SerMonday: My take on the weekend message at WillowParkChurch.
From our new series #DiscoverJESUS.
“Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them.” Matthew 14:22-24
Jesus is seeking time alone with God, sending disciples ahead of him and dismissing the crowd so that he can be alone and pray. Jesus dismissed them, ‘sent them away’. He is preparing himself for the increasing intensity of the ministry to come.
Meanwhile, the disciples are having their faith challenged in Christ’s absence.
The word used of the disciples beaten, ‘buffeted’ by the storm is the same word used in these two verses, a word that can refer to torment and demonic hostility.
“Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Matt 8:
“They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. ” Revelation 9:5
Two story lines are merging; While Christ is praying on the hill tops the disciples are being tormented by the storm.
We all know what happens next? Jesus came to the disciples walking on the water. How have you imagined that stormy water.
What did Jesus say to the terrified disciples? ‘Take heart, or take courage. It is I. Do not be afraid’
Matthew 14:28-31 “And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt? And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
My thoughts from this familiar story.
Jesus dismissed the crowd. Seriously, if Jesus had to do it. So do we. Our crowd is not the same, of course, but there’s so much that crowds our life and distracts us from spending time with God. This isn’t an encouragement to switch off the TV or unplug social media – not that alone.
Are we frequently finding and protecting time to be with God?
The image of the storm representing torment, or the sting of scorpion. This was powerful. I sit with church family who are right in the middle of the storm. I don’t have to list these storms. You know your own.
Jesus says today ‘Take courage. It is I, do not be afraid’.
Storms are a part of life, I’m not going to say that by having faith and inviting Jesus into our storm that we always experience an immediate, physical still. I do believe when you invite Jesus, who is Peace, into your storm, that He gives you an indescribable inner peace and gives you the courage to face it.
And one day. It will stop.
My final thought. In August we went to Green Bay where Phil spoke at family camp for a week. We were invited to join a group on a ‘romantic, scenic’ boat trip around Kelowna. Taking in the sights and watching the sunset. About 10 minutes into the experience, the weather turned and we watched a grey, menacing storm roll in over Rutland.
Soon enough our romantic evening changed as Okanagan lake waves made their way to my romantically inspired hair and non waterproof make up.
We watched the storm unfold over our city and knew lives would be affected.
As it settled, I saw this from the boat…
Often, when we are in the midst of it, we can’t see a way out, desperate to believe the promises, to hear God, we are thrown around, struggling to find a glimpse of hope.
It is then, that we need our community, our church family to step in and to see the promise for us. I have seen this repeatedly over the years of church life.
Life storms are often unbearable. Find yourself some rainbow chasers if you’re in one.
Love, Michelle xoxo