Amazed Faith
January 10, 2016, 10:46 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , , , ,

Jesus loves to prepare people to accomplish important things by using unusual methods. One of those times is found in Mark 6. Jesus has sent the 12 out to accomplish His will and they return with success. They had been paired together to provide encouragement and support on this endeavor. When they return to Jesus, they are successful but tired from their ministry. But those who had heard of the deeds of Jesus and the 12 pressed around them, seeking their own personal ministry. Even though Jesus wanted to take the disciples around away to provide rest, the multitude followed them. Realizing that the people needed food, Jesus used this to teach His closest followers about His amazing power. At the end, 5000 men had been fed, a countless number of women and children enjoyed the meal as well, and each disciple had a basket of food as a reminder that Jesus had the ability to do remarkable things. These words tell us what happened next, “ and straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.” Put in plain English, immediately Jesus made His disciples to get into a boat so that they might go spend time apart from the crowd. While they were traveling, Jesus prayed for them, while alone on a mountain. When the evening was come Jesus saw that the disciples were having difficulty on their way. While trying to cross the Sea of Galilee, they face an impossible headwind and find themselves being toss on the waters. They entered the boat at evening, but Jesus didn’t come to them until the fourth watch, which would have been 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. So they have been rowing since 6 p.m., more than 8 hours. Imagine the exhaustion of the 12 men. Their despair, discouragement, and discontent had to be growing. They are in one of those impossible, frustrating and dangerous moments which brings to our minds this question “what did they mess up on that put them here?” They had to have made a bad choice, or be in rebellion against the will of the Lord to be in this much trouble. Yet the clear teaching of this passage is that they are in exactly the place where God wants them to be. He has put them here. The disciples weren’t this moment because they had been unwise, they were not in this moment because they had been unfaithful, they were not in this moment because they had been disobedient and they were not in this mom here in this situation because of the self-centered and selfish desires. Jesus wanted them here at this moment in history. Here is a difficult lesson but a very true lesson. What can you call this type of truth? Amazing, radical, life-transforming truth? Contradictory truth? Whatever you want to call it, the truth is that Jesus wanted them here in the midst of what was a moment of life transformation. He was not taken by surprise at this moment and He wasn’t rescuing His disciples. He was training them. They were in school, learning a lesson. He was teaching them not by words, but by hands on experience. This was lesson that would help prepare them to be willing to give their lives for the Lord. Let me go back to one thing: He waited until the fourth watch or about “3 A.M to 6 A.M.” before He came to them. It seems that they had struggled all night and at the darkest point of their journey, Jesus came. We come to another surprise when we read that “he would have passed them” which means “he wanted to come alongside them”. Evidently Jesus set a course which would bring Him not to the disciples but along side of them, showing them Himself and seeing if they would ask Him to come help them. But when the disciples saw Him, they thought He was a ghost or an image because there was no way He could be walking on the water. In spite of what they had seen, they refused to believe that Jesus could do something that exceeded their expectations of Him. True faith in Jesus involves trusting Him that He can do anything. Our trust of Him doesn’t enable Him to do so, but our faith in Him enables us to believe Him in any circumstance. I also love the fact that even in their fears and unbelief, He spoke to them. The purpose of this miracle was to show them His ability and authority was not limited. They would need to believe that He was capable of never before conceived things, especially the resurrection. But the entire story of the gospel is difficult to understand. By faith, we see that we are exactly what God teaches we are, sinners. By faith, we trust that God placed all our sins upon Jesus and allowed Him to pay for them. Faith is required that the resurrection took place and faith is needed for us to trust that God will save us based on our trust in those things as the payment for our sins. Faith is essential to the walk we have after salvation. Following Christ is a journey of faith as God stretches us to enlarge our faith. How often do we face something so difficult only to see that Jesus is there, waiting to bring peace into our storms. I realize that this is event is unique to the disciples but by application, we see that those declared righteous shall live our Christ-following lives by faith, committing our entire life to His control. When Jesus saw the terror that was ruling His disciples’ life, He called out “take heart, it is I. Now at first glance, we think that Jesus is saying, “be calm, I’m here to save the day!” But He really is saying something much more important. He isn’t teaching them a lesson that works only for this moment but one that will stay with them. Jesus is saying “Take heart, I AM is here!” Jesus was deepening the relationship by letting them see who He really is. Stop letting fear control you!” The disciples would have hope because I AM was in their lives. The success that the disciples would experience was based on Him. Their hope was not because of their wisdom, their strength, or their abilities. It was because of His presence in their lives. Jesus was teaching them that they had hope, success, and victory because they had Him. You have hope, not because you’re wise, not because you’re strong, not because life is peaceful. You have hope because I AM is in your life. You will never face the circumstance of life alone because He is with us. I AM is present. The disciples invited Jesus onto the boat. He then took control of the boat, stopping the wind. When Jesus got on the boat, everything changed. What was the disciples response? They were amazed within themselves beyond measure. To be amazed doesn’t mean that they were “surprised”. Amazement is when you have been taken beyond what you understand or are able to explain. The final words for this story convey this message, “they were completely astounded because they didn’t understand the meaning of the feeding of the multitude because they had hard hearts. So what softens hard hearts? Evidently miracles don’t because the disciples had seen some pretty impressive miracles. Yet their faith didn’t grow in spite of the amazing miracles they had both seen and of which they had been a part. Each miracle that Jesus did was more amazing than the previous one, but the disciples’ faith still didn’t grow. Their faith grew as their personal knowledge of Jesus grew. Notice it is not the knowledge about Jesus that produces their growth, but relationship knowledge. As they became more aware of whom Jesus was, their faith increased. Here’s the real difference between being amazed and having faith. To be amazed is a function of the brain. But the growth of faith is when we make an investment of the heart. I turn from looking at Jesus as a fan (amazement) to one who walks by faith as I follow Christ. The way I live is changed by faith. But their greatest stretch of faith would occur when their understanding of Jesus would change after the resurrection, when they encountered the resurrected Savior. He alone changes our understanding of Him and when we get who He really is, we will never be the same.
When you get that to the place of growth, you begin to ask the tough questions that make your faith authentic. With integrity as you read the Bible, you begin to ask the tough questions of the Bible. You ask “Why would God, who is rich in mercy, grace, love, compassion, and power, allow His child to be in this circumstance? Why doesn’t God remove this trial from me? Doesn’t He love me? I thought He was a great Deliver and Rescuer of His people? I don’t understand. At this point, God goes beyond your amazement to a faith builder.
Jesus walking on water


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