Jesus is the Answer to the Pop Quiz (10/5/14)

Posted by on Oct 8, 2014 in Sermons | 0 comments

Pastor Jim’s sermon on October 5 continued our at Jesus as our Messiah, Glorious King, and Provider.  This morning, we looked at Jesus as our Shepherd who protects us through all of life’s storms.
 
A recording of the sermon from the 11AM service is below.  Click the “Play” button, scroll down, and follow along as you listen.

 

 


 

This morning’s Scripture was from John 6:15-21.  Open the following drop down to follow along…

 

John 6:16-21

John 6:16-21 16

16 That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him.

17 But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum.

18 Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough.

19 They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified,

20 but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!”

21 Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!

Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

Pop Quiz

What emotions do the words “Pop Quiz” conjure up?  Chances are you feel things like fear, regret (I’m not prepared), pessimism (I’m going to fail!).  Your palms start to sweat.  Your heart starts pounding.

But what about words such as “payment past due” or “the doctor needs to speak to you” or “error reading hard drive: Abort, Retry, Fail”? Life always throws unexpected problems at you.  You’re never prepared.

 

The Feeding of the 5000

Before our passage,  Jesus had just finished feeding about 25,000 people with five barley loaves and two fish.  And even better than that, there were 12 baskets full of leftover food.  If you’re a disciple, you’ve got to be thinking “Hey!  Being around this Jesus guy is pretty cool!”

 

Storm on the Sea

Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee

Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee

Our passage in John 6 tells the story of when the disciples encountered a “pop quiz.”  After witnessing the miracle of the feeding of the 5000, Jesus commands the disciples to get into the boat without Him.  The disciples (experienced fishermen) head out across the lake but they run into a Pop Quiz.

As happens frequently in that region, a storm unexpectedly dropped down on the lake.  Because of the mountains surrounding the “sea” of Galilee (really more of a lake than a “sea”), storms and high winds can come out of nowhere and catch even experienced fishermen unaware.  The disciples were facing gale force or even hurricane force winds.  Matthew uses language equating this storm to an earthquake.  It happened that suddenly; out of nowhere.  Luke tells us that the boat was getting full of water.

Fishermen on the Sea of Galilee

Fishermen on the Sea of Galilee

Pop Quizzes like this bring on fear, panic, depression, even moments of self doubt. Our passage vividly describes the disciples’ fear:

  • Verse 17 : Darkness
  • Verse 18:  Rough seas
  • Verse 19:  They were TERRIFIED!

How do we react to these storms?  James 1:2-3 tells us that troubles are an opportunity for joy.  Joy?!?  How?  The more pop quizzes the teacher gives us, the better students we become.  We’re going to listen a little harder.  We’re going to study a little more.  We’re going to be better prepared.

Testing makes you tougher.  If you keep listening to the coach, it’s going to be OK.

Listen to the coach.  Listen to Jesus.  For any of life’s quiz, Jesus is the answer.

 

Go for a Walk

Why did Jesus walk on the water?  What was He saying by doing this?  Maybe it was something like:

You’ve watched me feed 25000 people.  You’ve heard my teaching.  Now look at what I can do.  What’s impossible for man, is possible with God.

God has called us to do the impossible.  He’s called us to go out into the world and make disciples!  To go up against those who want nothing to do with God.

God has called ordinary people- you and me.  He’s asking us to do the impossible, but He does the impossible through us.  Jesus is the answer.  He’s the answer over fear.

 

Why Were they Frightened?

The bible says that these disciples were frightened.  But these guys were experienced fishermen. They knew these waters.  They’ve been through storms like this before.  But yet, they were afraid.

If you take a close look at the text, you’ll see that they weren’t afraid until they saw Jesus walking on the water.  Their fear wasn’t so much in the waves and the water in the boat as it was of Jesus on the water!

God has called us to make disciples.  He’s given the churches instructions.

Who’s stopping us from fulfilling those commands? 

Us!  Our fear paralyzes us.

Any fear they might have had about the storm or of Jesus of walking on the water, turned into AWE when they see the power of Jesus.  Fear of God doesn’t mean to be scared of Him; it means to be in Awe of Him!   And when Jesus gets near the boat (verse 20) He says do not fear because I Am here.

I AM.

The original Greek says “do not fear because I Am.”  Jesus is claiming to be God!  Click on the following tabs and check out some other verses that identify God and Jesus as “I AM”…

The phrase “I Am” comes from the name YHWH (pronounced “Yahweh)  from which we get “Jehovah” or God.  When Jesus says “I AM here,” He’s saying God’s here.  God’s in control of this situation.

Click the other tabs and check out some places where God is identified as I AM…

In Exodus 3:13-14, when Moses stood before God, God called Himself “I AM”:

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” NIV

In John 8:58-59, here’s what Jesus said to the Jewish leaders when they challenged His authority:

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

Check out what it says in John 18:4-6 when the Temple Guards came to arrest Jesus…

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. NIV

In Acts 18:9-11, the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision:

“Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” NIV

 

Their fear turns into awe when they are struck by the presence of God.  As soon as the disciples welcome Him into their boat, they immediately arrive at their destination. Jesus didn’t stop the storm, He took the disciples out of it.

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas are in a Roman prison singing praises to God.  Jesus is the answer!  As they sang praises, their chains fell off and the cell was filled with light.  But then then they got up, moved forward and saved the Philippian jailer and his family.  Impossible!

Jesus is the answer.

When they had Christ, they could do the impossible.  Once Christ is welcomed in we can do the impossible.

When we are a child of God, WE have the living Christ with us.  WE can do the impossible!

 

John Wesley’s Quiz

John Wesley had a terrible ministry during his only two years in the US.  On his return trip to England, they ran into a hurricane.  Wesley was scared and was sure he was going to die.

But on the ship was a group of people around him; smiling, reciting the Psalms, and singing!  They were Moravians; German Lutherans who fostered a deeper faith through prayer and fellowship.

How can you have this kind of faith when the ship is going down?  They just kept praising God… over and over.  The Moravians were being faithful.  They were exercising awe.  Wesley was exercising fear.

When Wesley’s fear ran into the Moravian’s awe, it was as if John Wesley saw Jesus walking on the water towards that boat.  There are a lot of people on boats that are sinking.  Jesus is asking us to walk out to them and take their fear away and replace it with awe of God.

Check out John Wesley’s journal from Sunday January 25, 1736

Click here to learn more

Sunday, January 25, 1736 Wesley is on board a ship bound for America and observes the Moravians in the midst of life-threatening storms.

At seven I went to the Germans. I had long before observed the great seriousness of their behaviour. Of their humility they had given a continual proof, by performing those servile offices for the other passengers, which none of the English would undertake; for which they desired, and would receive no pay, saying, “it was good for their proud hearts,” and “their loving Saviour had done more for them.”

And every day had given them occasion of showing a meekness which no injury could move. If they were pushed, struck, or thrown down, they rose again and went away; but no complaint was found in their mouth. There was now an opportunity of trying whether they were delivered from the Spirit of fear, as well as from that of pride, anger, and revenge.

In the midst of the psalm wherewith their service began, the sea broke over, split the main-sail in pieces, covered the ship, and poured in between the decks, as if the great deep had already swallowed us up. A terrible screaming began among the English.

The Germans calmly sung on. I asked one of them afterwards, “Was you not afraid?” He answered, “I thank God, no.” I asked, “But were not your women and children afraid?” He replied, mildly, “No; our women and children are not afraid to die.”

From them I went to their crying, trembling neighbours, and pointed out to them the difference in the hour of trial, between him that feareth God, and him that feareth him not. At twelve the wind fell.

This was the most glorious day which I have hitherto seen.

God was in control during that storm.  God is with us during life’s pop quizzes.  Everything changes when we add Jesus into the mix and let Him into “the boat” of our lives.

  • Ask the adulterous woman who was about to be stoned (John 8:3-11)…
  • Ask the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-34) …
  • Ask Zacchaeus the tax collector (Luke 19:1-9)…

 

Life’s Pop Quizzes

Life’s storms test us.  But what do you do when a storm or “quiz” crashes into your life?  Do you stay in fear?  Or do you turn your fear into awe?  What do you look for?  Fear, or God?

Just before the events described in this passage, Jesus had fed 5000 men (not counting women and children), and there were twelve baskets of food left over.

What happened with those 12 baskets?

Could it be that these baskets were in the boat with the disciples as the storm raged?  Could it be that their fear was turned to awe when they saw these 12 baskets of food in that boat?

What reminders of God’s strength surround us when we are in the midst of a storm?

Let Jesus into your boat.  Look to the reminders of God’s power.  The baskets are sitting there!  Turn your fear to awe, and God will do the impossible through you.

Jesus is the answer!

 

Time for Your Quiz!

This quiz isn’t a matter of life or death; it doesn’t even count.  But give it a try as you reflect on what you’ve just heard/read…

 

 

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