This study, taught by pastor Barry Forder, was recorded at our Sunday morning family service on 24th June 2018.
In this study, we follow on from the verses we ended with last week, where we saw the disciples return from their ‘adventure’, healing the sick, preaching the gospel & casting out unclean spirits. There must have been such a sense of excitement among them!
As they return they find Jesus surrounded by multitudes once again. The natural tendency, born from their enthusiasm, would have been to carry on and minister to this crowd that had gathered – after all, wasn’t that the reason given in the synagogue in Nazareth as to why Jesus had come? (“to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord”. Luke 4:18-19)
But Jesus takes the disciples aside, for now, they needed to rest, physically no doubt, but they needed to renew their strength. In the spiritual realm that can only be done by coming apart from the busyness of life, from the urgent pressures and demands, and to spend time alone with Jesus – “they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength” (Isa 40:31).
Jesus speaking to His disciples said, “Come ye yourselves apart to a desert place, and rest a little.” (Mk 6:31) A ‘Quiet Time’ is a place to “come apart” from the world and rest in Jesus. “Jesus knows we must come apart and rest awhile or else we may just plain come apart!” (Vance Havner). When the Bible becomes a part of you, you’ll be less likely to come apart! To be much like Christ, we must be much with Christ.
- “Attachment to Christ is the secret of detachment from the world. And so although we must live in the world, we must draw our strength from outside the world. As Charles Hummel wisely said, “Adequate time for daily waiting on God… is the only way I can escape the tyranny of the urgent.”
Notice what happens when the disciples did the counter-intuitive and stopped from their labours for a while: The crowds came to them!
The natural says we must keep at it, we must keep serving to make the most of every opportunity! The Spiritual says we must not! If we are to make the most of every opportunity it will only be done through waiting on the LORD, only moving in His time. We are always in such a hurry, Jesus was not. Jesus accomplished more in 3 1/2 years than most of us will in a lifetime, yet He was never flustered or anxious.
Later, after the feeding of the 5000, we see the disciples in the midst of the sea once again, this time Jesus comes walking on the water. By now surely the disciples realised they were safe? That the Lord had called and chosen them and was watching over them? But no! How quick we are to forget the LORD miraculous provision and think that it is now up to us. On this occasion – although Mark doesn’t record the fact – Peter stepped out of the boat and walked toward Jesus on the water! Oswald Chambers comments:
- The wind was actually boisterous, the waves were actually high, but Peter did not see them at first. He did not reckon with them, he simply recognised his Lord, and stepped out in recognition of Him and walked on the water. Then he began to reckon with the actual things, and down he went instantly. Why could not our Lord have enabled him to walk at the bottom of the waves as well as on the top of them? Neither could be done saving by recognition of the Lord Jesus.
- We step right out on God over some things, then self-consideration enters in and down we go. If you are recognising your Lord, you have no business with where He engineers your circumstances. The actual things are, but immediately you look at them you are overwhelmed, you cannot recognise Jesus, and the rebuke comes: Wherefore didst thou doubt?” Let actual circumstances be what they may, keep recognising Jesus, maintain complete reliance on Him.
The theme throughout this study is that we need to get our eyes on Jesus and keep them there! We cannot solve our problems ‘in the flesh’ (by our natural resources). We do not have sufficient resources to carry on the fight on our own. Enthusiam is not to be confused with calling!
“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD”. Psalm 27:14
May you be blessed and encouraged by this study
The Powerpoint slides used in this study are also available for free download from our web site, and the audio can be streamed or downloaded for future use.