And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? Mark 4:13 ESV
When I as a teenager we used to sing the Andre Crouch song, “Jesus is the Answer” with great abandon and joy. We were super confident that life was now simple and our challenges under control because we had met Jesus and He was our Savior. But now that fifty years have passed, I am discovering that the same Jesus who was the answer for my salvation has also been the Jesus who asks me some very uncomfortable questions, like today’s verse. “How will you understand?”
After five decades my answer is, “I have no idea Lord!” I am often baffled like Philip was when he asked Jesus, “We don’t know where you are going, How can we know the way?” Jesus rarely gives us an easy answer. He doesn’t outline three steps to healing, five keys to church growth or six choices leading to prosperity. Instead He comes each day and asks, “Which one was a neighbor? Will you also go away? Who do you say that I am? or Why are you weeping?”
Why does Jesus do that? My best guess is that when I know the answer, I will not be here any longer to tell you! But one morning when the mist is wiped clear from Heaven’s windows we are promised that will see our Jesus who asks every question and is Himself the answer; our Lord and our most intimate friend. That morning we will know as we are known and there we will see Him face to face!
For my younger readers who likely have no clue as to who Andre Crouch is I am posting a link to a live performance. I was blessed to have the chance to see He along with his sister Sandra and the band in Phoenix in 1972. This YouTube video doesn’t really convey the tremendous energy faith hope (and volume!) that ruled during those live concerts. Have a blessed day all.
L ord, if it’s really you,” said Peter, “tell me to come to you on the water.” – “Come on, then,” replied Jesus. Peter stepped down from the boat and did walk on the water, making for Jesus. But when he saw the fury of the wind he panicked and began to sink, calling out, “Lord save me!” Matthew 14:28-30 Phillips
One of the strongest memories I have of my Navy Captain grandfather is his voice. That low rumble that usually encouraged or joked with his grandchildren, could in an instant change. It didn’t get louder it just lowered even further and became the voice of command in our house. “Now hear this.” he would say with a power and ring of authority that snapped all of us to attention. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that when Jesus called Peter to come out to him on the water, His call was spoken with such power that even over the wind and waves Peter could clearly heard him,and it gave him the courage to obey.
Right now my wife and I are being called out on the waters with the life of my sister-in-law drawing to a close. We are heading out to California to say our good-byes to a sweet precious lady who is also my wife’s best friend. Walking daily in such a life is more than challenging, it is overwhelming. Like Peter, we are overwhelmed by wind and waves and aren’t so sure we are ready to walk on water in the weeks ahead. But Jesus is calling us with a voice that fearlessly echoes out over our dark waters and carries with it both His peace and a command to venture out. Hearing His voice means that He is out there waiting for us. Our assurance is that our way is not just about difficulty, it is about the miracle of the presence of God’s Son. With His call comes His promise, to reach down and pull us out of the waters so we can walk with Him.
And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31 NKJV
And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” Mark 9:36-37 ESV
Several years ago there was a young family at church that my wife helped out by picking up the children from school and babysitting them for part of the afternoon. David, was about seven and his little sister Leticia maybe five. On Sunday mornings whenever I saw them I would smile and say “Hey guys so good to see you!” . David would wave and give me a big smile but Leticia always hid her face behind her mom. At that time I was working as a translator in our church so I was always seated in the back, speaking through a wireless headset for those who didn’t speak Portuguese. Week after week, I would smile and wave at Leticia and week after week the results were always the same. “I’m sorry pastor.” her mother would say Leticia is just so shy.”
“No problem. She’ll smile for me one day when she’s ready.” I always answered. But as months passed I figured that day would never come. Then Sunday, just as I was just getting comfortable in my seat, I noticed Leticia getting out of her pew and then she turned, looked at me with a huge smile and came running to the back and jumped up in my lap!
That scene reminded me of today’s verse. Jesus was walking down the road with his disciples who were having an argument about which one of them was the most important. And right in the middle of the action Jesus reaches out and takes a small child by the hand. we all know that kid do not hang out with people they don’t like or trust. You can lecture them all day about being polite to your guests but you can’t force them to be friendly. But Jesus always had children around him. Maybe they had heard how he raised a sick little girl from the dead, or about the boy with seizures who Jesus had healed. Then there was the day when a boy gave Jesus five loaves of bread and did a miracle. Children showed up almost everywhere Jesus went. Maybe they liked being around him not because of the miracles but because, they knew they mattered to Him. He noticed them, talked to them and on occasion even took them in His arms and blessed them. So if we need healing are lonely or even just need someone to talk to, remember that Jesus is not far away. We don’t need to convince Him that we are important. All children are important to Jesus ( no matter how old we are!) You can just run and jump up in his lap today if you’re ready. He is just waiting for you to come! I also hope you love this rendition of Jesus Loves the Little Children sung by the Wilson family. It made my day!!!