Posted by: forfreedomalone | 02/08/2018

Rescue, Relationship or Blessing?

I’d like to go back to the story of the disciples in the boat on the Sea of Galilee again, today and look at one detail; the fact that Mark tells us that Jesus would have gone on to the other side without stopping.
 
“Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea and would have passed them by.” (Mark 6:48)
 
Have you ever wondered why Jesus would have gone on to the other side, when there was a storm, his disciples were terrified and crying out? This crying out, by the way, is not a polite, “Excuse me”, this is that deep throated, screaming one does when one is having a nightmare. This is the “cry” of terror. So, if HIS disciples, not just any old chaps in a storm, were in such a state why would he even have thought to just go on? Why bother going at all, if that was his intention?
 
The key word to help us understand what Jesus was up to is, “disciples”. Jesus is discipling these young men, that is, he is training them in his ways. Discipline has become a dirty word; especially to those who think it is the same thing as punishment, which it is not; but Jesus knows that they need training in the ways of the Kingdom and he is teaching them. But what is he teaching them?
 
Right off the bat we can see that he is saying, “Even though I did not set out with you, I will come to you and
I am greater than any storm”, but he is now testing them to see what they will do in their storm. Will they drown? or will they invite Jesus into their time of trouble? We know, of course, that they invite him into the trouble and that he calms their storm. But the inviting they are doing is, what I call, “The Invitation to Rescue”. They need rescuing and they can see that Jesus is the chap to do it. There he is, larger than live and twice as lovely, walking on top of everything which is terrifying them. He’s the one to rescue them.
 
There is another story in the Bible where it is said that he intended to go on, we find it in Luke 24.
 
After the resurrection two disciples are walking together to Emmaus talking about everything which has happened, when Jesus appears with them and walks the 7 mile journey with them, teaching them everything concerning him from the Scripture of Moses and the Prophets. When they arrive where they were going Luke says, “He acted as though he wanted to go farther”. Why “act” as though you want to go farther?
 
He acted as though he was going to pass by, just as he did before, to test them to see what they would do. This pair did not need rescuing, they did not need to cry out to him in distress; but would they cry out to him anyway and beg him to remain with them? This was, what I call, “The Invitation to Deep Relationship”.
 
We issue “The Invitation to Rescue”, to Christ, at the Cross. We need rescuing; from sin and death and no one else can rescue us; but once we have been rescued we, like the two disciples, walk on. We are safe on dry land now, we have other disciples to walk with, we keep learning and we know who Jesus is and what he can do, we continue on the road together convinced we have the whole story, but aware that the way is a bit of a plod.
 
It was only when he was pressed by, “The Invitation to Deep Relationship”, at the end of their journey, that he sat down with them, broke bread and opened their eyes. Jesus said, in Revelation 3:20, ” Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him and he with Me.” He entered the inn with them and sat at table, taking bread and saying the blessing; he entered into a deep heart relationship with them, when he was invited so to do.
 
Several things are worthy of note:-
When the Gospels refer to “disciples” it is not, in every case, referring to the 12 who became apostles, it is referring to those who followed Jesus, of whom there were many.
These two may well have been in that boat. We know Peter was there, because we are told so and we know these two knew Peter because they sought him out on their return to Jerusalem. It is possible that they had issued “The Invitation to Rescue”, that stormy night.
 
Although they knew who Jesus was, they did not know him. Rescue does not equal relationship.
Notice the change in them, once they have had their eyes opened. They went back that very night, despite the lateness of the hour, the whole 7 miles to Jerusalem. Now, that walk was easy, there was no more sorrow, no more plod, now they had joy in their hearts and they were propelled along by the new relationship and its power in their lives.
 
Those who sought rescue knew the pre-Cross Jesus, those who sought relationship knew the post-Cross Jesus. He desires to rescue us when what we need is rescuing, but he even more desires to give us the newness of life which is his to give. We do not receive the newness of life at the Cross, we receive that when we enter into deep, personal, relationship with the living Christ who meets us on our way and whom we press into staying.
 
There were several men in the boat who experienced rescue; there were two men on the road who experienced relationship, but we are only ever told of one who would not let go until he received the blessing of God. The blessing of God, for us today, is the Holy Spirit; given on the day of Shavuot, the day of the giving of the Law, which the Jews see as the wedding ring marrying God to his people. The Holy Spiritual wedding ring which binds us to him, in intimate and everlasting union.
 
Do we seek rescue, relationship or blessing?

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