Seed of Faith – Jesus Sends, Sees, Stills and Saves By Pastor Dave
Dear Faithful Seed Sowers:
Well, it has been a very, long time since I sat down to write and send a “Seed of Faith”. Please forgive me. I have been a little overwhelmed with ministry and we have had eight family members and 4 best friends die during the past two years. We have have spent a lot of family time grieving during the past few months. My wife and I just returned from a 3 week trip to bury her parents’ urns. We fulfilled their last wishes and they are “safely home” to their final resting spot in St. Louis. During these three weeks, we were able to do two weddings, and 3 funerals. On the trip out to St. Louis, our car got hit by a weight that dropped off of semi traveling at 75 mph, while we were traveling at 80 mph! We were so lucky that the weight hit the front lights and did not travel up the hood. God protected us and we are thankful. We ended up having days and days of mysterious vehicle problems afterwards but got that all taken care of in St. Louis. God provided a sister-in-law who worked at Lou Fusz in St. Louis and she got us right into the service bay. It was an expensive set of repairs but our lives are worth more than that! We truly are thankful for the time away. We’ve been really swamped with all that the past two years have entailed and found ourselves empty and exhausted as we spent a week in the Lake of the Ozarks–merely floating in the lake and reading. All in all, it feels really good to know Mom and Dad are finally resting in peace along with the rest of their family members in St. Louis. A great accomplishment for Jac and me.
I don’t know how long it’s been since I sent out a SEED OF FAITH. I do have to share that I received several emails saying, “I don’t know how I stopped receiving your “SEED OF FAITH” but will you put me back on the email list?” Uh, sure. So here we go! Strap up and let’s get back to planting SEEDS OF FAITH!
I love this story in the Bible of Jesus walking on water. What a miracle. This story is found in three gospels: Matthew and Mark and John.
There will be four points to this message.
Jesus sends us!
Jesus sees us!
Jesus stills the storms around or within us!
Jesus saves us!
In this Seed of Faith we will cover two points and pick up next week with the final two.
JESUS SENDS US!
Enter into this story for a few minutes. Jesus and His disciples got up early in the morning and rowed their boats across the Sea of Galilee where they landed on the far side of Sea, around Bethsaida. A very large crowd followed Jesus. Jesus had compassion on them (as Jesus has for you and me) and wanted to feed them. The disciples thought Jesus should send everyone home and have them come back tomorrow! But Jesus sent out a search committee who came back with five barley loaves and two fish–a young boy’s lunch! Jesus blessed the loaves and the fish–and five thousand men, plus women and children are fed. AND…there’s 12 baskets of leftovers! Scholars say that there were really more like 15,000 and 20,000 people—counting the women and children!
Now it’s time for you and me to truly enter into the story and to let the story enter into us.
We’ve just rowed over to Bethsaida. We’re being followed by a huge crowd. Everyone is hungry! Jesus is breaking the bread and fish, the disciples are running around handing out bread and fish to thousands of people. Can you imagine how tired the disciples are? (hmm, being tired must be one main ingredient for throwing yourself a pity party?) The disciples have rowed their boats 6 1/2 to 7 miles across the Sea of Galilee and are now working in the hot sun feeding 20,000 people. They finally get all done feeding the multitude of people and picking up the leftovers and Jesus decides to send them back across the sea to Capernaum. We are told it is evening. The disciples are tired. They’ve worked all morning rowing their boats across the sea, they’ve worked all afternoon and now it is evening and Jesus tells them to get in their boats and row back across the sea in the dark! Work. Work. Work. Is there anybody listening who feels the same way? I do. I can identify. Maybe this first SEED OF FAITH back to work is just for me!
Gospel writer John does not tell us that Jesus told them to get in the boats. But in Mark’s account and Matthew’s account we read that it is Jesus who sends them. Matthew records it this way, “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.” (Matthew 14:22) This is a story of faith from beginning to end. Matthew 14:22 tells us Jesus “made the disciples get into the boat.” The word “made” could also be translated “compelled”— “to compel by force or persuasion or to constrain.” Kind of makes me think that just maybe the disciples were tired, too. Maybe they had visions of sugarplums in their heads and thought it might be time to take a siesta under the olive trees?
I do not know all the struggles, battles, confrontations, difficult situations and fearful conditions you find yourself in day after day. Have you ever thought that maybe it is Jesus who has sent you into these storms you face? Now just a sidebar for minute. Not all the storms we face in life are directly brought to us by Jesus. We are human and we definitely make our share of sins and mistakes that cause us pain and confusion. We also fight a common enemy of evil who wants to steal, kill and destroy us. (John 10:10)
Maybe a good so what question here is, “Why would Jesus send His disciples out on the lake at night by themselves? Why does Jesus send you and me out into the dark at night to face the storms of life while He is up on the mountain alone with God having some QT (quiet time).
Yep…there’s the disciples working all day and night and there’s Jesus—having a little QT! Are you in the story, yet? I am, and I, for one, vote for sleeping under the stars tonight but that’s not the story. The story is, “Dave, get in the boat and row back home.”
Is our Lord is saying to us, “Those of you who have decided to follow me as your Savior are going to be sailing your vessels into the winds of life. You are going to have trouble. Obey anyway.”
There are two ways to get into storms. One is to flee God’s will, like Jonah did. A great storm blew up, and he ended up in a fish’s belly. That is different from the disciples’ situation. They were in the midst of a storm because they were obedient (not disobedient) to God. Those of us who have decided to follow Jesus and give him all of our allegiance will often face contrary winds, no doubt about it.
POINT 1: JESUS SENDS US INTO THE STORMS OF LIFE.
POINT 2 follows quickly now: JESUS SEES US.
No matter what the storm is that you are facing, if Jesus sent you, Jesus sees you! And that even goes if you created the storm yourself by being disobedient! It’s the beauty of the GOSPEL.
JESUS SEES YOU!
Jesus sees you in the storms of life! We are told in our story that Jesus sent the disciples back into the boat knowing there would be a storm. On the other hand, Jesus went up the mountain to be alone with His Father. Are you in the story? We’re tired. We’ve poured out all day and now…we’re headed to home, sweet, home!
We, too, need to spend time alone with God but that is an entirely different sermon. Jesus up on the mountain with God His Father. Did you know that in Scripture a mountain is often used as a symbol of a place of authority? Jesus is up in a place of authority and from there He sees His disciples struggling.
Mark’s account of this tells us that Jesus saw them. Listen to how Mark tells the story and enter in — “When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 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.” Mark 6:47-50
The Greek word for “He Saw” is a verb and it means that Jesus “understood, perceived, knew, paid attention and saw them” What a powerful thought! Jesus knows, perceives, pays attention, and sees us in the storms of our lives—He sees us in every storm we’re in during our lifetime. Powerful thought.
Not only are the disciples in a storm but some scholars suggest that waves could have been up to five feet tall. There have been recorded ten-foot waves on the Sea of Galilee that caused damage to the modern day town of Tiberias. We do not know how big the waves were. They could have been three feet to ten feet tall. And…no motor to power them on.
These were experienced fishermen. The water was sloshing into the boat. Soaking all the disciples in the dark and the cold of the night. We are told that it was fourth watch of the night which is between 3 and 6 in the morning. Enter Jesus! Jesus came to his threatened, frightened, and scared followers during the darkest part of the night WALKING ON THE WATER! Jesus came to His disciples when they were exhausted, miserable, tired, and afraid. They were wondering, “Are we going to survive this storm!” (Can you relate?) Only then did the Lord come. Boy, does that sound familiar to me.
There we were, on the freeway between Needles and Kingman. Desert. Hot. And this octagon weight falls off the semi we are passing and bounces on the ground. After we got hit, we pulled off the freeway and checked out to see if there was any damage. The passenger side, front headlight was smashed to pieces. We decided we could still drive in the daylight and made it to Albuquerque. We started having trouble with the air conditioning but it worked until we stopped in Witchita. The next morning as we started to head to Kansas City for a wedding, we had no air. It was 108–without the heat index and on the hot pavement. We were in the middle of nowhere. Little did we know that the weight had also hit our battery and by the time we were in St. Louis–doing my brother-in-law’s wedding, our care refused to turn over. (It was a sight to see: me in a suit and tie and dress shoes–trying to get the car to turn over–in 108 degree heat without the index factor.) Jesus sent me on this trip to bury my wife’s parents. Jesus saw me trying to find the battery then lift the battery out from behind the passenger seat. Stay tuned–next week Jesus is going to still my storm and save me!
So What? How about you? Are you currently in a storm?
JESUS SENDS YOU INTO THE STORMS OF LIFE.
JESUS SEES YOU IN THE STORMS OF OUR LIFE.
Keep looking up and trusting Jesus.
See you Sunday!
God loves you and so do I,