John 11:9 “Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.”
Jesus compares His decision to return to Judaea to a man traveling during the day. Daytime travel doesn’t guarantee a hazard-free trip but the light does allow us to see the hazards. At nighttime, it’s inevitable that we will stumble. Likewise, walking in the light of God’s direction doesn’t mean that there won’t be problems, but the alternative of “doing our own thing” (that is walking in darkness) is guaranteed to get us into trouble.
Jesus was obeying the leading of His Father to return to Judaea. He could see exactly what was going to take place and He was going to walk in the light that His Father had given Him. Our decisions should not be based on whether or not we will be hurt in some way as a result of our actions, but we must discern God’s will and do it regardless of the cost.
The misconception that, “if God is in it, there will be no problems” is not only wrong, but is dangerous. This kind of thinking has caused many people to “back off” from what God has told them to do when things don’t go the way they expected. Our problems do not come from God, therefore, we should not pray for problems and not embrace them as being “a blessing from God in disguise.” Furthermore, when trials come, we should not be shocked (1 Peter 4:12) and not let problems or the lack thereof confirm or deny God’s will for us.
Jesus died for each one of us. Each one of us ought to live for Him. Offering ourselves to God is not just a one-time deal. We have to die daily to our own desires. This has to be a living, ongoing commitment to the Lord.
Mark 6:54, “And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him,”
The word “know” can mean many things from as little as “to perceive with the senses or the mind” to a much deeper meaning of “a thorough experience with.”
This knowing, then, is not just intellectual, but a personal, intimate understanding. Jesus defines eternal life as knowing God the Father and Jesus Christ. Eternal life is having an intimate, personal relationship with God the Father and Jesus the Son. This intimacy with God is what salvation is all about. Forgiveness of our sins is not the point of salvation. This intimacy with the Father is. Of course, Jesus did die to purchase forgiveness for our sins because un-forgiven sins block us from intimacy with God. Sin was an obstacle that stood between God and us. It had to be dealt, with and it was. But anyone who views salvation as only forgiveness of sins and stops there is missing out on eternal life.
Salvation was intended to be presented as the way to come back into harmony with God. Instead, it has often been presented as the way to escape the problems of this life and later the judgment of hell. It is possible to get born again with that kind of thinking, but more often than not, people who get saved through that type of ministry view the Lord as someone to help them through times of crisis and not someone to know in an intimate way. Jesus died for us out of love (John. 3:16) – a love that longed to have intimate communion with man.
Most non-believers are so occupied with their “hell on earth” that they don’t really think or care about their eternal future. They are fed up with religion. They are looking for something that will fill the emptiness inside. Only an intimate relationship (eternal life) with our Father can do that. We need to tell them.
Mark 6:52, “For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.”
Most of the time, we think of a person with a hard heart as being someone who is in terrible rebellion to God. While it is true that a rebellious person does have a hardened heart, in this instance, the Word is referring to the disciples’ hearts being hardened. They were, “sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered” at Jesus walking on the water.
The word “hardened” as used here, means “to make calloused, unyielding or cold in spirit, or insensitive to.” The disciples were not God haters, but rather they had become so sensitive to the natural world and its limitations that they were overwhelmed to see Jesus supersede these laws. Therefore, they had a hardened heart.
If they had kept in mind the miracle they had just seen Jesus perform (the feeding of the five thousand), then they wouldn’t have been amazed to see Jesus walking on the water toward them. After all, He had constrained them to get into the ship and was therefore responsible for them. He was just a short distance away from them, and was in the same storm himself, so they knew He was aware of their situation. They should have been expecting Jesus to come and save them, even if He had to walk on the water to do it.
Many of us are more sensitive to fear and doubt than we are to the truths of God’s Word. This is because we have thought more on things that minister fear and doubt. We can take these laws about hardening our hearts and use them in a positive way. We can actually harden our hearts to doubt by considering only God’s Word. It is a possible and obtainable goal to become just as sensitive to God and faith as we have been to Satan and doubt. Meditate on God’s Word today.
Luke 14:28 “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?”
The parable of the man building a tower is a continuation of the teaching regarding what it takes to be a disciple of Jesus. This parable stresses commitment. “Jailhouse religion,” where a person is only sorry he got caught and is trying to get out of a bad situation, will not produce true discipleship. It takes a forsaking of all to be Jesus’ disciple. Jesus is simply saying, “count the cost.”
Jesus’ teaching on discipleship emphasizes commitment. Just as a king wouldn’t engage in war without thoroughly considering all the possible outcomes, so no one should attempt to become a disciple of Jesus without counting the cost. It would be better not to start following Jesus than to start and then turn back.
When a person first comes to Jesus, it is impossible to know everything that following Jesus might entail. No one, however, should be fearful of making a total commitment because of some imagined problem that may never come to pass. There should be a willingness to forsake everything to follow Jesus.
Once we make that decision, then Christ begins to live through us… Galatians 2:20, and we find a strength that is not our own, equal to whatever test we may encounter.
Luke 11:1 – “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples’.”
When you consider that Jesus was the greatest miracle worker who ever walked the earth and the greatest preacher who ever lived, it is amazing that His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. Why didn’t they ask Him to teach them how to work these miracles or how to preach and amaze the people with their doctrine?
It’s because Jesus’ prayer life was even more powerful than His miracles or His doctrine. Indeed, it was His union with the Father that gave Him His power to work miracles and His authority to speak as no man had ever spoken before. Jesus said repeatedly that it was His Father who was doing the miracles through Him and that His doctrine was not His own but the Father’s.
The same holds true today. Jesus said in John 15:5 that without Him, we can do nothing. There are many things that we should do in addition to prayer, but there is nothing that we can effectively do without prayer. Prayer is one of the main ways of abiding in Him (John 15:7). Therefore, our request should be like these disciples’ — “Lord, teach us to pray.”
We should come expecting to receive answers to prayer. The Father is ready and willing to answer our prayers. Just ask and you shall receive.
Luke 10:40 – “But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.”
There are only three instances in Scripture that give us information about Martha. From these accounts, we can see that Martha had a brother named Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead, and a sister named Mary. Martha had misplaced her priorities on this occasion and was corrected by Jesus. Later, at a supper for Jesus in the home of Simon the leper, Martha was once again serving while Mary her sister was worshiping Jesus by anointing His feet with a costly perfume.
Martha was the first one to run and meet Jesus when He came to their home after the death of Lazarus. It was at this time that Martha said she knew Jesus could have prevented Lazarus from dying and that, even then, she knew He could raise him from the dead. She made a confession of faith in the deity of Jesus, every bit as strong as Peter’s, which received a blessing from Jesus.
Martha was not wrong in serving Jesus and His disciples. Other women ministered to Jesus in this way without being corrected. Serving was a good thing, but Martha had put it in the wrong place. Her problem was priorities — not what she was doing. It was a great honor to have Jesus in her home and to be able to hear His personal words to her household. Martha should have given this the same priority that Mary did.
Just like Martha, many people today are occupied with things that keep them from hearing the words of Jesus. It is easy to recognize and turn from things that are obviously sin, but even good things that we are involved in must be prioritized so that nothing takes the place of seeking first the kingdom of God.
Luke 10:2 “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.”
It is commonly thought that an evangelist is someone who has a passion to lead people to the Lord. But every believer should have a passion for souls. When presenting the Gospel, we are not just presenting a theory about God but the factual account of God’s dealings with man as revealed through His Word, with the ultimate witness being the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Our personal witness of the reality of Jesus being alive in our lives brings Christ from theory to reality.
The early Christians had experienced the love of Christ in an intimate and life-transforming way. This motivated them to reach their known world with the Gospel of Christ more than any generation of Christians has done since. They didn’t have the benefits of our modern technology, but they did have the benefit of being full of the love of Christ. Experiencing the love of Christ causes us to be filled with the fullness of God… Ephesians 3:19, and makes us a witness that the world cannot resist… John 13:35.
Today, much of the emphasis of the church is placed on techniques of evangelism or spiritual warfare. We motivate people to witness through feelings of guilt or punishment if they don’t. Much of our evangelism has become as dead and non-productive as that of the cults who knock on doors and argue people into their way of thinking. The early Christians had a much greater impact on their world because they were full of, and motivated by, the love of God. The church today needs a revival of our personal relationship with the Lord. When we can say with Paul that the love of Christ constrains us, then we will impact our world for the Lord too. You can’t give away what you don’t possess. We need to personally know the love of Christ in an experiential way before we try to share it with others.