Jesus had just left his home town where (vs) He marveled because of their unbelief, He as just a carpenter’s son after all, how could He be so wise and do such marvelous works? It was from there that He began sending His disciples out two by two, He’d given them power over unclean spirits and instructed them to leave with nothing and rely on God for provision, which they did without question. But then one of the many strange stories that have me shaking my head, until I look in the mirror.
The disciples were in the inner circle, they’d seen His miracles, they’d no doubt felt His frustration when the folks from His hometown rejected His message and were offended, they were willing workers in the gospel movement and are our heroes of the faith for many reasons. They were there that day when Jesus had greater than 5,000 people sit down on the lawn and eat to their full from 5 loaves of bread and two fishes, and then took up the remnants of the meal to the tune of 12 baskets of bread! Glory to God what a service!
Jesus then sent the disciples in a ship to Bethsaida while He went to the mountain to pray. As evening comes the disciples were in the middle of the sea in high winds, and as they fight the storm they notice someone walking on the water, and they cried out in fear. That doesn’t surprise me. They’re human after all and that no doubt was a pretty scary time. It’s what happens next that bothers me.
Jesus begins to talk to them and says “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” (Vs. 50) He gets into the boat, the storm stops and they’re amazed, but they don’t know its Jesus, and then the scripture says its because (vs. 52) they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
The mirror flipped on me. How many times have I seen the miracles of God, witnessed them first hand in my life, watched God do the undoable, and then later sit in fear because of circumstances that are beyond my control. How many times have I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart and not recognize that it was the voice of Jesus? Too many…
It was only bread.
I hate the thought that my heart is hardened. I want to believe that I am tender and pliable for the Holy Spirit to do a work in, but then struggles come and I sit in fear having the many miracles of grace and mercy in the recesses of my mind, ready to draw upon for strength, but it’s only bread. That was yesterday, this is today. Sad and true. My heroes of the faith are just like me. The present storm had taken their mind to place where they failed to recognize the voice of Jesus until they reached the safety of the shore.
God knows I’m human. He knows when I’m in the middle of the storm my attention span is short. He’d like me to be more faithful, but His word reminds me that it’s not the first time His people have let Him down. The question is, what are you going to do when the waves stop, or the dust settles?
And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore. And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him, And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.
Get to work! God understands our human nature when the storms rage around us, but when the waves die down and the dust settles it’s time to remember that it wasn’t just bread. It was the Bread of Life making provision for our way and there are countless other people who need to see that God can bring them through too! When the disciples made it through the storm they hit the streets running, and didn’t just give lip service for the miracles of Christ, they brought the people to Him. And as many as touched Him were made whole. How many? As many… numbers are nothing with Jesus. 5,000-5 million… God can!