the Second Week of Lent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
John 6:14 , John 6:15
He again put away the crown of temporal sovereignty, just as he had done when the devil tempted him in the wilderness.
Their sails could not help them, and they made so little headway that by midnight they were only in the middle of the lake.
And in the fourth watch of the night when the morning was drawing near
Trench has beautifully said: “In the first storm (Matthew 8:24) he was present in the ship with them; and thus they must have felt all along that, if it came to the worst, they might rouse him; while the mere sense of his presence must have given them the sense of a comparative security. But he will not have them to be clinging only to the sense of his bodily presence; they must not be as ivy, needing always an outward support, but as hardy forest trees, which can brave a blast; and this time he puts them forth into the danger alone, even as some loving mother-bird thrusts her fledglings from the nest, that they may find their own wings and learn to use them. And by the issue he will awaken in them a confidence in his ever-ready help; for as his walking on the sea must have been altogether unimagined by them, they may have easily despaired of that help reaching them, and yet it does not fail them. When he has tried them to the uttermost, “ in the fourth watch of the night,” he appears beside them, thus teaching them for all their after life, in all coming storms of temptation, that he is near them; that, however he may not be seen always by their bodily eyes, and however they may seem cut off from his assistance, yet is he indeed a very present help in time of trouble.”
He gave him permission.
How remarkable his sensations! How joyful and yet how trembling, must Peter have been! What wonders his faith performed!
Where he had half hoped to be distinguished for superior courage he reveals his timidity, and is humbled thereby. Unbelief alone made him sink, he removed his eye from his Lord to the billows. Have we not acted in a similar manner more than once?
Saving him first, and then gently chiding him. If he spoke thus to Peter, what would he say to some of us who are far more unbelieving?
Matthew 14:32 , Matthew 14:33
His Godhead was clear to them, and they adored him.
“If it be thou” oh! bid me come,
Dark though the waters be;
I will not fear, if thou art near,
And bid’st me come to thee.
“If it be thou,” the storm may swell
Obedient to thy will;
For thou canst all its fury quell,
And bid its waves “Be still.”
“If it be thou!” Oh yes, it is!
My Saviour’s voice I hear,
He tells my soul that I am his,
And he is ever near.
“Lord, evermore give us this bread.”
Those who followed Jesus with a wrong motive soon found that he did not care for their company, and was gone from them, they knew not how. If we attend places of worship with worldly motives, we shall one day find out as these people did, that “Jesus was not there.”
John 6:22 , John 6:23
John is particular in noticing our Lord’s thanksgiving; spiritual minds remark and remember most the spiritual parts of any action. The Jews noticed the bread and the fish, but the beloved disciple was most pleased with the giving of thanks. Oh for a spiritual eye!
Here was much zeal and outward respect, but it was blind and selfish, and therefore the Lord set no store by it.
With an unerring glance he read their hearts. They fancied that they were fond of him and his kingdom; he knew that far grosser affections ruled them; this he told them plainly to their faces, and bade them seek more noble objects.
The most godlike work, the greatest, and most acceptable, is that we believe in Jesus. Faith is, after all, the noblest of works, and none have it but those in whom God himself has placed it.
They wanted feeding again, and thought that by such talk they would induce the Lord to make them another banquet. They spoke of bread from heaven, little caring where it came from, so long as they might but be filled with it. It is wonderful that Jesus had patience to listen to their greedy and crafty insinuations.
Some thus prayed in honest ignorance, expecting to have food for nothing from his hand every day; but others merely said this in taunt, deridingly setting it before the Lord as the test of his Messiahship that he should give them bread all their lives. Yet they have, unwittingly, furnished us with a petition which we may hourly use; it is full of meaning, and exactly expresses our need and our desire. Let us carry it with us all this day as our heart’s wish and prayer ”Lord, evermore give us this bread.”
Oh! labour ye not for perishing meat;
For Jesus hath brought his body to eat;
Himself the true leaven, the life-giving bread,
He came down from heaven to quicken the dead.
To hearts unrenew’d ‘tis hard to believe
His body for food how Jesus can give;
But he who partaketh doth inwardly feed,
And knows that it maketh a banquet indeed!