Jun 25, 2009
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?” Mark 8:21
My friend Bob Horner refers to Jesus as “the Master Reminder.” And that is good, because we are so doubting and forgetful. No matter how often Jesus met the needs of the people who came to Him when He was here on earth, His first disciples feared they would somehow be left in need. After witnessing miracles, they failed to understand the greater meaning the Lord wanted them to remember.
On a journey across the Sea of Galilee, the disciples realized they had forgotten to bring bread and were talking about it. Jesus asked them, “Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?” (Mark 8:17–18). Then He reminded them that when He fed five thousand people with five loaves, the disciples had collected twelve basketfuls of leftover pieces. And when He fed four thousand with seven loaves, they filled seven baskets with leftovers. Then “He said to them, ‘Do you still not understand?’” (v. 21).
His body was broken for us.
The Lord’s miraculous provision for people’s physical needs pointed to the greater truth—that He was the Bread of Life and that His body would be “broken” for them and for us.
Every time we eat the bread and drink the cup during the Lord’s Supper, we are reminded of our Lord’s great love and provision for us.
In the Lord’s Supper, Jesus left us a great reminder of His sacrifice. Read about it in Matthew 26:17–30; Luke 22:14–20; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26.
Communion is the Lord’s reminder to us of His love and provision.
In this busy and impersonal high-tech world, it seems easier than ever to ignore Jesus Christ. We are led to believe that every challenge can be met quickly and self-sufficiently, often through some online resource. After all, if we want to keep our eyes on the future, why seek a Savior from 2,000 years ago?
As we look to ourselves more and more for answers, we become increasingly susceptible to a dangerous trap—the idea that we can handle life on our own and don’t need Jesus. Nothing could be further from the truth.
All through the Bible, we see God taking the initiative in the salvation of man. None of us who are saved have sought Him out; we’ve just responded to the ways He has drawn us to Him (John 6:44). God made the first move: He chose to save us, and then our response followed.
Today’s passage underscores our need for Jesus—it clearly teaches that the Father gave His Son so we might be saved. Without Jesus, we would be utterly without hope of eternal life and would perish instead.
Now think about the Lord’s parting instructions to His disciples. Did He say to sit idly by and simply mention His name to anyone who walked past? No! He said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). He wants the good news to go forth because He is still seeking the lost today.
Our omniscient, omnipotent Savior can meet needs better than the most capable among us. If you don’t know Jesus, He’s looking for you (Luke 19:10). If you do know Him, won’t you share His great news with the world?
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” (Psalm 37:23)
There is nothing more satisfying to a believer than to be living in the will of God for his life. And it is good to know that God actually delights in leading us along that way which He is laying out for us. There are numerous Bible verses to this effect. One of the most familiar is “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:6).
That verse gives us a basic principle for knowing His way. We need to seek His leading in everything! Of course, it may not be an easy path. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
Even if the path seems difficult at times, it is a good path, because it honors Him. “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3). He is the good Shepherd, and if we lose the way for a time, He can bring us back. As the prophet said: “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).
An important check to be sure we are not drifting far off the path is to be sure we don’t disobey or question His written Word. “Order my steps in thy word,” we should pray each day (Psalm 119:133). Then He promises: “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).
It may not be an audible voice, but we can hear. Jesus promised: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Then we can say, as the ancient servant testified: “I being in the way, the LORD led me” (Genesis 24:27). HMM
Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. —1 Peter 4:16
The essence of spiritual worship is to love supremely, to trust confidently, to pray without ceasing and to seek to be Christlike and holy and to do all the good we can for Christ’s sake. How impossible for anyone to hinder that kind of “practice.” As soon as our normal churchgoing religion is interdicted by government decree or made for the time impossible by circumstances, we can retire to the sanctuary of our own hearts and worship God acceptably till He sees fit to change the circumstances and allow us to resume the outward practice of our faith. But the fire has not gone out on the altar of our heart in the meantime and we have learned the sweet secret of submission and trust, a lesson we could not have learned any other way.
If we find ourselves irked by external hindrances, be sure we are victims of our own self-will. Nothing can hinder the heart that is fully surrendered and quietly trusting, because nothing can hinder God.
Lord, I know that nothing can hinder the worship of my heart except the coldness of my heart! May I remain fully surrendered and quietly trusting.” Find me faithful today, I pray. Amen.
Yield yourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead. (Romans 6:13)
I know there are people who hear me preach regularly who will never consider changing their way of living. They will go “underground” before they will do that!
Our situation is not an isolated case. There are millions of men and women with an understanding of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, who are still not willing to receive and commit themselves to Him whom the very angels and stars and rivers receive. They hesitate and they delay because they know God is asking the abdication of their own selfish little kingdom and interests.
This is the tragedy of mankind, my brethren! We have rejected Him from our lives because we must have our own way. But until Jesus Christ is sincerely received, there can be no knowledge of salvation, nor any understanding of the things of God.
The little, selfish, sinful man rejects the Son of God. While he is still enumerating the things he deserves, the Son of God stands outside.
My brethren, I repeat: this is the great tragedy of mankind!
Poor souls! forget not the present Saviour, who bids you look unto him and be saved. He could heal you at once, but you prefer to wait for an angel and a wonder. To trust him is a sure way to every blessing, and he is worthy of the most implicit confidence; but unbelief makes you prefer the cold porches of Bethesda to the warm bosom of his love O that the Lord may turn his eye upon the multitudes who are in this case today; may he forgive the slights which they have put upon his divine power, and call them by that sweet constraining voice, to rise from the bed of despair, and in the energy of faith take up their bed and walk.