Walking On Water

(Mark 6:45-52)

After Jesus had fed the five thousand he dismissed the crowds and sent the disciples to cross the sea in the boat while he went up alone on the mountain to pray. When evening had come the boat was out at sea but was doing it hard. There was a strong wind against them and they were barely making any headway.

walking-on-waterJesus saw their difficulty and in about the fourth watch of the night, which would have been between midnight and 2:00 am, he came walking out to them on the sea. Jesus intended to pass them by, but they saw him coming and were greatly terrified thinking it was a ghost. But Jesus called to them not to be afraid, and he came into the boat with them. The seas were immediately calmed as the wind ceased and they made headway towards to opposite shore.

The disciples did not understand the miracle of the loaves when he fed the five thousand and they did not understand about Jesus walking on the water either. They did not understand that God, who could convert nothing into bread and fish to feed the five thousand, could also change the structure of water molecules enabling Jesus to walk on it, or change the molecular structure of Jesus so that he became light enough to stand on water. They did not understand the power of God over all things of this physical realm and that nothing is impossible to God.

We also get a good lesson out of this message too. For we see Jesus told the disciples they had nothing to fear. Likewise with the Lord we have nothing to fear either. Also when Jesus got into the boat all the storm and turbulence of the water ceased. In the same way when we invite Jesus into our life in times of troubles, the storms are calmed as he takes control of the situation. Finally we should understand that there is nothing outside the control of the Lord. The entire physical and spiritual realms are subject to him, so we need fear nothing nor be concerned about anything. We need only to remember his words, “I will never fail you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

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Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

(Mark 6:33-44)

For how many centuries have men tried to create or transform matter? Alchemists in the middle and dark ages attempted to turn base metals into gold…unsuccessfully. This has proven impossible for man, but consider the case of Jesus who took just five loaves and two fish and created a feast to satisfy five thousand men, not counting any women and children. And not only did he do it once, he did it twice!

feeding-the-5000We tend to miss the point sometimes that what Jesus did was to transform or create matter from nothing. He multiplied those few loaves and fishes to feed the five thousand. The only way this could be done was to create matter from nothing. For us this is impossible, but for the God of Creation this would not prove too difficult a task, considering that he had already made the whole universe from nothing.

There is a second point we should remember too. The people in this section of scripture had been with Jesus for a while and were in a lonely place, late in the day. (Verse 35) Jesus told the disciples to give them something to eat for he did not want to send them away hungry. Naturally the disciples were at a loss as to how they could possibly feed such a multitude, but to God nothing is impossible. What we see then is that Jesus provides for his people. Even when there was little or nothing, he created abundance from nothing. He took the few morsels of food available and created a feast.

God will not leave his people in want. King David wrote of God saying, “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging bread.” (Psalm 37:25) This is a great promise the Lord has given to his children. We will not suffer want if we are faithful to the Lord. He proved it in the miracles where he fed the multitudes as well as many other places. And we can help the Lord in this work too when we share our surpluses with his people.

Paul also wrote of this principle saying, “…as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their want, so that their abundance may supply your want, that there may be equality. As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack.” (2 Corinthians 8:14-15) Jesus will provide for his people and we may be the servants of his generosity. Let us be prepared to share with each other when we have the capacity and capability. We do not need to go into lack ourselves, as Paul shows, the abundance will be enough to meet the needs of all. But we do need to be prepared to offer what we can, knowing that when or if required, God can literally create matter to meet our needs out of thin air.

Need any more proof? Consider Elijah the prophet who was in the wilderness and God ordained that the ravens would bring him food, which they did. (1 Kings 17:1-8) And then there is the case of the widow with whom Elijah lodged during the great drought at that time. All she had was a jar with a little meal in it and a flask of oil, and yet for many days the vessels always had meal and oil in them as the Lord continued to replace what was left. Again creating matter from thin air.

Believe that he can and will do so with his people today. There is nothing impossible to the Lord our God and no promise that he will not fulfil. We should be encouraged by these teachings knowing that he has set it into his purpose for his people that we will be protected and not suffer want.

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Not Dead, Only Sleeping

(Mark 5:35-43)

While Jesus was coming to the house of Jairus to heal his daughter, messengers came to tell them not to bother for the girl had died. This must have been dreadful news to Jairus for he was out on a limb coming to Jesus in the first place.

raising-jairus-daughterJairus was a ruler in the synagogue. It is evident from many scriptures that the rulers of the synagogue generally opposed Jesus, to the point where they said if anyone should declare him the Christ they were to be cast out of the synagogue. (John 9:22) Thus for Jairus to come to Jesus shows how desperate he was to have his child healed, as would anyone in the same situation. The rulers also knew that Jesus had to be from God, for Nicodemus said as much to Jesus when he came to him by night. (John 3:2)

So Jairus was prepared to suffer the condemnation of the rulers and possibly to be thrown out of the synagogue for the sake of his daughter. He was prepared to give up all for this child. Then when the messengers came to say that she had died, he undoubtedly would have thought that it was all over. But what did Jesus say to him? “Do not fear, only believe.” (Verse 36) Again Jesus is saying, keep the faith. Believe and anything will be possible. The desire of Jairus’ heart that his daughter be healed was based upon faith. He had sufficient faith to come to Jesus in the first place, and now when all seemed lost Jesus said, don’t stop believing now…hold fast to your faith.

We too need to remember these words as well. Too often we feel like it is the end of the world and we don’t give sufficient credit to the Lord for his blessings. God is faithful and we will receive what we need when we too keep the faith.

We then see Jesus continue on to Jairus’ house and he makes this statement, “The child is not dead but sleeping.” (Verse 39) The people in those days knew when someone was dead or not, and they knew the child was dead, so they just laughed at him. But Jesus put them all outside and going into the child’s room with only her mother, father and those who were with him he raised the child from the dead. He strictly charged them not to make this known and told them to give the girl something to eat.

The likelihood of this not being known was next to zero. All these people outside were weeping for the child who had died and when she walked out of the room with her parents, they would have immediately known what had happened. Still Jesus made the point of not making a big deal of the matter…but it could never be hidden.

All things are possible through faith, even the raising of the dead. In this and the teachings earlier in this chapter we see that faith underpins all of the blessings of God and as the writer of Hebrews wrote, “And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Everything in the Lord depends on faith. There are many other things to learn and understand, but faith is one of the key foundations to everything.

Why faith? Because it is the great equaliser. Not everyone can be strong, not everyone can be rich, not everyone has great talent, ability, knowledge or many other things. But every person has the capacity to believe. This is why it depends on faith because then the way to God’s kingdom is open to every person on the planet. All they need to do is to have faith in Jesus Christ.

If I Touch the Hem of His Garment

(Mark 5:21-34)

Jesus had been implored by Jairus, a ruler in the synagogue, to come to his house and heal his sick daughter who was at the point of death. While making this journey an amazing event occurred which shows the power of faith and the perception of the Lord.

touch-the-hem-of-his-garmentA great crowd was following him and he was pressed on every side. He would perhaps have been jostled, pushed and carried along by the great throng of people. But amongst this throng was a woman who had a flow of blood and had suffered much under physicians that were unable to heal or give her relief. When she heard of Jesus she said to herself, “If I touch even his garments I shall be made well.” (Verse 28)

This woman was desperate for a healing. The bible says she suffered for many years under these physicians but to no effect. But she saw and recognised in Jesus there was the power to be healed. She saw that in Jesus she could receive what no man on earth had been able to give her: release from her infirmity. This is an act of faith.

But we also see that she did not want to be seen. She wanted to hide by saying to herself, “If I only touch his garment I will be healed.” She did not want to come up to Jesus and ask him directly but she got this idea in her head that you could touch him and receive what you want. Despite her faith there is a problem in this attitude, and it was shown in the reaction of Jesus. The woman had a picture of Jesus in her mind as if he were a magic charm like a genie in a lamp…rub the lamp and get your wish. This was a wrong way to think and Jesus rectified this.

The woman came to him and touched his garments and immediately perceived that she had been healed. But although the crowd were jostling around him, Jesus also perceived that power had gone forth and turned around to the crowd saying, “who touched my garments?” The disciples said to him there were so many people pressing about him, why did he say, “Who touched me?” But Jesus persisted and the woman seeing she could not hide fell before him and told him the truth of the matter.

Jesus then said to her, “Daughter, you faith has made you well.” He showed that the power of God was not some kind of magic, but far from it. The power of God was based in faith and it was not through some trick she had been healed, but by faith in God and his power to heal.

When we look at the Lord, especially when we consider the miracles that were done in the Lord’s day as well as miracles that occur today, we too must remember these are not tricks. They are the power of God and they are based on faith. All that we receive from the Lord is based on faith and the grace of God. As the woman was freed from a lifetime of infirmity, so too we have been set free from sin and death in Christ Jesus. But we must remember we have this standing in God only through our faith in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Healing the Blind

(Matthew 20:29-34)

There are a number of examples of Jesus healing the blind in the New Testament. These can be looked at from several perspectives, both as a physical miracle and the spiritual analogy. However in this section we see an additional teaching. Here we see a perspective from the position of the blind person.

The analogy of Jesus healing the blind works two ways. He came so that the blind may see, not just physically, but spiritually. (John 9:39) To have your eyes opened spiritually means to be able to perceive and understand the truth of the New Covenant. Your eyes can only be opened if the Lord opens them. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit opens up the word of the gospel so that we can understand all of the gifts of God and receive those gifts.

In this section of scripture showing Jesus healing the blind we find something more. There is a lesson that the blind men here can teach us all. As Jesus left Jericho a great throng of people followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the side of the road and on finding that Jesus was passing by they called out to him. “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” (Verses 29-30) The crowd rebuked the men telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more and did not heed the crowd.

Now here we see two things at work. The men were calling for the Lord to have mercy on them. They were asking for a healing so they could see. This is good and right to do for the Lord himself said, “Ask, and you shall receive.” (Matthew 7:7-8) Had they remained silent they would not have received their sight. What is more we see that the crowd stood opposed to them. They told the men not to cry out and rebuked them for their asking. Many times we will be in a position where we need to also go against the flow of the crowd. Many times going along with the crowd will not get us the things we need or want. The crowd mentality is not always right and people can get carried along with the crowd too easily. Today we hear often about the effects of peer group pressure, especially on the young. The need to conform to be socially acceptable amongst ones peers is a strong drive in many people. But to be a Christian we often have to step away from the crowd to seek the Lord. We often have to stand as an individual to have the Lord come to us as he did to these two blind men.

The two blind men ignored the crowd and continued to cry out to Jesus. Jesus heard their cries, stopped and called them over, asking, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Verse 32) Their continued crying to the Lord got his attention. They ignored the crowd and sought the Lord. If they had heeded the crowd and kept silent they would have never got the attention of the Lord and would never have been able to ask him what they wanted.

They answered the Lord saying, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” Jesus took pity on them and touching their eyes, he healed their blindness and the received their sight. (Verses 33-34)

There are several valuable lessons here for all of us.

First we must seek the Lord always. We must put our desires, requests, plans and issues to him.

Second, we should ignore the crowd who might say not to bother Jesus. Nothing is too much of an issue for the Lord and he cares about everything that affects us for he cares about us. Just because the crowd say something, and just because a lot of people believe a certain thing or a certain way does not make it right. For many years people (i.e. the crowd) believed the world was flat, they believed the earth was the centre of the solar system and all kinds of things we now know to be false. It is the same when we come to the Lord. The crowd is not always right so be prepared to stand as an individual to seek the truth from Jesus directly.

Third, we must not give up crying out to the Lord and seeking his answers. If we don’t get our response straightaway we should continue to ask, as the blind men continued to cry out to him. Had they remained silent they would not have received their sight. Likewise if we remain silent we cannot expect the Lord to give us what we need.

So we see that Jesus healing the blind has many applications and lessons for us. Let us take the example of these blind men and do likewise so that we too can receive our spiritual sight from the Lord.

Miracles don’t Change the Heart of Non-Believers

(Matthew 11:20-24)

You would think that if miracles were performed in front of the eyes of people they would change. If you saw something totally amazing that could only have been done by the power of God, that you would listen to the one doing those things. Well man just doesn’t seem to be like that, as Jesus showed many times.

In this section of Matthew 11 we see Jesus upbraiding the towns and cities where he had performed many of the marvellous and mighty works God allowed him to do. In these cities and towns the sick were healed, lepers cleansed, demons exorcised, the dead raised and many other mighty works. While he did these he was preaching the word of God. But these cities on the whole did not turn around and repent and follow the truth. They were amazed at what was done, but not for the understanding of God’s word, but rather for the spectacle of the miracles. To them it was more like a show than a confirmation of the true Gospel of God, and a call to change their lives.

Jesus expected this to be the way things went anyway. He knew that some would follow but most would not, and he knew that even miracles would not turn people around. Jesus taught this in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16. Lazarus lived on the street in utter squalor and with nothing at the gate of the rich man who lived in the lap of luxury. Lazarus though was a good man despite his afflictions, whereas the rich man was proud and arrogant. They both died and Lazarus went to Paradise to be comforted with Abraham, while the rich man went down into Hades to be tormented in hell. A conversation ensued between the rich man and Abraham with the rich man first pleading arrogantly for Abraham to send Lazarus with water to quench his thirst. He was still arrogant and proud, thinking that Lazarus was nothing more than a slave to do his bidding. When Abraham said no, the rich man pleaded that he would send Lazarus back to earth to warn the rich mans five brothers so they would not suffer. In verses 28-31 we see Abrahams response.

28 “…for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’
29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’
30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’
31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'”

When Jesus upbraided the cities and towns for their lack of repentance, it was this same situation as Abraham spoke of with the rich man. Abraham said, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.” The words of Moses and the prophets were the words of God. Similarly the words of Jesus are the words of God. Unless a person listens to and acts upon the words of God when they hear them, then no amount of people rising from the dead, miracles or mighty works will change their minds and bring them to repentance.

Miracles will confirm the truth of the word to believers. They confirm that what they believe in is the truth and this is from God. But non-believers will not believe even if they see miracles. Consider the miracle of Creation today. Non-believers are seeking “scientific” explanations for the Creation of the heavens and the universe. They are looking for “scientific” ways that man was created, let alone all of the animals, insects, plants, fish and so on. They do not believe that God created the world and everything in it, and everything was made in their species and according to their kind from the beginning. Instead man chooses to accept evolution and the gradual changing of species over countless generations and eons until we get to where we are today.

To be honest, I doubt the earth has been around long enough for this to even occur. Science estimates the earth at about 4.6 billion years old (Source: http://www.extremescience.com/zoom/index.php/geologic-earth-history). But how old is the beginning of life? Again science suggests the first single cell organisms appeared some 3 billion years ago and did not change for another 2 billion years. Then these cells became multi cell organisms and began the process of evolution starting around 1 billion years ago. So in the past billion years we went from single cell organisms to complex life forms and rational, reasoning, thinking man. Is it rational and reasonable to think that all of that could happen in one billion years? And where in the fossil records are all of the crossover species? For years science has tried to locate the crossover between apes and man, but what about the crossovers for every other species as they all evolved according to science? The fossil record should be littered with crossover species if evolution is to be believed, but there is not a single crossover to be found.

Why is that? Because they don’t exist! Science cannot believe the miracle of creation and yet chooses to accept the fairy stories of evolution and call it fact when even a non-scientist can see it cannot hold water. Even using scientific method to look at the fossil records, as they do, is positive proof of the absurdity of evolution. They cannot show the existence of a single crossover species when there should be millions of such species in the fossil record if evolution were true.

This is exactly what Jesus was speaking of when he said that even if they saw miracles they would not believe and repent. And it is for such lack of belief and repentance that he upbraided the towns of Chora’zin, Beth-sa’ida and Caper’na-um where he did his mighty works. From this we must learn to listen to the Lord, regardless of miracles, and repent so that we can find the truth for ourselves and follow him.

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