Pastor Andrew Owen
Dear eNews friends, church members and all ‘Count Me In’ partners,
Prayer & Fasting
Don’t Let Him Pass You By!
It turns out to be the best Bible study anybody could have, for the stranger takes them on a tour of the Old Testament, pointing out that the crucifixion wasn’t the disaster that they think, but a fulfilment of God’s divine plan.
The stranger was of course Jesus, but at this point they didn’t know that. Was it the dusk and the darkness? Did Jesus look different? Did he conceal His full face under a cloak gathered up over his head? Or, as the text suggests, He withheld His real identity.
There couldn’t have been a better Bible study in all of history, yet this wasn’t the highlight of this moment.
We read that Jesus pretended (which is the exact meaning of the Greek word here) as if He would continue going further, having said good night to His companions at the door of their house. Only at this moment did they suggest He stay the night since the lateness of the hour, and they kindly offered this stranger their hospitality.
Whilst reclining at the supper table, the stranger takes the bread, breaks it, blesses it and gives it to them – and there He was, Jesus Himself. No sooner had they made the recognition, that He disappears from their sight, leaving them historical eye witnesses of the resurrection.
Such was the encounter that they walk 7 miles back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples, who just didn’t believe them. But – there He is again, Jesus appears and confirms their account.
What if these two hadn’t insisted at the door of their house? What if they thought, ‘it’s late, we’re tired, and that’s enough Bible study for one night?’ What if they hadn’t pressed further?
The second encounter also happens at night, this time on the sea of Galilee.
Jesus had just performed the only miracle that is recorded in all four gospels, such was it’s significance. He had just fed the 5,000.
He retires to the mountain for prayers and sends the disciples home across the sea in their boat.
The weather turns, the winds are strong, they can’t use the sails since the wind is blowing in the wrong direction, so they have to row, and they’re getting nowhere fast.
When out of the shadows a man is seen casually walking by – ON THE WATER, looking like He’s taking a stroll and just about to walk right past them. He’s moving faster than they are.
Talk about highs and lows.
They have already been on a rollercoaster all day, first told by Jesus to feed the massive crowd, then admitting they didn’t have the means. Then, they not only watch Him feed the 5,000+, but they are partners in the miracle. He again, blesses and breaks the bread, then gives it them, and they in turn feed about 10,000 men, women and children, all from 5 loaves and 2 fish. And it looks like they didn’t leave empty handed, there were 12 baskets left over, perhaps one for each of them, maybe sitting right there in the boat.
In John’s account of this miracle he writes and says, they were willing therefore to receive Him into the boat (John 6:21).
This was after, conversation, discussion, a dramatic response from Peter, His own personal miracle of walking on the water. And John adds another dimension to this miracle never usually noted. He says, “and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going” (John 6: 21). When Jesus gets involved, things have a habit of happening quicker than we might have thought possible.
Just when all their biggest thoughts had been challenged and changed, they yet experienced things that they couldn’t have even imagined:
- The resurrected Jesus at my dining table?
- A walk on the water and an instant arrival?
In fact – it might be just starting.
Thank you so much for all your participation in this remarkable week of prayer and fasting, and a big thank you to those who managed to make the Holy Spirit night. Also, a big thank you to those who brought visions and prophetic word this week, and a big well done to those who fasted for the very first time, but don’t let Jesus pass you by, the bigger miracle is yet to come.A season of Prayer and Fasting does and will take us to another level. Whilst we might enjoy eating once again, let’s keep hungry for God. Invite Him into your home, invite Him into your boat (whatever that looks like for you).
Jesus met the first two disappointed.
Jesus met the twelve fearful on the water.
Whatever you are feeling, He is right there with you.
I think Jesus still acts like He did then, pretending to move on.
Perhaps with all good conscience you hear:
‘Thanks for fasting you can go back to business as usual now.’
‘There, you have done your bit for another year’
Or could it be:
‘Great week can’t wait to see what happens next.’
But there is a better response, and pray it today as we get back into normal routines:
- Jesus, I don’t want business as usual, I want every last thing you have got for me
- Jesus, let me see what you are doing every day and please let me get in on it.
- Jesus, take our church further, faster and make us more fruitful
- Jesus, increase our expectations, imagination and faith
- Jesus, whether it’s my home, or my boat, or any other thing, it’s available for you.
- Jesus, I’m walking with expectation, that you will keep doing the extra ordinary in ordinary people like me
- Jesus, I intend to use my faith to move further than before, grow more fruit than ever before and go further than before.
Look forward to seeing somewhere at church tomorrow.
Love you guys,
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