A Daily Word from the Word for Monday, December 16, 2013
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28
Peter gets a bad rap for sinking on the water. Regardless, he was the only disciple possessing the kind of radical faith to actually walk on the water. While this flaky disciple takes a lot of heat for sinking on the waves of uncertainty, he and Jesus were the only two people ever recorded in the Bible to have actually walked on water!
Matthew 14:28-32 gives us this account: “And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ So He [Jesus] said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.”
I do not believe it was as much a rebuke of Peter as it was a building up of Peter’s faith. Jesus was saying “Come on Peter, you made it this far, just keep going! You are doing great! You are actually doing it! You are walking on water!”
This being said, God wants our focus to be on another part of this adventure for today; which is Peter making it back to the boat despite his momentary setback. Where this son fell short, Jesus more than made up the difference by making sure He got this practitioner of God’s Word safely back into the boat.
God is more concerned with our responding to His call to come than He is about our sustaining the effort. The Word of the Creator testifies from the highest peak that “My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9); and the Apostle Paul testifies of this truth as he declares “When I am weak, then I am strong”(2 Corinthians 2:10), because greater is Jesus Who is in us than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). We can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us! (Philippians 4:13).
I need God’s grace and mercy every millisecond of every second of every minute of every hour of every day; otherwise, I will sink. It is only by His grace and mercy, made manifest through the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, that I am able to walk on the water of life’s storms. I exclaim what the psalmist King David proclaimed, that “if it had not been for the Lord, Who is on my side, I would have gone under!” (Psalm 124).
There is nothing I can do to maintain my position on the water except to come, and allow the Father through the Son, to keep me in all of my ways by His grace and His mercy. And when I fall short, there is no condemnation for me because of who I am in Jesus Christ, as it is the Loving Father’s grace and mercy which more than make up the difference when and where I fall short (Romans 8:1).
The Greek word for “labor” as used in Matthew 11:28 is kopiao (pr. kop-eeah-o) which means “to feel fatigue, to be wearied” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance). Webster’s Dictionary defines “fatigue” as “the state of being very tired: extreme weariness”; and further defines “weariness” as “bored or annoyed by something because you have seen it, heard it, done it, etc., many times or for a long time.”
This definition of weariness is very important, because most people think that Jesus is talking about a physical weariness due to physical exertion; and while this certainly is part of this “labor,” Jesus is primarily addressing the constant tiredness that comes from the condemnation of the world, which includes the man-made and pharisaical regulations of religion.
VINE’S Complete Expository Dictionary explains a variation of labor as “to cause toil or trouble, to embarrass a person by giving occasion for anxiety as some disciples did to the woman with the ointment, perturbing her spirit by their criticisms, Matthew 26:10; Mark 14:6; or by distracting attention or disturbing a person’s rest, as the importunate friend did, Luke 11:7, 18:5” (© 1985, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
My brothers and sisters, God’s Word will never embarrass you or make you feel ashamed or condemned; but rather the Father’s Word will build you up, and correct you through conviction. It will not distract you and make you weary, but it will give you rest.
My New Spirit-Filled Life Bible Commentary frees us to come in to this truth as it proclaims “In contrast to the heavy burden of Jewish legalism, Jesus calls for an open, free, and loyal relationship (My yoke), which enables obedience to the Law’s righteousness (My burden)” (© 2010. Thomas Nelson Inc.).
The Apostle Paul so succinctly and powerfully declares “let no man trouble me” (Galatians 6:17), and follows up with the reason why no man could trouble him, or should trouble you: “Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen” (Galatians 6:18).
The word for “grace” as used here is charis (pr. khar-ece), which is “the Divine influence upon the heart, favor, gift, benefit, worthy.” The gift of God’s grace, found only in His Son Jesus Christ, is a free gift that we cannot earn, which makes us worthy. You cannot find it on the waves of religion; but only in the relationship with the Father through the Son.
Today my family, let us focus on the invitation of the Father, which is to simply come; thereby taking our focus off of religion and onto relationship with the One Who died a horrible death on the Cross so that we can walk on water.
Father, thank You for Your gift of rest found only in Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Help us, Holy Father, to respond to Your invitation to come. Help us to keep our focus on our relationship with You, forsaking the religion of the world. Give us the rest that is only made available through the Cross of Calvary. In Jesus Name, we thank You that we are yoked with the Name above every name. Amen and Amen.
Take action! Challenge your thinking! Choose to rest in the Word of God rather than in the religion of people. Determine to respond to the call to rest found only in the resurrection of Christ. Choose to focus on your relationship with the Father, and trust the Son to keep you afloat. And continue to fight the good fight of responding to the call from the Savior to “Come”; for God, your Eternal Answer, has already given you the victory!
If you have never received Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, I encourage you to do it today, right now, by saying this prayer out loud: “Jesus, forgive me for my sins. I am sorry. I truly desire to be saved and reconciled back to God, my Father, through You. I receive Your sinless Blood as payment in full for my sins—past, present, and future. I now call You my Lord and Savior, and invite You to live within my heart, and to permanently live within me. I make You Lord over me and over my life from this moment on. Amen.” Congratulations! You are now a child of God, made whole and made new, by the Blood of Jesus Christ!
God tells us that we are blessed to be a blessing (Genesis 12:2). Be a blessing to someone by sending them this word of encouragement. If God did not already put someone in your spirit and on your heart that needs to read this uplifting message from above, simply ask your Heavenly Father who to bless on today. Forward this message right now by email, facebook, or twitter.
Jesus is coming soon!
May God Bless you and keep you always.
With warmest regards,
And, in service of The Most High King,
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All references to Hebrew and Greek words and meanings, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance © 1990 by Thomas Nelson Publishing. All dictionary references are taken from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary © 2013, unless otherwise noted.