Living for Christ is hard…there’s no way around it. The moment you say “Yes” to Jesus, the world labels you as “One of those crazy religious people”. But it’s by those troubles we encounter that we learn perseverance and are forged into a willing vessel for God . And with each difficulty, we go from wounded to winner. As Oswald Chambers once said, “Do we appreciate the miraculous salvation of Jesus Christ enough to be our utmost for His Highest – our best for His glory?” Yes, the way is narrow and filled with difficulties, but just look where it leads.
In these scriptures we see the story of Jesus walking on the water and the disciples initial reaction. The disciples had been rowing for hours…fighting the rising winds and rough water. They were exhausted. With heads down, they were battling to just keep moving forward. So when Jesus approached the boat, fatigue and stress blinded them to be able to even recognize Jesus…irrationally, they imagined that it was a ghost rising from the waves. The same thing will happen to us when we fight the storms of life alone. Heads down, we power through, battling to keep moving ahead, but becoming more and more drained. It’s then that the combination of stress, anxiety, and exhaustion often leads to unfounded fears that overtake us. It’s also at that time, we suddenly come to the end of ourselves and finally cry out, “Lord, I can’t do this!”
Jesus is the Great Overcomer… He who has defeated death, triumphed over the grave, and conquered sin, tells us in this scripture that adversity will only strengthen our spiritual backbone if we won’t give up. Jesus, the Great Overcomer, has forged the way for us to become overcomers too…to be victors not victims…winners not wounded.
Bottom line…you can’t trust people. They’ll say one thing, but do the opposite. They’ll promise things they can never deliver on. They’ll declare their love and then turn around and break your heart. Mankind is just that…humans with lots of flaws that disappoint each other daily. And that’s difficult when we demand perfection from those who can’t achieve it….for it leads only to disillusionment. And we need to be careful that disillusionment doesn’t cause us to become cynical, critical, and bitter. Bottom line…you can’t trust people – but you can trust God. You can fully trust God with your life, your future, your everything.
Jesus is predicting His betrayal by Judas in quoting Psalm 41:9. In the span of three short years, Jesus fulfilled each prophecy that had been written about the coming Messiah. From His selection of the apostles…to knowing full well the impending treachery of Judas…Jesus carried out His plan and purpose wholly .
Jesus always lead by example. After He had washed the disciples feet, He instructed them to model what they had just witnessed. For Jesus had demonstrated to them in simple terms what it was like to be a servant. I can imagine after three years of traveling with Jesus and witnessing countless miracles, the disciples were feeling pretty full of themselves…so having Jesus wash their feet was probably not only confusing, but embarrassing to all of them. But by modeling true servant hood in its unassuming and unpretentious way, Jesus illustrated humility to all mankind.
The story comes out of Matthew 21:42 where Jesus is quoting this Scripture to the chief priests and elders of the Temple…whom were not too happy about Him accusing them of rejecting the Messiah…namely Himself, Jesus. Continuing in the next verse, Jesus countered with, “Therefore, I tell you that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” Jesus was offering the gift of salvation to Gentiles…building His Church from those willing to accept Him as Savior. And as Believers in Christ, we are the Church. To paraphrase Ephesians 2:20, We the Church, are God’s people, built on the foundation of all martyred apostles and prophets, with Jesus being the chief cornerstone.