A Scripture on Saturday: Revelation 22

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life... He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

Revelation 22:17,20-21

Getting out of the Boat {a.k.a. Comfort Zone}

Jesus walking on the water
Jesus walking on the water

Jesus walks with us on the chaos of our lives.  Oswald ChambersLast time we talked about what faith really is.  One tender (and biblical) thought is that faith is responding to Jesus' COME...His grace-filled invitation.

Often times, coming to Jesus when the storms of life are raging is the last thing we do.  That is, until all else has failed.

We rather go to friends, addictions (like social media, exercise, food), withdrawal, and one of my personal favorites, Christian self-help books.  All of these feel comfortable (and "safe") to us...at least for the time.  But eventually, we realize we need HIM!

Or sometimes the Lord may be calling us to something new and scarey.  Maybe a new job, a new home, a new stage of life, a new challenge.  We avoid the issue for as long as we can -- it's too uncomfortable and risky!  But if we want to grow, eventually we must get "out of our boat" and come to Him.  And that's faith.

That's what Peter did in the familiar and captivating story in Matthew 14 (Other parts of the story are in John 6 and Mark 6).  Let's pick up the story...

Jesus reaching out to Peter
Jesus reaching out to Peter

22 Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." 28 Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." 29 And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, " O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly God's Son!" Matthew 14: 27 - 33

Here are some questions to explore as you read through this passage.  Next time we'll share some thoughts about these questions:

1.  Why didn’t Peter just jump out of the boat?  Why did he ask Jesus to command him “Come to Him”? (vs 27-29a)

2.  What decision did Peter face once he heard Jesus' come?  Do we face the same decision at times? (vs 29)

3.  What ultimately happened to Peter and why?  What did he do in the midst of his dilemma?  How readily do we do the same in the midst of our doubt and fear? (vs 30-31a)

4.  What did Peter learn as a result of the storm? (vs 31-33)

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PART THE WATERS/ I NEED THEE Selah

When I think I'm going under, part the waters, Lord When I feel the waves around me, calm the sea When I cry for help, oh, hear meLord and hold out Your hand Touch my life Still the raging storm in me

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord No tender voice like Thine can peace afford I need Thee, O I need Thee Every hour I need Thee O bless me now, my Savior I come to Thee

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain Come quickly and abide, or life is vain


A Word on Wednesday: COME to___________

come, verb1.to approach or move toward a particular person or place. 2.to arrive by movement or in the course of progress. 3.to approach or arrive in time, in succession, etc. 4.to move into view; appear. 5.to extend; reach

come New Testament Greek = erchomai, to go + pros, to/toward (by marking out the object toward which something/someone moves)

Mark HIM out...no matter your circumstances! Get other people and things out of your focus! And COME to, GO to, MOVE toward HIM today!

 

 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ”Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:37-39

 

FAITH...responding to Jesus' Invitation

invitations
invitations

I love invitations, don't you?  I mean, that someone would like the pleasure of my company...or may need my help or input...or may just want to welcome me into the group (or family, or community, if you will)!  What a pleasure and honor!  And it's all good, as far as I'm concerned. Jesus loves invitations too...He is the Divine Initiator.  Without His call...His invitation, we would be lost! And that's what faith is...responding to the Lord's invitation.

Years ago, I was teaching through the gospel of John.  John's purpose in writing his gospel is stated in the closing chapters of that intimate, devotional gospel:

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:30-31

Notice the key word believe And as you read through this gospel, you see believe/belief and faith throughout.

There are also metaphors, describing who Jesus is to His people, scattered all through the gospel.  So I set out on a quest to see if there might also be synonyms, even metaphors, for the the concept of faith.

But first I asked the question:  What is true faith? It's not a work we drum up...not just intellectual assent (the devil "believes" and trembles, the Bible says).  Without it, we can't please God! So what is it?

Here are some synonyms that I found (see if you can find these and others in the gospel of John as well as the other gospels):

eat Him, the Bread of Life -- John 6 drink Him, the Living water --John 3, 6, 7 hear and follow Him, the Good Shepherd -- John 10 believe in Him, the Resurrection & Life -- John 11 abide in Him the True Vine -- John 15

and my favorite of all...COME to Him --  throughout the gospel but especially John 5, 6, 7, and 11.

jesus and child, come
jesus and child, come

What a simple word, come.  Even a small child understands come.  Why?  Because usually there's definite body language associated with it...a beckoning, a welcoming...

...and there's a certain facial expression -- a YES face, if you will.

Jesus, with His YES face, is always calling, welcoming, beckoning...COME to ME!  Not just one time for eternal salvation, but all the time...

Come to Me in your grief and loss Come to Me in your anxiety

Come to me when you are happy Come to Me when you are sad

Come to Me when you've failed Come to me when you've succeeded

Come to Me when you've been left out and rejectedCome to Me when you've been included and accepted

Cometo Me when you are struggling with jealousy, comparison, gluttony, idolatry... Come to Me whenever...

So in the good times and the bad...and especially when the storms of life are raging, come to Christ!

And in the coming is faith...and He really loves that!

Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend. James 2:23

Next time we'll look at another friend of Jesus...one we all can identify with, Peter.

Until then, bask in the metaphors for faith in this moving song... COME to your LORD in the exact circumstances you find yourself! His invitation is always open!

Untitled Hymn (Come To Jesus) Chris Rice

Weak and wounded sinner Lost and left to die O, raise your head, for love is passing by Come to Jesus Come to Jesus Come to Jesus and live!

Now your burden's lifted And carried far away And precious blood has washed away the stain, so Sing to Jesus Sing to Jesus Sing to Jesus and live!

And like a newborn baby Don't be afraid to crawl And remember when you walk Sometimes we fall...so Fall on Jesus Fall on Jesus Fall on Jesus and live!

Sometimes the way is lonely And steep and filled with pain So if your sky is dark and pours the rain, then Cry to Jesus Cry to Jesus Cry to Jesus and live!

O, and when the love spills over And music fills the night And when you can't contain your joy inside, then Dance for Jesus Dance for Jesus Dance for Jesus and live!

And with your final heartbeat Kiss the world goodbye Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory's side, and Fly to Jesus Fly to Jesus Fly to Jesus and live!