.

Jesus desires to come to us. He desires to guide us, keep us safe and meet our deepest needs. When you doubt your own ability and discernment to know wisdom from folly, trust Him. When He guides and comforts you, trust Him to identify Himself, assure you it is He whose arms are wrapped around you, and trust Him to allay your fears. that's not so simple as it sounds. It takes a listening ear, a watchful eye and lots of trust. But remember, it's not your own discernment you're trusting. It's Jesus you'll be trusting.

Jesus...the Man who can feed a multitude with next to nothing, and can stroll on the stormy seas without sinking or falling.

Jesus....the Man who can guide and care for you and me.

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