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!”
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.
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.
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 .
Having been in Nursing Administration most of my life, I’ve interviewed and hired a lot of staff. And the one thing I always looked for was a good work ethic. A first-rate candidate needed to be hardworking, thorough, and patient…while someone who seemed inconstant, lax, and careless would be looked over for the position. Proverbs 12:24 tells us that, “Diligent hands will rule but laziness ends in slave labor.” Developing a good work ethic will get you far, not only in your career, but your life.
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.
Paul wasn’t legally, socially, or personally obligated to anyone…but he willingly relinquished his freedom for the sake of winning others to Christ Jesus. And as Believers, we too are free…but that freedom was bought with a heavy price. And in realization of that mind-boggling freedom…it compels us to submission…first, to yielding our will to His… and then, to thinking of others before ourselves. Yes, we are free indeed…but in love, we need to submit one to another.