Steven Furtick - This Is Significant
Our scripture lesson for today comes from Mark 6. Something that Mark the Evangelist included in his gospel record that he thought was significant for us to know about the ministry of Jesus Christ. Mark 6:45 records, "Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida". He did not tell them to pack ponchos. He did not give them a warning about the storm that they would encounter. Just a simple instruction. I wonder if God doesn't tell us everything because He knows we could not handle the details. So, "He dismissed the crowd". And sent the disciples to get a head start. "I'll meet you on the other side". "You're almost gonna die on the way," he didn't tell 'em that, but, after leaving them he went up on a mountainside to pray. "Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples staining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost". Because God often looks like fear from a distance. "They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately..". Mark's favorite word. "He spoke to them and said, 'Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.' Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed". Touch the neighbor you've been ignoring and say "This is significant".
So if you've ever been around church at all you've heard this Bible story. If you've ever been anywhere near a church you've heard about this Bible story. If you ever happen to drive by a church by accident you heard this. If you ever played on church softball team you heard curse words and this Bible story. It's a significant story because it teaches us that Jesus Christ is Lord of all creation. Theologically He is Sovereign. He is Sovereign. It's an epiphany story in that it gives us a revelation of Jesus Christ that is consistent with the revelation of Jesus Christ that was given in the Old Testament in a concealed form when a bush burned and a man names Moses was meeting with God the disclosure at that point was I Am. Moses said, "Who are you"? God said, "I Am". Now, it's interesting how God would spend the next several centuries filling in that blank. That they would need to know Him to be water in a dry place. That they would need to know Him to be a warrior in their battles. They would find all of this out, that He is sustainer in their weariness. Really, the rest of your life will be spent filling in that blank. Just about the time you think you've got it figured out, who God is, life will so shift beneath your feet that you will realize you didn't know Him at all.
The disciples have been with Jesus now for quite an extensive class. They've seen him touch lepers. They've seen him heal paralytics. They've even seen him raise dead people in certain situations. And yet, there was something that amazed them in this moment. Something that they had not seen about him before. It is significant that Jesus told them to go forward and the wind was against them. That's significant. Significant because a lot of times I assumed in my life that if God sent me to do something the wind would work with me. That's pretty much the premise of early Christianity. Turn your life over to God and He'll take your burdens away. Turn your life over to the Lord and what used to keep you up at night won't keep you up at night anymore because it'll be replaced by other stuff that'll keep you up at night. Fill in the blank. You realize that a lot of times are claims to faith are actually our efforts to manipulate God. Until we discover in the course of time that just because the wind is against you doesn't mean that God is not for you. Many times the confirmation that God has spoken to you is the fact that the wind is against you. We're discovering this.
In our study of the gospel of Mark we are learning that resistance is often the greatest place for revelation. Would you please take that Elevation pen that costs about 11 or 12 cents and before you still it from the church you use it to sign a check this week, write it down. Resistance leads to revelation. Resistance leads to revelation. The wind was against the disciples. Not because they disobeyed the words of Jesus but because they went in the direction of his command. He sent them to Bethsaida. They went to Bethsaida. I got it when it was Jonah. Because the wind was against Jonah because he wasn't going to Nineveh, he was going to Tarsish. And God said go to Nineveh and when you go to Tarsish when you should go to Nineveh expect the wind to be against you because God didn't send you to Tarsish. He sent you to Nineveh. So I expect the wind to go against me when God told me to go to Nineveh and I went to Tarsish. But when he told me to go to Bethsaida and I went to Bethsaida I expect the wind to work with me. I expect God to bless me when I come to church. I expect good parking places 'cause I came to church. I expect those shoes to go on sale 'cause I came to church. I expect a promotion 'cause I came to church. Makes me mad when somebody who didn't come to church, they slept in, and they get a raise, and I get fired.
I can't understand how God could be with me and the wind could be against me. But often the confirmation of the word of God is the resistance of the enemy to show you you're on the right track. Here's why. Feel like preaching. Here's why. I'm gonna help somebody. You want to turn around and go back home because the wind is against you. The wind is against you so that you will know that it is the Lord's presence with you that makes you successful. If the wind was working with you, you would thank the wind when you got to your destination. If it were easy you would thank the wrong things. If the wind wasn't against you, you wouldn't need the Lord to come and step into the wind and speak peace to the wind so the wind has to be against you to prove that the Lord is with you.
Calm down Furtick, this is just the introduction. So Jesus, Savage Jesus, the Jesus that's in the Bible. Not the Jesus that's on Pinterest. Savage Jesus. Real life Jesus. Monday morning Jesus. Yeah. Friday Jesus. Saturday Jesus. Not the Jesus that is playing a harp and stroking the wool of the lamb. But the Jesus who sent his disciples into a storm and watches them strain. I got to go. You won't believe this. You're 'bout to be really jealous. I got to go and sit on the mountain where Jesus prayed. And the man who took us there last year he knew everything about everything. I think he was Jesus. He took us up there. He said, "Here's where Jesus was praying in Mark 6". And then he pointed to the lake that the Bible mentions where the storm was. And from that mountain you can see the whole lake. He dropped this on us right before he left us. He said, "So the whole time they were straining, Jesus could see them". And he walked off.
I cried. I have a picture of me sitting on that mountain and there's Kleenex all around me 'cause Holly just kept handing 'em to me one after another. That he saw them in the storm. That he saw them in the storm. After I got done crying 'cause I realize he sees me in my storm, and he knows what I'm going through, and he knows what I deal with, and he knows what people have done to me. And He sees tears that I've cried on my pillow that nobody else knows about and that he sees what's going on in my soul that I can cover up in front of people but I can't hide from him. After I got done crying about that I got kinda angry. 'Cause I thought if he could see them why didn't he stop it? All of a sudden it felt kinda cruel to me that he would send them into a storm and see them in the storm and not stop the storm.
So I think it is significant that the Bible says he saw the disciples, verse 48, straining at the oars. Because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, this is 48b. Walking on the lake. He was about to pass them by! I thought he would never leave me. I thought he would never forsake me. I thought he promised his presence to me. So he's about to pass them by and they were afraid. One interesting thing about this particular record in Mark's gospel is that it was recounted by a man named Peter. Have you heard of him? He was a very outspoken disciple of Jesus Christ. He was the one, I don't know if you're like this, he would say what everybody else thought. He was filter-free. And so when he was right, he was really right. When he was wrong, he was really wrong. I'll prove it to you. He said, "You are the Christ the Son of the living God". Jesus said, "You are Petrus. This rock. You are Peter. Not Simon, not shifty, upon this rock I'll build my church. The rock of his revelation of who Jesus was. A few verses later Jesus said get behind me Satan and he was pointing at Peter because Peter said you can't go to the cross. And Peter opposed the very thing that Jesus came to do all in the same Bible chapter.
This is Peter. Peter is the one telling Mark about this story so Mark can write it down. Peter is the one recording the audiobook, OK? Peter is the one giving Mark the gospel account. Mark wasn't a disciple. Mark was an evangelist. He compiled the story. Look, I'm gonna show you somethin'. We have four of these. We have four gospel accounts. The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. When we say the gospel of Mark it's the gospel according to Mark. When we say the gospel of Luke, the gospel of John, the gospel of Matthew, that's the gospel account that they wrote down. John said that Jesus did so much if you wrote a whole book, if you tried to write down everything he did, the whole world could not contain it. If you wrote down all the works Jesus did Wikipedia would break. So they had to decide what was significant enough to put in the gospel account that would prove what they wanted to prove about who Jesus was. So when Mark got ready to write he said Jesus walked to the disciples in a storm and when he got in the boat the winds died down.
When Matthew got ready to write it he included something that Mark left out. And I'm gonna read you now from Matthew 14. It's the same story but there's one detail in this story that is omitted in Mark's gospel which is based on the recollection of Peter and it's in Matthew's gospel but not Mark's so here's what we'll do. This'll be an interactive class. When I get to the part that wasn't in Mark's gospel stop me. When I get to the part where you're saying, "What that wasn't in the other one that you read before". I want you to wave your hands and stop me. This is the only time that you are allowed to tell me to stop preaching. You can tell me to preach any time you want. "Preach pastor". But when I get to this part today I want you to stop me at every location.
Let's start in verse 22. "Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night he was there alone and the boat was already considerable distance from land buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it". So far so good? We're good? Keep going? Keep going? Yeah. Very similar. Very similar. Few words different. Same stuff. "Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them walking on the lake and when the disciples saw him walking on the lake they were terrified. 'It's a ghost!' They said. And cried out in fear but Jesus immediately said to them, 'Take courage. It is I don't be afraid.' 'Lord if it's you,' Peter replied. 'Tell me to come...'". OK. OK. OK. What's wrong with you? "'Lord if it's you,' Peter replied. 'Tell me to come to you on the water.' 'Come,' He said". This is amazing.
Hey, if I was writing my memoir, I'll put this in. 'Cause watch what happens next. "Then Peter got down out of the boat walked on water and came towards Jesus". Oh I'm totally puttin' that in. I'm totally including that part where everybody else was in the boat crying out in fear and I was walking on water, transcending the laws of buoyancy. Babe, if I ever walk on water and then I die and they're writing a story about my life you make sure they don't take that part out. If I ever walk on water, and I know I do metaphorically in your heart, but if I ever physically. If they ever write about me, I'm not saying they will, but if they do leave this in. Touch somebody say this is significant. Wonder if he left it out because of verse 30. I mean, 'cause so far this is amazing. Peter's like, "If it's you tell me to come". Jesus is like, "It's me, come". You know the wind is blowing so you can't hear that good so Peter's like, "Did you hear him. He said it's me, come". And John's like, "No. He said Peter you're dumb".
Two people can hear the same thing, and hear the same word a different way. The other disciples were operating on what Jesus told them before they left which is "go". Go to Bethsaida. I'll meet you on the other side. Peter is operating out of what he feels in the moment and he says to Jesus, "If it's you tell me to come". And I've often preached about Peter getting out of the boat but sometimes the more significant faith is the willingness to stay in the storm. Not the impulse to escape it. I'm not saying Peter was wrong. I'm just saying that it takes faith to keep rowing when you can't see the shore. Sometimes it takes even more faith to stay in the boat than it does to step out of it. Peter gets to this part of the story in his recollection he does not see fit to include the part of the story where he said to Jesus, "If it's you tell me to come". And I wonder if it's because of what happened in verse 30 that he left this out of his gospel account because the Bible says that he took several steps toward Jesus and for a moment he was walking on the water and for a moment he was experiencing a miracle. But verse 30 says, "When he saw the wind..".
See he heard the word but then he saw the wind. And I relate to this because sometimes I pay more attention to what I see then what God said. And anytime I give more focus to what I see than what God spoke I start to sink. Peter's doing pretty good as long as he's going off of what he heard because faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the word of God. All you need is one word from God. Peter wasn't walking on water. He was walking on a word. And when you have a word from God, your kids can be acting crazy, your money can be acting funny, you can be in the darkest night of your life, but declare He's Lord. Then he saw the wind and the Bible says when he saw the wind he began to sink and he cried out, "Lord save me"! And I thought well that's why Peter left it out. You know you wanna leave certain things outta your story. Skip over certain parts and certain failures. There's some stuff, honestly, that you don't need to share with everybody. There's some stuff that they don't even need to know about. Sometimes, your greatest testimony is that you went through the fire but you don't smell like smoke.
When Peter was tellin' Mark what to write I imagine Mark saying, "Shouldn't I put that part in where you climbed out of the boat"? And Mark said, "I don't think you want to leave that out". Peter said, "No, no, it's been a while now". 'Cause this gospel's written decades after it happened, you know. By this point Peter has discovered something. Look, verse Mark 6:51. "Then he climbed into the boat with them and the wind died down". Peter said, it's not significant what happened when I climbed out of the boat. Let's read it again. "Then Jesus climbed into the boat..". Peter said don't tell 'em what happened when I climbed out; tell 'em what happened when He climbed in. That's so good I wanna sit down and then stand up and run a lap around this Ballantyne building all by myself. It's not important what happened when Peter climbed out. It's not important what happened when Peter stepped out. It's not important what happened when they were straining all night. All night long they strained to get to Jesus but the wind didn't stop while they were straining. The wind did not die down because Peter came to Jesus; the wind died down because Jesus came to Peter and that's the gospel. Not that I came to God, not because I was so good, not because I was so glorious, not because I got my act together. No, I'm not praising him 'cause I got out of the boat. I'm praising him because he got in! And the wind died down!
Now go ahead and worship him for 18 seconds. Not 'cause I got out! But 'couse He's got in! Woo! Woo! High five somebody say this is significant. Not that I loved God but that He loved me. And I'm in the storm right now but the storm is not significant 'cause help is on the way. It's the contrast of straining versus submission and He was showing them to do what He commanded the wind to do. Submit. And they were amazed at this. They were amazed. They were amazed that the wind did what He said. In fact, the wind did what He didn't even have to tell it to do. Let me preach to LJ for a minute, he gets bored back here 'cause he has to play, three times on the weekend. I just wanna tell him this real quick 'cause I didn't mention it at any of the other worship experiences, last time Jesus calmed a storm He said, "Peace be still". So He calmed the storm with His words. This time, if you check the record, He didn't even say anything to the storm, the storm stopped just because He sat down in the boat with the disciples. That lets me know that all I need is His presence. All I need is His presence. I don't need proof that He is with me, when He got in the boat, the storm sat down when He sat down, why? He is above it, He is the Lord, He is the great I am, He is the bread of life. And He sent them against the wind because He needed a situation to reveal His sufficiency. That's what He needed.
And so the storm served that purpose. Just like the hungry crowd. Just like the hungry crowd. Because verse 52 tell us why they were amazed, look at somebody and say, "This is significant". Come on only about 45% of you did what I told you to do. Tell 'em, "This is significant". "They were amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened". What does bread have to do with a boat? And this is where we need to mention a significant miracle. This miracle is so significant that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all put it in their memoir, their audio book, they put it in, even though it wasn't a resurrection or a healing. One day, Jesus fed 5.000 men, the women and the children and He did it with a little boy's lunch. I personally think Peter beat up the little boy and took his lunch. Only reason why, I have kids, I have never seen my kids voluntarily do anything sacrificial. So in my mind, the little boy did not willingly offer his lunch. But you read the Bible how you wanna read the Bible on your own time. Right now, I got the microphone.
Peter beat up the boy, took his lunch, brought it to Jesus. This is significant. This miracle is so significant because Jesus, when He was feeding the crowd, He was revealing Himself as the Christ, and everybody ate and they all got their fill that day. Point it out, real quick while we have a moment, 'cause I don't know when I'll get to see you again, some of you don't come to church enough. Just while we're here, the miracle came from somebody who was not even included in the official count. It was 5000 men, women and children. God's greatest miracles often come from what people consider insignificant sources. That's why you can't let the world ever define your significance, because the world celebrates all the wrong stuff. All the wrong stuff. We find significance in status, we find significance, sometimes we even call it 'our significant other', okay? But this is an announcement, you don't need any other to be significant. I'm not against the term, I'm not against the term, but you don't have to be a duchess of Sussex to be significant. No, not to be significant in the eyes of God. If significance was predicated on marital status, Jesus was insignificant. He was never married, neither was Paul. But the world celebrates all the wrong stuff.
And so we wait for significance to be assigned by something outside of God. But I am not significant because somebody recognized me as significant. I am significant because of someone Who died for me, Who created me, and Who lives in me. And if people appreciate me that's wonderful, but if they never recognize me, I'm still significant. There's a word for somebody. If I gotta date, great, If I don't, I'm still significant. If I get the job, wonderful, if I don't, I'm still significant. If you like me, good, let's hug it out, but if not, I'm almost done. This is significant. This is significant. It's hard to see the significance of the season that you're in; you see it better when you're out of it. That's why it's hard to raise kids. I love being a parent. I joke about it a lot, it's actually my favorite thing that I do. I just play around like it's hard, really for me, it's just super easy, I just always know the wisdom and I'm always... I like watching my kids play all these sports. It's kinda hard, sometimes, 'cause now they got so much pressure on us, as parents. Maybe this is a suburban thing, I don't know, you gotta be at every recital or your kid's gonna end up in therapy as a serial killer. It's pressure. But I try to get out there.
Sometimes there's a running around and "Is this significant? Is this significant" And the I get, I get caught up in insignificant things and I miss significant things. Like, the disciples almost missed the miracle that day of the feeding of the 5000, the one that's in all four Gospels, maybe that's why they all included it, because they all almost missed it. It's hard to know, sometimes, you don't always get to see the gold medal. They don't hand out a gold medal. In fact, when it says that the disciples did not understand about the loaves, they were amazed because, show the verse again, verse 52, this verse got my attention. Really this is my whole message because it says, "They were amazed... when He got in the boat and the winds died because they had not understood about the loaves". It just happened. It was the thing that happened right before the storm. It had just happened. It wasn't years later and they forgot, it had just happened. You know how God provides for you?
And then you go into a different test, and you forget the lesson, because it's a different test? And God provided for you in a bigger way back there, but now you're struggling with the little thing here and you trip over an insignificant thing when God has already done the most significant thing which is to save your soul. They understood about the loaves on one level, physically, they ate, they understood about the loaves on one level, the crowds were fed, but what they didn't understand is that Jesus did not feed the multitude so they could know what He did, He fed the multitude so they could know who He was. The lesson of the loaves is not "I am your Burger King, your way, right away", the lesson of the loaves is not that you will never be hungry or you will never hurt, or you will never wander, or you will never doubt, the lesson of the loaves is, "I am the bread of life. I am. It is Me. It was Me when you were hungry, it was Me when you were lonely, it was Me when you were depressed. It was Me when you were anxious, it was Me on the mountain top, it was Me in the valley".
The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want I will fear no evil, He is with me in this moment. "It's Me, it was Me then, and it's Me now. It was Me that got you through that, it's Me that will see you through this, and if I am in the boat, the wind must submit to My word. I am with you". And they didn't get it. They saw the miracle, they experienced the miracle, they're the ones who handed out the bread to the people, but you can experience a miracle and miss the significance. So God saved you, but what did He save you for? So you could spend the rest of your life carrying the shame He died to take away and nailed to his cross? Is that what He saved you for? God saved you, but what did He save you for? So you could live the rest of your life just as selfish as you lived the first part of your life, but with a cross around your neck, this time? What did He save you for? You can experience the miracle of salvation, but miss the significance of it. God didn't just save you from, He saved you for a purpose, a mission, a calling. And the miracle was not just that the people were fed, the miracle was not just that they ate bread, the miracle is not just what God does for you. The miracle is that you see who He is. This is beautiful. It is so beautiful that it bears repeating. It bears repeating and in Mark 8, this miracle is so significant, it happens again. One way you can tell when something is important is when it is repeated.
So the disciples find themselves in a situation that is very similar. There's a big crowd and there's no food. You know, like last time, when you were worried and upset and you didn't think you were gonna make it? And you made it. And now here you are again, and the wind's blowing again and you don't think you're gonna make it, but spoiler alert, you will. That's the lesson of the loaves. That's the lesson of the, I didn't mean to ruin the movie for you, but at the end of this thing you're gonna be in Bethesda 'cause if He told you, "I'll meet you on the other side". You don't die in the lake in the middle of the night. Come on, church. Has He not shown you, don't you see it, don't you hear it? It's the same voice. It's the same God. And so He feeds the crowd in Mark 8 and the Bible says Mark 8:14, "The disciples had forgotten to bring bread...". Stand up, it'll make me close quicker, don't leave, it'll make me angry. "The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat".
I don't mean to correct the Scripture, but there were actually two loaves in the boat. One of 'em was the bread they could see... "'Be careful". Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod". He is warning them against the seemingly insignificant comprises that corrode your faith. "Watch out," He said. Your words are significant, your habits are significant, Your friendships are significant. "Watch out for that yeast". And when He said yeast, they thought about bread, and, "They discussed this with one another and said, 'It is because we have no bread.'" They still didn't get it. They saw Him do it, and they still didn't get that He was it. They're still worried about provision, you're still worried about bills, you're still worried, we're still thinking on the level of what we can see. Jesus, "Aware of their discussion... asked them a question: 'Why are you talking about having no bread?'"
Why are you worrying about something that I've already worked out? Why are you doubting something that you've already seen Me do so many times before? "'Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, but fail to see, and ears, but fail to hear and don't you remember when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up? "Twelve," they replied". When I read that, I thought the significance of the miracle was in the numbers. You know, five is the number of grace in the Bible, it represents grace, it's symbolic, 12 disciples, 12 tribes, the number of government, so I thought it was about the numbers, but then verse 20 says, "And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up"? And then, I said, "Seven's the number of completion". And 4000, really, I can't really do anything with that. "They answered, "Seven". And He said, 'Do you still not understand?'" And then I read it again, verse 19, verse 19, verse 19, "'When I broke...'", and then I read verse 20: "'When I broke...'"
And I realized the significance of the miracle is that the bread had to be broken. They wouldn't understand this, really, until He went to the cross. They ate the bread, but they did not understand the significance until He was crushed for our transgressions and bruised for our inequities, because the Bread couldn't be given until it was broken. When you are in a breaking season of your life, and you are being broken of your pride and your stubbornness, your opinions, and you're straining against the wind, it is easy to begin to believe that it is going to break you, but God will not allow life to break you, that's His job. And when you're in His hands, like the songs said, prepare that chorus of "Do it Again", we're gonna sing it. I'm still in your hands. We're gonna sing that. And we're gonna understand that the lesson of the loaves isn't that everybody went home with a full belly, the lesson of the loaves is this, the end of your story is not that you are broken, the end of the story is the basket fulls. This story does not end in brokenness. This story ends with leftovers. I wanna let you know today this is significant, God is not done with you. I said God is not done with you. I'm preaching this word for somebody who's been straining against the wind, grace is coming to your boat, the bread is in the Master's hands. And the bread was only broken to be given. Lift your hands in the presence of God, no one moving. This is my confidence, that He is faithful.
I'm still in Your hands
This is my confidence
You've never failed me yet
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness
I'm still in Your hands
This is my confidence
You've never failed me yet
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness
I'm still in Your hands
This is my confidence, you never failed me yet.
Listen, here's what you do, you take what you learned from the loaves and you remember it in the storm. You take the basketful from the last time that God provided for you and the next time the wind begins to rage in your life, you remember that if Jesus is in this boat with me, if I draw near to God, He will draw near to me. And as we worship Him as the son of God today, the wind has to die down. Anxiety has to shut its mouth in the presence of God because we know who He is and we've seen what He's done, we have faith for what's He's gonna do. Does anybody believe He is with you in this season?