Kingdom Potential

Early in his ministry, Jesus revealed himself to be a different type of teacher. He didn’t accept everyone who wished to follow him. The scribe who wished to follow was discouraged because Jesus said he didn’t have a fixed place to live. To the disciple who desired to stay and care for his father until his father died, was told that to follow Jesus was to leave behind loved ones. The point being that following Jesus was more important than having a home, more important than even maintaining expected familiar obligations when others could do so. These are implications of Jesus’ statement, “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” To follow Jesus is to discover life, not to follow Jesus is to forfeit that life.

Immediately after those two encounters, Jesus revealed his power and dominion over the earth. When the storm arose on the Sea of Galilee that threatened to submerge the ship, Jesus rebuked that storm and it became calm, so much so that Matthew described it as a great calm, a calm that was not a normal calm, but even more still and quiet than normal.

Since the time of Jesus, men have tried to explain Jesus’ great power in relationship to the natural laws of the world. How did Jesus calm the storm? Some conclude that these accounts in the gospels are fictional stories to encourage trust in Jesus. However, the fact that powerful works have been done by others who follow Jesus since the time of Jesus indicate that everything we read in the Gospels is factual. At creation God told Adam to subdue and have dominion over the entire world (Genesis 1:28), but when man sinned he also caused that same world to be corrupted (Romans 8:20). It is possible that the physical laws that we believe have always existed in the universe did not, because they too may have been corrupted when man sinned. That means we can’t be completely sure what physical laws were functioning on the earth prior to man’s disobedience to God. We also don’t know the extent of God’s command to subdue the earth given in Genesis 1:28. That could mean that Jesus when doing his powerful works while on earth, could have been revealing what God meant when he originally told Adam to subdue the earth, but because of sin, man lost that vision of what he could do. Add onto this Jesus’ statement to the disciples when they called out to him for help. He described them as having “little faith”, not “no faith”, but little or weak faith. What did Jesus mean by that statement? Did he mean that the disciples should have realized that Jesus could calm the storm, possibly he meant that the disciples should have understood that they could have calmed the storm. Later Jesus would tell his disciples that if they had the smallest of faith, they could move mountains. However, if we believe something is impossible, then we will never even attempt it. That is little faith. Even when we begin to attempt something we’ve never done before we may still fail, not because its impossible, but simply because we don’t have the maturity. For example, it is not true that an infant will never walk, run or speak clearly, just because they are unable to do so at birth. It just means that they have not developed the maturity to do those things. What we know and take for granted in the natural growth process of infants to children to adults, could also have its parallel in relationship to exhibiting the same powerful works that Jesus did. An infant grows and matures to do many things we all take for granted because that child is encouraged and taught to do so. In other words, the potential of a follower of Jesus, may be much greater than we have assumed, not because it is impossible, but because we suffer from little faith and fail to attempt and practice what Jesus did and indicated that we could do as well. We fail to encourage others to make the attempt and practice, because everyone is afraid of failure. Consider what Jesus said to his disciples, that every work he had done, anyone who believes in him will be able to do and even greater things than what Jesus himself did.(John 14:12). Jesus implied that what we consider impossible may not be impossible, when we actually believe and practice what he instructed us to do.

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