Do Not Pass Me By

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Do Not Pass Me By

Mark 6:45-51 & Matthew 14:22-33

Let’s set the scene.  Three weeks ago, we looked at an amazing event in the lives of Jesus and the disciples.  They were on a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35-41).  Jesus was sleeping in the back of the boat when a fierce storm comes down on them and the disciples began to panic:

1. Because of the storm

2. Because Jesus was asleep at the helm

Do you remember the 2 questions?

1.     Where is your faith?  (Jesus asked this of the disciples)

2.     Who is this man? (The disciples asked this regarding Jesus)

·         The context of this event is extremely important to us today.  This event occurred relatively early in the ministry of Jesus.  The experience that the disciples had with Jesus at this event was wonderful and yet at best, brief

·         These disciples worried.  Sure they trusted Jesus when they got into the boat but their experience of trust was like that of a young boy riding a bicycle with training wheels on it for the first time.  They were riding, but not with the speed or freedom that they could have been

·         We concluded that message with a third question … but this question was personal:  Who do I say that Jesus is?

OK … full break.  Let’s press fast forward on the journeys that the disciples have had with Jesus.  The water has been turned into wine.  Jesus teaches the crowds and miraculously heals “all of their sick” (Mt 12:15).  He has a showdown with the teachers of the law and then heals another man with a withered hand.  Jesus even confronts a demon possessed man and after driving it out and setting the man free, He casts the demon into a herd of pigs.  Wind and waves have obeyed Jesus’ commands; a woman who was bleeding for 12 years was immediately healed and a young girl has been raised from the dead.

  • The point I’m trying to make here is this: the disciples had seen Jesus do some amazing stuff.  They had seen more than one incredible event … events that were even called MIRACULOUS!  And therefore, the disciples experience with Jesus is rich … it is deep and wide … Their almost 2 years worth of experience with Jesus should have given them confidence
    • So work with me for a moment … pretend you have a little boy 6 years of age.  At age 4 he started riding a “Big Boy Bike” that he got for his birthday albeit with training wheels.  But he is no longer 4.  Two years have passed and he has ridden that bike almost every day that he could have for 2 long years.  In fact, the bike that once looked so big for him now fits him perfectly.  His legs are strong, his balance is good and the helmet fits to a tee.  It is time for a change … time to shed the training wheels and begin to ride like he was always meant to
  • So back to today’s event … in Mark 6:30-43, Jesus has just fed 5000 men with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.  All 4 gospels record this miraculous blessing from God and now Jesus makes the disciples get back into a boat and go over to Bethsaida while he stays back to dismiss the crowds and spend some time in prayer
    • So let’s do the same for just a minute … lets pray and then we’ll look at the passage in Mark.

<< Read Mark 6:45-52 >>

The disciples knew where they were  (Been there. Done that. Own the Tunic)

Jesus told the disciples where they were going ~ Bethsaida was their destination.  Jesus placed them in the boat then He went up to the mountainside to pray.  I get the feeling that we think that Jesus was being mean to the disciples … he put these poor unsuspecting, ill-equipped and inexperienced people into a boat and then sends them off to Who-Knows-Where to meet with doom and eventual peril on the Sea of Galilee.  But this is not the case.

  • By this time, the disciples had almost 2 years of time with Jesus and they were well exposed to his ministry and miracles.  For almost 2 years they had seen the healings, heard the teachings and eaten the food.  If they had custom made iron-on tunics they would read, “Been there. Done that. Own the Tunic.”
    • As I read this story again this week, I couldn’t get over the thought that the disciples had more than enough experience to get through the storm without loosing hope.  Yet for some reason, they are flailing away in the same boat of fear and lack of faith that they were in almost 2 years before
      • Listen here for a moment … if your healthy 6 year old has been floundering around on his BIG BOY BIKE for 2 years and he doesn’t want you to take off the training wheels, you’re going to wonder what’s going on … why is he so afraid
        • And if he stays there … ‘LIFE’ will pass him by!

We know where we are

Let’s look over to Matthew’s account of the same story (Mt 14:22-33).  Why do you think the disciples were terrified?  The scripture say that it had nothing to do with the storm.  The fact is, the boat was struggling but this did not seem to be a catastrophic event like the disciples encountered in Mt 8, Lk 8 and Mk 4.  There was wind and there were waves but no massive storm.  So why were they so scared?  << PAUSE >>

  • Listen here … the disciples were terrified because they saw Jesus in a whole new way.  Before Jesus healed the blind man, they had never seen that before.  Before they had seen Jesus exercise a demon, they had never seen that before.  Before the little girl was raised from the dead, they had never seen that before.  And prior to some 10-15,000 people being fed with a child’s lunch, the disciples had never seen that before
    • Maybe that’s why some of us are so crippled in our in our Christian life.  We began OK with training wheels on but that’s where we would like to stay.  Training wheels seem safe.  No one gets hurt with training wheels on right?  And besides, only wild people ride without training wheels … after all, its crazy to go without training wheels … nothing will hold you up, RIGHT?
  • Look back at Mark’s gospel … Mark says that Jesus was about to pass by them.  Can you believe that?  Seriously!  Jesus was about to pass right by the disciples in their time of distress and need.  What kind of Saviour leaves his disciples behind to fend for themselves?
    • And don’t you just love Peter here.  After hearing the voice of Jesus saying, “Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid”, Peter calls out, “Tell me to come to you on the water.”  Jesus calls to him and Crazy Peter gets down out of the boat and walks toward Jesus … ON TOP OF THE WATER!
      • You can say what you want about Peter but do not forget this one thing … Peter knew that it was safer with Jesus on the waves than in the boat during a storm.  And when Peter cried out for help, the Bible says in John’s gospel account of the same story, IMMEDIATELY Jesus reached out his had and caught Peter

Where are you going?

So here we go again, Jesus asks another question and this time it’s addressed to all of us here:  Why did you doubt?

  • Jesus in not distant from you and He is not unaware of the place that you are in right now.  Your struggle and your pain are not lost on Him and He has no desire to see you remain in the place of defeat that you find yourself in today.  He knows that the wind and the waves have been against you.  He knows the struggle you have been through … in fact, He’s been praying for you and He has come for you.  But know this well, He is not content with me staying on your training wheels and He calls out to each of us today … step out of the boat, let go of the training wheels … follow me!
    • Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.  I call them out by name and they follow me.”
      • Sheep hear.  He calls them by name and they follow Him.
        • And He is calling out to you this morning.  Do you hear Him?  He knows where He is going and He knows the plans He has for you during this journey.  He is the only one who can safely lead you to the other side.
          • So … Where are you going?

I believe God is calling us out to LIFE.  Respectfully, I think He’s tired … in fact, SICK AND TIRED of watching us flounder around on training wheels.  When Wesley finally gave up on the training wheels, there was no stopping him.  Less than 3 weeks after the training wheels were gone, he was building a jump at the end of the driveway to see if he could fly.  That would never have happen with the training wheels on.  And guess what, he has fallen and he has scraped his little knees and elbows and he will fall again.  But one day, my Wesley is gonna fly!

Where are you going?  Are you going to stay in the boat with the wind and the waves against you or are you going to go to wherever Jesus is going.  Did you notice … Jesus was standing in the wind and the waves … there was still a distance to travel

  • But being on the waves with Jesus is a whole lot safer than being on shore without Him!
    • Don’t miss him.  He is about to walk by here this morning and He is calling out to you
      • Take courage!  It is me … Jesus.  Do not be afraid.
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