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AM Bible Study Archives
"Jesus in our Struggles"
Wednesday AM Bible Study
September 8, 2004
The Bible often uses a very familiar phenomenon to illustrate the struggles
that often come our way - a storm. A storm is a fit metaphor; because
it comes unexpectedly, it is out of our control, and it upsets our world.
The Bible sometimes places stories of Jesus' encounters with His disciples
in the context of a boat in the midst of a storm. The Holy Spirit does
this intentionally because such stories illustrate Jesus' superiority
over the storms of life. Such stories teach us how to trust Him in the
midst of such struggles.
Are you going through a struggle in life right now? Are you in the midst
of a particular circumstance that makes you feel as if everything is working
against you? Then the Holy Spirit has something to say to you this morning
from the story of Jesus and His disciples in a boat in the midst of a
I. WHAT WE ARE TO BE: "BE OF GOOD CHEER".
A. The disciples were not of good cheer, because they were
in a very frustrating situation:
1. Straining at rowing.
2. With the wind against them.
3. Having struggled for a long time - it being the fourth watch
of the night (approx 3-4 am).
B. But in the midst of their struggle, Jesus called them to be of
1. His wonderful presence - even in the midst of the dark
night of struggle - made it possible for them to be of good cheer
2. While in prison, having been beaten with many strips unjustly,
and locked in an inner prison and fastened by their feet in the
stocks, at midnight, Paul and Silas had such a confident and courageous
sense of Jesus' presence that they were able to pray and sing hymns
II. WHAT WE ARE TO KNOW: "IT IS I".
A. The disciples were distressed because they thought that
they were on their own in the midst of this struggle.
1. Jesus had sent them out to the other side of the lake
while He remained behind on the mountain to pray. In fact, they didn't
even expect Him; because when they saw Him, they didn't know Him.
They cried out in fear - thinking that He was something dreadful.
2. How often it is that we are in great distress needlessly because
we think that we are on our own in a struggle; while (we think)
our blessed Savior is far away and distant!
B. But what a difference it makes when He comes on to the scene
- and we know that it is Him!
1. He identified HImself to the disciples. In the midst
of the struggle, He tells them not to be afraid because it is Him.
Literally, He says, "Be of good cheer! I - I am". When we know that
He is there, we lose all cause for fear.
2. We also lose all cause for fear because we not only know that
it's Him, but we also know that our situation is something that
He is more than able to handle. He had already proven to His disciples
that the wind and the waves are under His command (Mark 4:35-41).
3. When Jesus was in the garden, He used this same self-identification
(Greek: eg§ eimi). When Jesus makes Himself known, proud enemies
are knocked down an fearful saints are lifted up.
III. WHAT WE ARE TO DO: "DO NOT BE AFRAID".
A. The disciples weren't necessarily afraid because of the
wind. That only frustrated them. What they were expressing fear over
was the appearance of Jesus onto the scene.
1. They didn't expect to see a man walking on the lake
2. Their struggle had - no doubt - drained them emotionally and
physically. They were out of sorts. They lost their sense of perspective
in the midst of their struggle.
B. But Jesus' command to them was to stop being afraid - or, as
we could say, to take courage. He Himself was the reason why they
could cease from fear.
1. He had commanded them to go - even strongly urging them
to do so - no doubt knowing full well that they would enter into a
time of frustrating struggle (1 Cor. 10:13).
2. But He demonstrated that He was supreme over their struggles.
He showed them this by walking over the water to them - and even
intending to pass them (Isa. 41:10).
* * * * *
When Jesus entered the boat, their struggle ended. The wind ceased to
be against them. Our troubles are over whenever we invite Jesus into them
with us. But notice that they marveled because they didn't understand
who He is and what He can do. Their hearts were hardened.
May our hearts not be hardened. May we learn from their experience!
It all changes when Jesus comes on to the scene. He says, "Be of good
cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." May we cease from fear and frustration
now; and welcome the almighty Son of God into our struggles with us, so
that He can display the greatness of His power to us in them midst of