After feeding the 5,000, Jesus again turns to solitude and instructs his disciples to do the same. He sends them on ahead in a boat, and they are sailing across the lake when a storm forms and threatens the boat. The picture that the writer gives us is this: that all this time Jesus is walking in the hills around the lake, praying. When the disciples run into trouble in the boat, he appears out of the storm, walking on the water. In this message, Pastor Bob helps us to consider how Jesus is always present in our lives as we look at Matthew 14:22-33.
In Mark 6:30-44, Jesus feeds the crowd of 5,000. The root of this story is that Jesus is the Bread of Life, but perhaps it also concerns our calling to partner in ministry with Jesus. Noting the difficulty of the situation, the disciples turn to Jesus for the answer. His response? “You feed them.” They, of course, cannot. Only after they acknowledge their inadequacies does Jesus step in. Let us look at this story, noting aspects of service, solitude, and sacrament.
We have assumptions about evangelism that are hard to overcome. But as Bob shows us this week from John 4, leading people to Christ can be done gently and often begins with simple questions.
It wasn’t John the Baptist’s finest hour. He had bravely called Herod into account for his immorality and was languishing in prison. In his cell he begins to doubt. This man who had pointed his finger to Jesus and said, “There he is; he’s the one,” now sends messengers to Jesus to ask, “Are you the one?” He has [reasonable] doubts. How Jesus handles these doubts is helpful for us as we minister to people with doubts and wrestle with our own doubts.
Josiah helps us think through a how undeserved grace. Jesus heals a paralytic by the pool at Bethesda, but unlike most healings, the man showed little or no faith, and little or no gratitude. What lessons can we learn about Jesus and about his grace from this story?
Peter, a simple fisherman, probably had no idea what he was getting into when Jesus got into his boat to speak to a crowd. After he had finished Jesus decided to perform an unexpected miracle, nearly turning the boat over by bringing in a miraculous catch of fish at an unexpected time of the day. Then he called Peter to leave everything behind (nets, boats, fish, and livelihood) and follow him. Peter didn’t see that coming and it changed his life forever. Jesus is a selfless, loving redeemer, a good shepherd, a friend of sinners, and a radically dangerous individual. If you invite him into your boat he will turn it upside down – are you ready for that?
What do zombies have to do with the Bible? Well, the Bible tells us that there are people who are alive but dead – alive physically but devoid of life spiritually. Jesus says that unless people are born again from above, from the Spirit, they won’t see or enter the kingdom of God. Dan explores John 3 and Jesus’ interaction with Nicodemus and what it means to be born again.
Jesus stood up in the synagogue and declared he was the one who was anointed to proclaim good news to the poor and freedom to the oppressed (Luke 4:16-30). How will he back up this claim? Teaching. And casting out demons. That’s how. This is a story that shapes our understanding of the world and of Jesus. What does it means to participate with him in the mission of God?
Have you ever asked yourself, “Are other people struggling with the same things that I am facing? Does anyone (including God) understand the difficulties that I encounter on a daily basis? Since he is God and I am a sinful human being, how could he truly understand?” These are questions that are answered in the real-life circumstances of Jesus.
Director of University Ministries Josiah Leuenberger helps us think through what it means to respond to Jesus’ call to follow him on the journey of discipleship as well as what it looks like for us to invite others to ‘come and see’ for themselves who Jesus is.