A man goes to his friend’s house at midnight looking for bread…but is told to “Go away!” In this story, his friend appears not to care about the man’s dilemma. Likewise for us, there are times when it appears to be a shrouding of God’s friendship for us…or at least times when we go through seasons of spiritual confusion. The Lord will seem like a distant, unkind and uncaring friend that won’t answer our calls. It’s during those times of spiritual confusion that we need to hold steadfast to what we already know…that God is faithful, trustworthy, and true. And we need to keep doing the right things…reading our Bible, praying, and maintaining our walk…all with tenacity. For later on in the story, because of the man’s stubborn persistence…his friend did get up and give him bread.
Imagine being in the crowd around Jesus and seeing people being healed and set free…but yet refusing to acknowledge His divinity, showing no confidence in His power, and doubting the promise of eternal life. No wonder Jesus placed such emphasis on the sin of unbelief. Unbelief blinds our minds and causes our heart to become calloused. This lack of faith can hinder even the most righteous Believer at times…but just like the sick child’s father in Mark 9:24, we too can ask Jesus to,” Help me overcome my unbelief.”
You’re not just an acquaintance to God. You’re not some face He sees in the crowd, and recognizes you as someone He should know… but can’t remember your name. No, God knows you intimately…He knows you inside and out…He knows every thought you’ve had, every tear you’ve cried, every prayer you’ve prayed. But most importantly, He knows your name. For you are that very special to Him. And in response, what can we say but, “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.”
In Biblical times, clay jars were used to store items of importance. In Jeremiah 32:14-15, the Lord tells Jeremiah to buy his cousin’s field and take the documents and place them in a clay jar. “For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.” This promise that they would return to their homeland would take 70 years of exile in Babylon before it would come about…but these important documents would be kept safe until then…safe within a fragile clay jar. And if you’re a Believer, you have the great power and Almighty energy of God within your clay jar…your body, placed there by God for safe-keeping.
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!”
Do you know where you’ll go when you die? If you’re a Believer, do you have the trust to confidently state, “Yes, I’m going to heaven.” Or do you stand there today just hoping you’ll make it? This verse should then refute that gnawing uncertainty in your mind once and for all. For when we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we are reconciled and placed in right standing with God. And the peace brought about by this reconciliation to our Heavenly Father overshadows any doubt or fear our minds may have. So stand now in faith and righteousness through Jesus Christ our Lord and be assured of your eternal life.
Lepers were the most reviled of human beings in Jesus’ time. They were considered utterly unclean physically and spiritually. They were shunned and outcast…required to avoid others, staying at least six feet away from anyone, and forced to yell “unclean! unclean!” when approaching crowds. So what gave this leper the brazenness to walk right up to Jesus in the middle of a crowd and ask for healing? He knew he was breaking every law in Leviticus 13. But he also knew deep in his soul that this man he had watched from afar could cure him of this devastating disease. He took a huge risk, but he had nothing to lose, and everything to gain if Jesus would oblige. The crowd was probably stunned by the sight of this leper dropping at the feet of Jesus…but they were even more startled to watch with their own eyes the skin on this man return to normal when Jesus touched him.