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Sinking…

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake. But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’ Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’ (Matthew 14:22-33, NRSV)

Why did Peter sink?

Jesus called him out of the boat and as he looked at Jesus he stepped out of the boat and walked on the water.

But when Peter noticed the wind and his focus shifted he started to sink.

Peter took his focus off of Jesus. If we focus on Jesus, we will walk on water.

Don’t doubt, just focus on Jesus!

 

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Where were you?

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? “Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?— when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped’? “Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, so that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it? It is changed like clay under the seal, and it is dyed like a garment. Light is withheld from the wicked, and their uplifted arm is broken. “Have you entered into the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this. “Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness, that you may take it to its territory and that you may discern the paths to its home? Surely you know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great! “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war? What is the way to the place where the light is distributed, or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth? “Who has cut a channel for the torrents of rain, and a way for the thunderbolt, to bring rain on a land where no one lives, on the desert, which is empty of human life, to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground put forth grass? “Has the rain a father, or who has begotten the drops of dew? From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the hoarfrost of heaven? The waters become hard like stone, and the face of the deep is frozen. “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth? “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, so that a flood of waters may cover you? Can you send forth lightnings, so that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’? Who has put wisdom in the inward parts, or given understanding to the mind? Who has the wisdom to number the clouds? Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens, when the dust runs into a mass and the clods cling together? (Job 38:1-38, NRSV)

Where were you?

And really what can we do without the help of God? Nothing really good…

God has done so much for us, that doesn’t mean we will always understand the circumstances we or our loved ones go through, but God has it all under control.

And this passage reminded me of this song:

I thought up all the questions that my human mind could bring
And laid them out before the Lord and demanded a reason for these things
I asked about inequality and the success of evil men
But what was I to say to Him, when He answered with this question

Where were you when I split the sky and the sea
Where were you when I taught the lion to roar
Where were you when I made electricity
Fall from the sky in the middle of a thunderstorm
Where were you

And I had no response, I had no reply
‘Cause the One who spoke and is the truth opened up my eyes
And I laid my time of doubt at the feet of the infinite
But what was left for me to say when He answered with this question

Where were you when I split the sky and the sea
Where were you when I taught the lion to roar
Where were you when I made electricity
Fall from the sky in the middle of a thunderstorm

Where were you when I put stars in the sky
Where were you when I taught the eagle to fly
Where were you when I made that little child
Look just like her mom but she had her Daddy’s eyes
Where were you

Where were you
Where were you

Where were you when I split the sky and the sea
Where were you when I taught the lion to roar
Where were you when I made electricity
Fall from the sky in the middle of a thunderstorm

Where were you when I put stars in the sky
Where were you when I taught the eagle to fly
Where were you when I made that little child
Look just like her mom but she had her Daddy’s eyes
Where were you

Songwriters
TONY REFLEX / RIKK AGNEW

 

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doubted…

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20, NRSV)

This is the passage of text most of us know as the great commission. This is where Jesus sends the disciples into the world to make more disciples.

Jesus sends the 11 into the world to share what they have learned. And through the sending of the 11, He also sends us into the world.

And many of us doubt that we are called to go and be a part of God’s plan in the world. We would say we were part of the some who doubted here on the mountain with Jesus. But what if I told you that the part of the verse “but some doubted.” maybe a bad translation? The Greek here is οἱ δὲ ἐδίστασαν.

οἱ is a masculine plural article or they.

δὲ is a conjunction meaning but or and.

ἐδίστασαν is the third person plural aorist active indicative for to doubt.

So the part of the sentence all together is but they doubted. Of course, some say that the οἱ is redundant and unneeded because the they is implied in the form of the word for doubt and therefore should be translated some. But the other side of this is this is not done in any other part of the New Testament. This is the only time this particular construction is found. And we have to explain why the 11 disciples would have walked with Jesus and witnessed everything He did and when they finally see Him resurrected they doubt what they are seeing.

So how is it possible they worshiped and they doubted? Well, we have to get beyond that doubt is the opposite of faith. Doubt is the opposite of certainty. And wouldn’t you be uncertain about what was going on in front of you at that moment on the mountain? It doesn’t mean you don’t believe, it doesn’t mean you can’t worship, it just means you don’t get it and you have questions. Questions are not bad, they lead us to discover and to investigate.

So don’t fall away from doubting and questioning, lean into the call God has on your life, knowing you are in good company when you wonder about it and question it.

 

Here is a wonderful cartoon about this:

 

 

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Seeing isn’t believing

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:19-31, NRSV)

When it was evening that day…

So if you read the first 18 verses of John 20 you will see what day it is. The day Jesus rose from the dead. Mary Magdelene was at the tomb and told the disciples what had happened, Peter and John went to see and went home. Then later that night the 10 disciples are locked in a room. Judas is dead, and Thomas is nowhere to be found. He is out while the others cower in fear. But when the 10 do see Thomas they tell him what happened and he wants nothing more than what the 10 got. To see the wounds. Becuase they did not acknowledge Jesus until He showed them His hands and His side.

But when Thomas sees Jesus, Jesus tells him to put his finger in His hands and his hand in His side, but he doesn’t. He simply proclaims, “My Lord and my God!”

But does he have to see Him to believe He rose from the dead?

Because as they great line from the Santa Clause goes, “Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing.”

Jesu because we see something doesn’t mean it is real or true. I have seen a lot of magic tricks, David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear. Did it actually disappear? I don’t believe it did, it was an optical illusion.

And I’ve never seen Jesus or God, but I believe they are always there for me.

So don’t be unbelieving, but believe!

 

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Worship and doubt

170109Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20, NRSV)

Is it possible to doubt and worship at the same time?

Verse 17 says “When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” Funny thing is the word for some is not in the original Greek. But some scholars say because of the construction of the sentence it is implied. But in all other instances of this in extra-biblical writing, as this construction is not found anywhere else in the bible, the some is never added. So the disciples gathered on the mountain, and they saw Jesus and the worshiped and they doubted what they saw.

But this should not be a problem for us. Because they were still worshipping even though they were wondering how what they were seeing could possibly be. So next time you wonder or question, don’t worry, just hold on to faith, and hope and keep on worshipping!

 
 

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no more…

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:19-31, NRSV)

This is doubting Thomas Sunday. The Sunday of the church year where we read the passage above and hear how Thomas did not believe. Because doubt is the opposite of belief, right?

Well actually if you read the text closely, you will see that Thomas asked for no more than the rest of the disciples already got.

Jesus stood among the disciples in the locked room and said, “Peace be with you.” And then He showed them His hands and His side. And Thomas said unless he sees the wounds in His hands and places his hand in His side, he will not believe. And the reading said that the disciples didn’t rejoice at the presence of Jesus until after He had shown them His hands and His side. So they got what Thomas wanted, so why is he the one labeled a doubter?

And Jesus doesn’t actually say, “Do not doubt, but believe.” Jesus says, “Do not be unbelieving but believing.” We have to believe.

So remember that Thomas asked for no more than the others already got, and we can ask God for things, but we have to be ready to believe when He comes through, and He always will, as long as it is in line with His will for you!

 

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unbelief

When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place. He came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house.” And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:53-58, NRSV)

The people of Nazareth could not receive His miracles because they did not believe He could do those things. They knew who He was and they were unable to think of Him in a different way.

They didn’t doubt that He had the power, they did not believe it.

Doubt is not having hope in something, it is not the opposite of belief.

I believe, help my unbelief we see in the gospels. Doubt leads us to wonder and question and deeper inspection of something. Unbelief closes our minds and keeps us locked in our box.

Do not be unbelieving but question and dig deeper and allow Him to do wonderful things in your life.

 

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