Tuesday, May 6, 2014

It Is I; Do Not Be Afraid

John 6:15-21

Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.

Now when evening came, His disciples went done to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. 

Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. But He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid."

Then they willingly received Him I to the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

We need not fear Jesus. He is our shelter in the storm. 

These people who had seen His miracles, who had been fed living bread and listened intently as He spoke wanted Him to be their king. They'd had enough Roman rule. They knew a messiah was coming some day. However, they misunderstood why, how and for what reason He came. If this was their Messiah, they wanted Him now to save them. Their idea was one who would come in a political manner to save them from Roman oppression. They gave up years ago the idea of a spiritual judge; they wanted a king like other nations had.

The problem is, kings are men. They were often not God followers but enamored with the power and control they now had. Many ruled unrighteously. Still happens today! Only a few did call on God. Along the way they became accustomed to an earthly king. They did not understand that one day their Messiah would not be an earthly king. Jesus knew what His Father's will was and this was not it so He slipped away...to be with His Father.

That's just an introduction to the real story here! Again Jesus shows us something. All things happen for a reason. That may be something we say if we don't understand why something has occurred. But Jesus is again trying to get just His disciples to trust Him. And it amazes me that something like this happened at least three times...He told His disciples to fear not; where was their faith (Matthew 14, Mark 4, Luke 8).

And here in John, the same thing. With Jesus in the center of our lives we need not fear. The storms of life arise but He tells us to not fear, have faith...it is I who is with you.

I know three people who are in situations right now. Two only have months to live and one is in the midst of a loved one's health issue. Two are believers. One is trusting for His guidance and healing. One is not afraid to die because she will be with her Jesus; if initial treatment does not work, she wants no more. The third also does not want to go through a lot of treatments. She has lived a long and good life and is prepared to go. I know two are confident in their Savior. They have peace in their hearts. Not sure about the third. 

Jesus wants us to have His peace that passes all human understanding. He wants us to take our eyes off our situations and focus on Him...in any situation. Can we be in the midst of something without knowing what the end result will be and have peace? If not we don't know Jesus. Trusting in man alone (and this includes politically as well) will not bring peace. Man can fail. But in trusting in the Lord there is hope for whatever the outcome. He is our strength, refuge, strong tower. We can be nestled in the cleft of He Who is our Rock Who brings peace.

Lord, I pray for these three circumstances. I ask for Your hand to be upon each of them. I thank You for the two that I know have given their lives to You and trust in You for their situations. And I ask, Lord, that You reach out to the third. Open doors that she might be reached with the overwhelming word that You alone can bring her peace and hope for her eternal future. I thank You that in the storms of our lives You tell us to not be afraid, that You are there. You calm our storms. Praise You, Lord.

Mark 6:40-51 - And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. 

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