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The Wednesday Word: Yahweh Walks on Water

Matthew 14:22-33

Jesus had just fed 5000 people, and now it was time for Him to get alone and pray. He, therefore, sent the disciples away in the boat but when the disciples were in the middle of the lake, the wind picked up. The waves got higher. This was more than a squall for the boat was being beaten (v 24, lit. tortured, tormented). Fierce as this night at sea was, it is not the wind, not the waves, not the storm that frightened the disciples. It’s Jesus. The disciples are afraid when Jesus shows up.

Jesus’ walking over the sea is filled with a meaning that we miss if we don’t understand the mentality of the people of Jesus’ day. In their minds, the sea was the manifestation of death. The sea was that which swallows. It was perhaps even a demonic power. So, when Jesus walked on water, He was not only showing His control over creation; He was also showing His power over death. Jesus was treading under His foot the ancient serpent (see Gen. 3:15). But the disciples didn’t know that it was Jesus who was walking towards them.

So, put yourself in their shoes. You have left Jesus up on the mountain and have been struggling to row the boat across the sea for hours. You are tired, wet, and frustrated. Now, around 3 AM, a figure comes strolling towards you over the sea, death, and the dreadful serpent.

They cry out in fear (verse 26) believing Jesus to be a ghost, an apparition, perhaps even the Lord of death himself. But Jesus calls them and preaches the gospel to them. Preaches the gospel? Yes! He says, “ It is I” (verse 27). He, Jesus, is the gospel.

In English, we, unfortunately, lose the most important thing Jesus says here. Jesus isn’t just saying, “It’s Me.” He is saying, “I am.” Remember when Moses asked for God’s name (Exodus 3:14-15), God responded, “I am who I am.” God gives Himself the name Yahweh. Later, God will define what Yahweh means, “A God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6). Jesus is taking the divine name, Yahweh, and applying it to Himself.

Peter pipes up, and we must dismiss a common belief about Peter in this text. Peter walking on water is not an act of faith. Peter’s request to walk out to Jesus comes from Peter doubting Jesus’ words. “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water” (verse 28).

It is absurd that Peter makes this demand. Here is Peter doubting Yahweh manifest in the flesh. He questions the Creator of heaven and earth. He is challenging the God who answered Job saying, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the world? Do you keep the sun rising and setting? Did you tell the waters, ‘You can come this far’? Have you been to the source of the sea? Have you walked in the recesses of the deep?” (see Job 38:4-18).

But does Jesus scold Peter for his doubt? No! Jesus graciously tells Peter, “Come.” At that word, Peter gets out of the boat, and he too walks on the sea, death and the serpent. Peter isn’t enabled to walk on the sea because of his faith. Peter walked on water because of the word of Jesus, “Come.” That one word carried Peter from the boat, across the water, toward Jesus.

Notice what causes Peter to sink. He doesn’t fear the storm, the waves, or his distance from the boat. He fears what is least threatening to him – the wind (Matthew 14:30).

The same happens to us when we lose our focus on Jesus. If we focus on our circumstances or anything that isn’t Jesus, we sink like a stone.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: So, the Disciples Stole Christ´s Body?

November 27, 2019 2 comments

In a desperate attempt to explain away the resurrection, the soldiers who guarded the tomb were bribed to say that, while they were sleeping, the disciples came and stole the body (Matthew 28:12-13).

Yeah right! That won´t stand up in court! How did they know what had happened if they were sleeping?

However, if the disciples did, in fact, steal the body, why would they willingly die awful deaths to affirm their absolute belief that Jesus was resurrected?

Church tradition tells us how these so -called body stealers and their friends died. Warning! The following is not pretty.

1. Matthew. Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound.

2. Mark. Died in Alexandria, Egypt after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.

3. Luke. Although not of the original 12, was hanged in Greece as a result of his powerful preaching to the lost.

4. John. He was the only one who lived to old age and was not martyred. Tradition has it that he survived being boiled in oil. He was imprisoned on the island of Patmos where he wrote the Book of Revelation …was later freed and went to Turkey and served as a church leader.

5. Peter. He was crucified upside down on an x shaped cross. He told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus had died.

6. James. Again, not one of the original 12 but the Lord´s half-brother and spokesman for the church in Jerusalem. He was thrown a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a club.

7. James. One of the Sons of Zebedee was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to the ministry. He was put to death by the sword at Jerusalem, Acts 12:2.

8. Bartholomew. Also known as Nathaniel. He was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

9. Andrew. He Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony.

His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words, “I have long desired and expected this happy hour.” He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he died.

10. Thomas. He was speared to death in India during one of his missionary trips to bring the Gospel.

11. Jude. He was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in the resurrected Christ.

12. Matthias. The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot. He was stoned and then beheaded.

To my friends who distain the truth of the resurrection of Christ I would ask… Are you really saying that these same disciples crept in and stole the body and then falsely claimed that Jesus had risen? Why then did they continue to perpetrate this so called fraud … even in the grim face of violent deaths?

It is because they knew they served the living, resurrected Saviour. They knew their redeemer lived and so they willingly died for Him and the truth of His cause (1 Peter 4:12-13).

His resurrection proves that He has forever exhausted all the penalty due to the sins of the believer. He was raised again because He had secured our justification (Hebrews 1:3; Romans 3:24). How the Devil hates this message and assaults those who bring it.

May we pray for the persecuted churches in India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Nepal, China and Africa to mention but a few.

In these Last Days we are being called to stronger than ever involvement with the cause of Christ.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Keep not Silence

November 20, 2019 2 comments

“You that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence” Isaiah 62:6.

How can the redeemed of the Lord keep silent about the Lord Jesus?

How can we keep silent about Him when His name is so beautiful?

How can we keep silent about Him when His work of redemption is so glorious?

How can we keep silent about Him when His person is so perfect?

As followers of Christ we have embraced five words concerning Him. They are, “My King and my God” (Psalm 5:2). How can we, therefore, keep silent about Him?

How can we be silent about the everlasting truths of the Gospel? How can we, for example, be silent that God was manifest in the flesh? (1 Timothy 3:16).

How can we be silent when we think of how He suffered for us?

“Oh, think of Jesus, as He stands before Pilate

Condemned as a villain, when from sin He was clean

Though they wrongly accused Him, and cruelly used Him

Yet he spoke not a word, though the tears filled His gaze

Think how they mocked Him, they scoffed Him and slapped Him

Put a reed in His hand and with a robe they wrapped Him

Then a crown of thorns they twined from long briars

And stuck in His brow till the blood trickled down.”

How can we keep silent about this?

How can we be silent when we read, “But God commended His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

In the Gospel, God did not come to meet us half-way. He came all the way. If He had not come all the way, we should never have been saved. As we consider this, how can we then keep silent about this?

“Oh, think of Jesus as He goes to Mount Calvary

Jeered by the crowd, both women and men

Their wicked hands taken Him, and on the cross laid Him

With hammer and nails cruel work they began

Then they hung Him up between earth and heaven

God’s spotless Lamb there for me and for you

Amid their mocking and sayings, and terrible doings

He cried, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

How can we keep silent about this?

He came here because He loved us. In fact, there never was a time when Christ´s love for us began. His people have always been loved. How can we keep silent about this?

When we pause and meditate about these truths may we be overwhelmed with gratitude. Just think of it, we didn´t care about the Lord Jesus but He cared for us. When we were out of control, and far away, He cared for us and brought us to Himself. How can we be silent about this?

Some years ago, in England, there was a Christian barber who could not keep silent about Jesus. He felt it his duty to witness to his customers, but he wasn’t always careful. One day he lathered a man for a shave, picked up the razor, and asked, “Sir, are you prepared to meet your God?” The poor fellow fled with the lather still on his face.

That dear barber, even though a bit careless about his approach, would not keep silent about Jesus. I wish there were more like him. Unfortunately, it has been observed that there are two groups of people who really hate personal evangelism;

1. Non-Christians and

2. Most Christians.

May the Lord raise up an army of Gospel Champions who will not keep silent about Him.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

The Wednesday Word: Praying in the Name of Jesus

November 13, 2019 Leave a comment

John 16: 23-24 And in that day you shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have you asked nothing in my name: ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.

Why must we pray in the name of Jesus?

First, before we answer this, we need to realise that,

When we pray in Jesus´ name, we are not simply adding a little formula to our prayer to make it work.

It’s not as if God is listening and saying, “Nah, I don’t think so. Nope, nope, nope. Oh hang on, they said, ‘In the name of Jesus’. Oh, okay, since you put it that way.”

No! When we pray in Jesus name, we are declaring dependance on Christ alone for access to God. Ephesians 3:12 says, “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.” There is no access to God but through Christ. In John 14:6 Jesus taught,”No one comes to the Father but by Me.” They that attempt otherwise to come to God without Christ will find the door tightly shut. That´s one of the reasons why we pray in the name of Jesus.

Another reason is that,

When we pray, in the name of Jesus, we are declaring that Christ Jesus is our mediator.

We are confessing that there is no access to God without a Mediator. Consider this, “… your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).

Sin had distanced us from God and bolted the door to heaven. However, Christ opened that door wide.

He has paid for our sins. “If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).

When we pray in Jesus name, we are, therefore, admitting the bankruptcy of our own name. Our name cannot move heaven and earth. The Father is not thrilled with our name…but when we are identified, by faith, with Christ we now come to the Father in the name of our mediator, the Lord Jesus. He is our righteousness. His is the lovely name, the name that declares Christ alone is our mediator.

As we pray in Jesus´ name…We identify with the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus has literally given us His name to use. When we use that name, we are confessing that He is ours and that we are His. It is like going to the bank of heaven, knowing we have nothing deposited. If we go in our name, we will get absolutely nothing. But Jesus Christ has unlimited funds in heaven’s bank and has granted us the privilege of going there with His check book.

Not only so, but,

Praying in the name of Jesus, is declaring to the Father that we are submitted to His will.

Jesus’ authority rested with his submission to the Father, so our authority also rests with our submission to Him. To ask in His name is to ask according to Christ´s nature, and His character is one of submission. This, by the way, is why prayers that ask for things contrary to the Word of God will never be answered.

We cannot ask God to bless adultery in Jesus’ name.

We cannot ask God to bless our sin in Jesus’ name.

We cannot ask God to bless our bitterness in Jesus’ name.

We cannot ask God to bless our plans for robbery in Jesus name.

Praying in the name of Jesus is a bold declaration that we are submitted to His will.

What a beautiful name Jesus has. It’s a simple name, a strong name, a saving name, the supreme name and it’s the asking name.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

The Wednesday Word: Christ is God Over All

Romans 9:5 “Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came who is God over all, blessed for ever. Amen.”

My! My! My! How the opponents of Christ’s deity detest this verse. They re-translate it and claim it doesn’t say what it says. “It’s really a doxology,” they declare, or the word “God,” they protest, should be omitted. Yet here it stands, this bold declaration of Christ’s deity, in a passage where Paul is arguing for the privileges of the Jews … not the least of which was that, when God became a man, He became a member of their race and had, therefore, become kin to them.

Notice how this verse declares the dual nature of Christ. He had come in the flesh (human nature) and yet was entirely and thoroughly the Lord God from heaven. At the same time as being human, He was and is the Mighty God.

Furthermore, He is unmistakably declared to be ‘over all’ which means there is no one above Him. Since He created all and governs all, He is over all angels and created beings. It was the Lord of Glory Himself who came to redeem us. We were in trouble, and God Himself came to the rescue.

The God of the JWs (Jehovah Witnesses) didn’t love us enough to come here to save us. He, according to them, created and sent someone else to do the job. Perhaps their god didn’t want to get his hands dirty? Or maybe it was because he didn’t like the idea of suffering, rejection and humiliation? Or possibly he was occupied with more pressing matters? But whatever the reason, he, according to them, stayed in Heaven and sent a substitute to represent Him. But Jesus is man´s substitute not God´s.

The JW theory can be likened to a man who while walking over a bridge with his son spies someone drowning in the river below. His heart is so smitten with concern that he asks his son to jump over the side to rescue and save the drowning man and the son willingly complies with the request. But this is not the story of the God of the Bible! He laid down the vestiges of royalty, wrapped himself with humanity and came here Himself to rescue and save us from the river of death by bearing our sins on his own body on the cross. As Horatius Bonar said,

‘Turn your eye to the cross and see these two things, – the Crucifiers and the Crucified——-See the Crucified. It is God himself; incarnate love. It is the God who made you, suffering, dying for the ungodly. Can you suspect his grace? Can you cherish evil thoughts of him? Can you ask anything farther to awaken in you the fullest and most unreserved confidence? Will you misinterpret that agony and death by saying that they do not mean grace, or that the grace which they mean is not for you? Call to mind that which is written, – “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us” 1John 3:16.

Horatius Bonar: Christ Died for the Ungodly.

In the scheme of thought which denies Christ’s Deity, we are presented with a god who was unwilling or unable to come here himself and rescue us. We must then ask, had that god become too frail to undertake the mission? Did he need someone more energetic and youthful to complete the task? Candidly speaking, this business of God creating some super-angel to do His redeeming work leaves God looking somewhat suspect in His sincerity and commitment to us. Frankly, I’m not impressed with a god who would not come here Himself to rescue me! A god who stayed in heaven while I was utterly ruined on earth cannot melt my heart. A god who delegates my redemption to another cannot command my loyalty. On this matter, I take my stand with Luther who said,

“Wherefore, he that preaches a God to me that died not for me the death on the cross, that God will I not receive.”

Martin Luther: Smalcald Articles.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: The Open Hands of Jesus

You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing (Psalm 145:16).

What a powerful verse! Christ´s hands are opened for the daily supply of our needs. An opened hand signifies favour, a closed one, the reverse. So, here´s the truth of the matter, the opened hands of Jesus give all manner of good things to His people. May we continually believe and enjoy this excellent truth.

Think of the times His hands were used for blessing. Here are but a few.

Matthew 14:31, Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him,…

Matthew 8:3, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Mark 1:41, Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him.

Luke 5:13, And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.”

As our great High Priest, the Lord Christ has all the blessings His people shall ever require, and liberally showers them upon us (Ezekiel 34:26).

As the Hymn writer said,

“There shall be showers of blessing:

This is the promise of love;

There shall be seasons refreshing,

Sent from the Saviour above.”

God is the abundant giver. He gives freely, liberally and without rebuke. He is not in the business of putting us down. He is the Master of encouragement not discouragement. He knows our weakness. He knows our needs and He supplies.

Yes indeed, God is the abundant giver.

He gave Forgiveness;

He gave the New Birth;

He gave Sanctification;

He gave Life;

He gave Eternal Life;

He gave Victory over the grave;

He gave Adoption;

He gave an Everlasting Inheritance;

He gave us all when He gave us Jesus.

God can give us no greater gift than that of Himself and that gift came to us in Christ. Christ is, therefore, the divine treasure house in which the unsearchable riches of Yahweh are stored for His people (Ephesians 3:8). All the abounding grace, all the precious promises and all our royal privileges are treasured up in Him. “For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell” (Colossians 1:19).

He is the Giver. His hand is so large, that it contains all things we can possibly need. Like water in a desert oasis, everything that grace touches flourishes.

“His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,

His power no boundary known unto men;

For out of His infinite riches in Jesus

He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.”

We read, “You open your hand, they are filled with good;” (Psalm 104:28)

That´s generous grace!

He says, “Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10)

That´s generous grace!

“To him that has, more shall be given” (Matthew 13:12).

That´s generous grace!

We see instances in the Word of God of people desiring too little. There was a man who was told to shoot arrows, but he stopped too soon, and lost part of the blessing (2 Kings 13:18). May we never be like that. Jesus’ hands are giving and filled with blessings for His people. May we never cease to believe that.

If I can borrow a military term, Jesus is our Commissar. We, His army, are feeble and faint in ourselves, but with Jesus as our Provider we will certainly prevail and overcome.

Lastly, the hands of Jesus are open to crown His people. Think about it, hands are needed to perform a coronation. At present, those hands are crowning us with “loving kindness and tender mercies” (Psalm 103:4) and soon will place the crown of glory, life and righteousness upon our heads (1 Peter 5:4; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; James 1:12; Revelation 2:10).

He will soon be back.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Meekness

October 23, 2019 2 comments

Galatians 5:22-23, “The fruit of the Spirit is … meekness.”

The word translated “meekness” is associated with gentleness and mildness. What was Jesus like? He was “meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). Though He was Israel’s true King, He rode into Jerusalem, “meek, and sitting upon a donkey” (Matthew 21:5). The apostle Paul speaks of “the meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:1). Jesus Himself pointed to the importance of meekness when He said, ” Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

Let´s consider then a few matters concerning meekness.

To my social media friends, I would say, a meek man will be kind and patient towards those who do not see eye to eye with them. Meekness will remind them that all the truth which they grasp is due, not to themselves, but to Divine coaching. Therefore, their attitude towards those less instructed than themselves will be meek, lowly, and gentle.

We need to be meek in dealing with those who are in error. The apostle says, “If a man is overtaken in a fault, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering yourself, lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

We must be careful not think too highly of ourselves. Jesus made Himself the least in the Kingdom (Matthew 11:11) and a nobody (Philippians 2:7). May the Spirit of the Lord help us to embrace meekness.

We also need the Lord´s help to be meek in our attitude towards the Word of God. We are instructed to “Receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).

There are difficulties in the Bible which we cannot explain. There are mysteries which we cannot unravel. The great Samuel Johnston, the compiler of the first English dictionary, was once asked if he was troubled by the parts of the Bible that he could not understand. He replied, “No sir, it´s the parts of the Bible I do understand that trouble me.”

We may not understand all that the Bible says but we are to receive the clear teaching of the Word with meekness. In meekness we welcome all its doctrines, precepts, and promises.

And what of those who ask us annoying questions? Do we need to be meek towards them? Here´s the thing, their questions may be sly and artful, or they may be sincere. In any case, we should be meek towards them. “Be ready,” says the apostle, “always to-give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3 :15).

Ministers of the Word need to be meek. “Thou, O man of God,” said Paul to Timothy, “follow after meekness.” “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves” (1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2: 25). Also, Titus was taught to show “all meekness unto all men” (Titus 3 :2).

There is no encouragement in the Word for ministers of the Gospel to be harsh or impatience.

But meekness is not for Gospel ministers only, it is for all believers everywhere. We are exhorted to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called, “with all lowliness and meekness” (Ephesians 4: 1-2). That´s the way Jesus did it.

There is no point in us debating election if the fruits of election are not evident in our lives. To the contrary, as the elect of God, we are to put on “kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering” (Colossians 4:12). May we pause for a moment and consider those four qualities, ….kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness and longsuffering. What a beautiful portrait they make of Jesus.

Remember, ´´Meek´´ does not mean weak. But the truth is, we don´t have to fight everyone who seems to challenge our views. If, however, we are drawn into a necessary debate, let meekness be apparent unless, that is, we are called to oppose the modern-day Pharisees who deny the grace of God and the Deity and Humanity of Christ … But that´s another story.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com