Disciples in the Storms of Life (The Gospel According to John)

As we continue on with the book of John, we gain more insight into Jesus’ personality, His relationship with God, and His mission. Let us remember that when we get to know Jesus, we get to know God.
 
Pastor Serge reminds us, “It is your relationship with Jesus that will determine the quality of your relationship with God.” Have you read the book of John? Were you able to discover more about Jesus?
 
Let us continue on to John chapter 6. The chapter opens with another miracle of Jesus: the feeding of the 5,000 (Note: this count does not include women and children).
 
The crowd went in search of Jesus and wanted more of the bread that they had before. They were only interested in the physical bread that Jesus provided because it filled their physical need.
 
Jesus replied to them by saying “26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.”
 
They missed the point that a miracle (or a sign) has been made.  When Jesus said this to them, the crowd slowly dispersed. They were more focused on filling their physical need and not their spiritual need.

Importance of Relationship with God

This is the penetrating declaration of Jesus that people like religion but not the personal relationship with God.
Jesus wants us to realize the importance of our spiritual needs more than our physical needs. He is not a genie, giving us whatever we ask for. Yes, Jesus can provide all that we need.
 
But Jesus wants us to look beyond our physical needs. He wants us to realize that we are all sinners and that we need the spiritual food that He is offering to us.
 
Jesus asked the Twelve if they too will leave Him. But Simon Peter answered “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
 
(John6:68) Peter was able to say this because he personally experienced the power of Jesus when they saw Him walk on water and calmed the storm. Let this also ring true in our lives – only Jesus has the power to give us life.

Spiritual Reality

This is the difference between having God in your heart and just going through religion – you will be blind to the miracles that happen in your life. You may be able to see the end result of the miracles but you will not be able to grasp the spiritual purpose or reason why God allowed them to happen.

Another wonderful miracle that took place in Chapter 6 cemented Peter and the disciples’ faith in Jesus. This was when they saw Jesus walk on the water. Peter himself walked on the water because of Jesus. And despite the strong wind and big waves, Jesus was able to calm the storm.

This event was used by God to teach the disciples a deeper spiritual reality. What does it suggest to you that indeed Jesus was able to walk on water? What is its impact on you? John uses the word ‘signs’ to indicate the miracles that Jesus has done.
 
The signs contain spiritual truths that need to be conveyed to us. What is the implication to you with this event: The disciples were stuck in a storm in the middle of the lake, it was very dark and the boat was shaken by the wind and water, but Jesus came and saved them.
 
This is a picture of what happens to those who follow Jesus Christ: you get into trouble; you go against the wind when you obey the will of God for your life. But take heart because Jesus is with you.

Jesus as our Intercessor (Matthew 14:22-23)

After sending the disciples away and dismissing the crowd, Jesus went up to the mountain to pray. The mountain is a symbol of authority and Jesus going up to the mountain to pray is Him interceding for His disciples during that time. This also goes to the believers in this time.
 
Jesus is praying for you. He is your intercessor, praying for you as you follow His will and His direction – and because of that, we are fighting the storms of life. This shows how Jesus values his relationship with each one of us. Are you in a storm right now? Come to Jesus, your intercessor.

Begins and ends in Faith (Matthew 14:24)

The disciples were made to go on the boat despite their not wanting to leave the place yet. This meant that it was the will of God to put them into the boat and be in that particular situation.
 
They were filled with fear because the wind was against them. They were in trouble because they obeyed God. They would have been able to say no to God’s plan and avoided problems, but whether you like it or not, everyone encounters this.
 
You do have a choice though: to face it alone or to face it with God. Whether you are a believer or not, and whatever situation you are in, you will have troubles.
 
The advantage and promise from God are that when you have Him in your life and when you encounter trouble, He will give you the strength to overcome and to prevail over the troubles in your life.
 
The lives of Moses, Daniel, and Paul are only a few of how His people went through hardships the moment they trusted and obeyed God.
 
But what if they didn’t obey God? Moses wouldn’t have been the one to save the Israelites and to part the Red Sea, Daniel wouldn’t have to be placed in Lion’s den, and Paul wouldn’t have been through so much persecution.
 
But these people chose to obey God and they were able to experience the presence, faithfulness, and goodness of God in their lives.
 
We may be able to say we know Jesus this time, but when we are in the middle of the biggest trial in our lives and we still hold on to Jesus and continue to trust in Him, we will know Him on a much deeper level.

God Sees You

In the middle of the Sea of Galilee, everything was very dark (John 6:17). The wind was blowing hard and the waves were beating the boat. The disciples felt great fear. But Jesus saw them.
 
This goes to show that no matter how dark or bleak your situation is God can see you.  God can see every event in your life right now. When everything feels so overwhelming and so bad, we tend to forget that God is looking at us – He is with us.
 
This should be an opportunity for us where we must keep on holding on to God. Even in the darkest moment of your life, scripture says God can see you.
 
And when you continue to hold on to Him despite being in the dark for so long, you can express your love and affection to God. Psalm 139:7-10 is a beautiful way of saying that there is no place where we can hide away from God.

Why does God take so long to answer a prayer?

Yes, God can provide everything that we need. Yes, God can hear us and see us. But sometimes, God answers our prayers with ‘wait’.
 
Why is that? Why does God make us wait when He has the power to answer our prayers right away? Maybe this is because God wants to bring us to the very end of our strength so that we can fully (100%) place our trust in the Lord.
 
This is evident in the case of Lazarus. He had to die before Jesus came to visit him and raise him from the dead. God will not put us into a situation that we cannot overcome. And when we are in a difficult situation, He will provide us a way out. (1 Cor 10:13)

Jesus knows and understands us (Matthew 14:25)

Jesus walked on the same course the boat with the disciples had taken. This shows that Jesus understands our situation. He feels what we feel and He experienced what we experience.
 
He can truly understand what you are going through right now even if no one does. Jesus came to His disciples in the darkest moment of the night, and at the darkest time of the disciples’ life.
 
They were scared, miserable, and exhausted (not knowing if they are going to survive), and Jesus came just in time. Trust in Him that He will be there for you at your lowest.
 
And when you feel like all is lost, Jesus will reveal His power and glory in ways you can’t imagine.

The perverse heart of man John 6:19

The disciples’ reaction when they first saw Jesus shows the perversity of the hearts of men. Because of man’s perverse heart, we tend to push God away when He comes to us in the storm.
 
Sometimes, we don’t realize that our prayers have already been answered because they were answered in ways we didn’t expect. If our hearts are not open, we will end up rejecting God’s answer to our prayers.
 
Jesus consoled them by saying “take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”(Matt 14:27) This is truly comforting especially when you have a personal relationship with Jesus.
 
When you know Jesus, you will not be afraid. You have hope in Him. He came here to redeem us from our sins. He will not abandon His people.
 
Peter has been with Jesus for 2-3 years and he was able to grasp the spiritual truth behind the miracles. He saw that Jesus was different, that He has power. Peter was able to cry out “Lord, save me!” for He knew that only Jesus can save him.

The Declaration

In the present times, we go through a lot of problems. Let us not allow these problems, worries, and hurt to blur our vision, to make us lose our focus. Let us continue to fix our eyes on Jesus for He is the only one we need.
The book of John continually declares that Jesus is truly the Son of God. The crowd of 5,000 did not see this because they were more focused on their physical need.
 
Peter was able to realize this after they have seen the signs that Jesus had done. He was able to grasp the truth that only Jesus has the words of eternal life.
 
The disciples were able to declare that Jesus is the Son of God. Let us create a relationship with Jesus. If you already do, let it not stay that way but make it a priority to deepen your relationship and broaden your knowledge about Jesus. 

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