Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“All whom My Father gives and entrusts to Me will come to Me: and the one who comes to Me I will most certainly not cast out – I will never, no never, reject one of them who comes to Me.”
John 6: 37
“God’s flock is never full:
Fear not to enter boldly at His door;
None ever were refused who there applied;
He hath abiding – place for more inside.”
J. R. Miller
Today’s Study Text:
“But straightway Jesus spake unto them.”
Matthew 14: 27
“Heaven’s Solution to Earthly Fear” Part 1
“What has Jesus Christ ever asked you to do that wasn’t for your own good?”
In what ways does Jesus speak to me?
“Better to be with Jesus, in any circumstance, than to be anywhere else without Him.”
Breakfast With Jesus
Do I make time in my day to listen for Jesus’ voice?
“Jesus differs from all other teachers; they reach the ear, but He instructs the heart; they deal with the outward letter, but He imparts an inward taste for the truth.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“Jesus, the very thought of Thee,
With sweetness fills the breast;
But sweeter far Thy face to see,
And in Thy presence rest.”
Bernard of Clairvaux
Over the past few weeks, all around this globe we call earth we have watched as people are whipped into a fearful frenzy as world events seemingly appear to be out of control. But I have some wonderful news to share with you.
To all of us who believe our God is in charge of this world, we have nothing to fear for our God rules. In the most comforting words from the prophet Isaiah: “Energize the limp hands, strengthen the rubbery knees. Tell fearful souls, ‘Courage! Take heart! God is here, right here, on His way, to put things right and redress all wrongs. He’s on His way! He’ll save you!’” (Isaiah 35: 4, The Message Bible). This is fantastic news for each of us this Christmas. We don’t need to be afraid.
Throughout the Bible we are told, “Take heart,” and to “Be courageous.” Fear isn’t an emotion that should constantly keep God’s children shaking and shivering – even in the face of the unknown.
Probably the best example as to why we should be overcome by fear is found in an experience recorded by the disciple Matthew.
The first seven words which are found in Matthew 14: 27, give you and me an important clue as we search for heaven’s solution to our earthly fears. This is why I have chosen to look at several different translations and paraphrases of the Bible as we uncover God’s plan for conquering the terror we feel when life doesn’t unfold the way we think it should.
Just to give us a broader perspective regarding what Matthew was trying to share here are several texts we will study as we look at Matthew 14: 27, in depth.
1. “But instantly, He spoke to them, saying”
Matthew 14: 27
2. “But Jesus spoke to them (the disciples) at once.”
Matthew 14: 27
New Living Translation
3. “But Yeshua (Jesus Christ) immediately spoke with them and He said.”
Matthew 14: 27
The 21stCentury Aramaic Bible in
Plain English – New Testament
4. “But Jesus was quick to comfort them.”
Matthew 14: 27
The Message Bible
There are several reasons I chose these four specific versions. First, the Aramaic will help us as we continue to study the balance of Matthew 14: 27, the “I Am” portion. The New Living Translation uses the phrase “at once,” which I find very enlightening. The Amplified Bible takes the speed with which Jesus responds to a newer height by using the phrase, “But instantly.” However, it is the paraphrase found in The Message Bible which reads, “quick to comfort them,” that strikes home to my heart. Now, I’d like to combine the highlights we have found in these four different formats and share the text in a way which combines all of these together:
“But Jesus Christ instantly spoke, and at once, He comforted His disciples.”
Matthew 14: 27
I love the speed we find in Jesus’ response. For when the disciples were so terrorized they had become paralyzed and unable to move, Jesus swiftly came to them. I found it interesting to read what author Margaret Harvey describes as the way Jesus might have viewed the situation from His vantage point on a day filled with the miraculous. Beginning with the first request Jesus received, she tells the story this way:
“They came to me anxiously and officiously: ‘Send them away now – we can’t feed them – they have no food.’
What could I do? The air was thick with tiredness. It had been a long day.
Then I saw a young lad, standing by Andrew. ‘Here,’ he said, ‘they can have mine.’
He held out his bundle of bread rolls and dried fish, with no doubt that it would be valued and used.
So I took it, and the people were fed, the disciples walking – then running – round in wonder. The boy walked away, carrying a basket filled with food for his family, his face alive with delight. I wanted to keep looking at that face, to relish the effects of a child’s faith. So I persuaded the disciples to set out while I spoke with the last stragglers of the crowd. There were plenty of people with boats, I could easily follow later.
A little way up the hill there was a scrubby outcrop with a small, wind-stunted tree. I sat, leaning against the firm trunk, and exhaustion settled around me like a cloak. So many people, uncertain and confused like shepherd-less sheep on a mountain. I bowed under the weight of their need and my loneliness. Then, like a hand on my shoulder, I knew that my Father felt it too. I spread before Him the impossible vastness of need. The night wore on, and I sensed the assurance that He had it in hand, and I was filled with wonder and hope. I remembered the boy’s face, laughing with sudden joy.
The wind had built up, blowing in from the sea. I got up and walked down to the water’s edge, leaning into the force of the wind. I realized I could still see the boat, held almost stationary, like a gull trying to fly into a gale. I ran to (the disciples) across the sea.”
Bare Feet and Buttercups
When fear engulfs us and we feel immobilized by panic – often our first thought is to respond as the disciples did and we, “Cry out,” or we choose to flee to a place we think will be safe.
Jesus’ solution is quite the opposite for as we witness, He was not only aware of the stormy lake, He heard the howl of the wind and the waves surging roar. And so He pressed into the storm’s wild path, walking across the lake unafraid. Nature’s fury was no match for the Master of the sea. With constant sereneness, when fears were all about, over distracting noise, He came. In fact, as the prophet Isaiah reminds us, even today: “It shall be that before they call I will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear” (Isaiah 65: 24, Amplified Bible). And again in Isaiah 30: 19, we can be encouraged by this tremendous promise: “He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry, when He hears it He will answer you.” We know these words to be true! All we have to do is watch our Savior walk on Galilee.
Are you watching for Jesus – coming across the waves, having heard your scream for help?
Keep your eyes focused on the Lord of the sea for He’s on His way to your side right now!
“If we want to row against the storms of life, we can do it, and Jesus will let us row until our arms fall off. Or we can call upon the Lord and He will save us.”
Neil Anderson and Charles Mylander
“As the hart pants and longs for the water brooks, so I pant and long for You, O God. My inner self thirsts for God, for the living God.”
Psalm 42: 1, 2
My Light! My Way!
“O Thou, to whose all-searching sight
The darkness shineth as the light,
Search, prove my heart; it pants for Thee;
O burst these bonds, and set it free!
Wash out its stains, refine its dross,
Nail my affections to the Cross;
Hallow each thought; let all within
Be clean, as Thou, my Lord, art clean!
If in this darksome wild I stray,
Be Thou my Light, be Thou my Way;
No foes, no violence I fear,
No fraud, while Thou, my God, art near.
When rising floods my soul o’erflow,
When sinks my heart in waves of woe,
Jesus, Thy timely aid impart,
And raise my head, and cheer my heart.
Saviour, where’er Thy steps I see,
Dauntless, untired, I follow Thee;
O let Thy hand support me still,
And lead me to Thy holy hill!
If rough and thorny be the way,
My strength proportion to my day;
Till toil, and grief, and pain shall cease,
Where all is calm, and joy, and peace.”
Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, 1700-1760
Translated by John Wesley, 1703-1791
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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