A Night’s Journey (A Great Example of a Biblical Harmony )

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

(An excerpt from the free e-Booklet, The Jericho Experience, this is a lengthy Bble study)

“. . . A great example of a biblical harmony can be seen when we compare the storm(s) Jesus and his disciples went through on the Sea of Galilee, as are recorded in gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and we will look at the three accounts separately, starting in Matthew.

Matthew 8:23-27:
-23: And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
-24: And, behold, there arose {or there became} a great tempest in {or within}, the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
-25: And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
-26: And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
-27: But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

To help us distinguish the timing of this event from another related one that we will look at momentarily, let us first notice that the placement of these verses above were before Jesus had called the Twelve Apostles. They were first disciples, i.e., disciplined and committed followers; and then they were chosen as Apostles commencing from Matthew 10:1-2, onward, and so the disciples in the verses above were not yet the Apostles. Let us further note that Matthew was not with Jesus and the other disciples until Matthew 9:9, which was after the crossing and storm that we just quoted above from Matthew 8:23-27.

“And, behold, there arose a great tempest in {within}, the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves” (Matthew 8:24). The word tempest is the Greek word seismos and means a shaking; we get our English word seismic from this word. Unlike a storm that is caused from approaching winds and rains of a formidable weather system and intensifying as it approaches, a seismos is an earth-shattering commotion that emanates up from underground or from beneath the sea floor and is caused from the vibrating and shifting to and fro of the earth’s crust along its fault planes. In fact, everyplace this word seismos is used in the entire Bible it is always translated as an “earthquake” except here in Matthew 8:24 (See Matthew 24:7; 27:54; and 28:2). Almost certainly, the translators of Matthew were trying to help clarify the harmonies of another storm in Mark and Luke by translating this Greek word seismos into the English word tempest, when it is obviously clear that seismos should have been translated into the word, earthquake, just as it was translated properly twelve other times in the Bible.

This particular earthquake, or seismos, recorded in Matthew was significantly amplified by the use of the word great!

Now the phrase insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves is interesting because it shows us that Jesus was not in a hollowed out or an opened-decked ship filling up with water, but in the hold below (downstairs) safe from all the goings on above on deck and fast asleep during this earthquake, whereupon his disciples rushed into him, “and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish” (Matthew 8:25). They asked Jesus for help because their faith was literally shaken at that moment. “And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose” (Matthew 8:26).

Jesus first responds by questioning the fears of his disciples, and stating they combined have little faith, which, mind you, is some faith, but it is not a whole lot of faith. Then after this discussion on little faith Jesus arose, “and {then, he} rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm” (Matthew 8:26).

I can just picture the stillness over the sea now peaceful and tranquil, and not only the environment was calm, but also the hearts and nervous systems of the disciples because the Physician of the heart was present and ministering to their immediate needs and fears, just as he is with us. So awesome must have been the contrast between the noise of the earthquake and swaying waters and then the complete silence of the sea that “the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him” (Matthew 8:27). The answer to What manner of man is this, is that he is perfect, and he is our personal friend and Savior!

When Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea, he worked two separate miracles. The calming of the sea that the earthquake stirred up into raging, topsy-turvy seas, Jesus rebuked as the first miracle. Miracle number two was the stilling of the wind. Of note is that the wind was not a windstorm of any kind; rather, the wind was whatever wind that happened to be blowing that night ― ceased.

The earthquake was over before Jesus actually woke up, but the aftermath of the tumultuousness still caused the ship to be covered with the waves and when Jesus ceased the wind and the sea, the night’s frights were over.

Let us now move over into the Gospel of Mark and look at a similar, though not identical event, as we just read in Matthew’s Gospel:

Mark 4:36-41:
-36: And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
-37: And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
-38: And he {Jesus} was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
-39: And he arose, rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
-40: And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
-41: And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Only with a hurried reading of these verses can one imagine this is the same story as we just looked at in Matthew’s Gospel, and the “harminators” (to coin a word), must be hoping that you will believe the two accounts are harmonized or their books will appear practically worthless. Although honestly they are not valueless, I use harmonies now and then to help me locate and study similar events that those books have produced and claimed to be identical. I should tell you that I have never seen a harmony that is completely accurate, but so long as we learn to separate truth from error, then those types of books do have something of value to offer. Often they are edited with great precision and care, and reveal inspiring details that we would perhaps miss on our own, and without a doubt, they contain valuable insights. However, the Word of God is our primary source to finding him who is the way, as the Scriptures are already synchronized to the nature and heart of our wonderful Savior.

“And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships” (Mark 4:36). They never sent away the multitude in Matthew’s Gospel as they did here in Mark. They took him (Jesus) into the ship, meaning the Apostles brought Jesus with them, while in Matthew’s Gospel, “his disciples followed him” into the ship (Matthew 8:23). Again, this is a difference in the order of events, plus here in Mark, there were also with him other little ships, but in Matthew’s account we read about one ship ― only.

“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full” (Mark 4:37). The Greek word for storm is laliaps meaning a squall, a tempest of wind and rain, a whirlwind or hurricane, but not a seismos, an earthquake, as we read in Matthew chapter 8. Now when someone attempts to make both the stormy tempest of wind and the earthquake into one and the same event, we are savvy and able to know the truthful and honest findings of the two separate passages at hand. Simply separating them brings clarity of thought.

To imply that the account in Matthew’s Gospel was an airborne storm just to synchronize it with Mark is only accepting someone’s hot air (Ephesians 2:2, 4:14), but it is not believing in the fresh air that is detailed in “Every Scripture is God-breathed” (II Timothy 3:16, The Amplified Bible **), of God’s perfect Word.

“And he {Jesus} was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38). Here the Apostles did not ask Jesus for any help whatsoever; as they had asked before in Matthew 8:25 pleading, Lord, save us! Rather, in this circumstance they accused Jesus, saying in essence, “Don’t you care that we are about to die” ― perish. This is so typical of many people, they read that God is their refuge from the storms of life (Isaiah 25:4), they say it, they admit it to all their friends, shout it out to their neighbors, and preach it from teaching pulpits. But when they really need spiritual strength, help, and guidance, they all too often fall apart, confessing that they have been let down ― abandoned or punished by God, when neither are true as wrong thinking and believing is what manifest such thoughts that bring such fears into fruition. It is truth that makes you free, not error, “(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee” (Deuteronomy 4:31).

Hebrews 13:5:
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

James 1:13:
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

“And he arose, rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4: 39–40). Notice in Mark that Jesus first arose while in Matthew’s account Jesus confronted the disciples unbelief before he arose (Matthew 8:26). The reason that Jesus first arose, rebuked the wind, and silenced the sea’s fury was because they were in much more dire need and in real jeopardy of sinking into the depths of the Sea of Galilee. Remember they were in an uncovered ship, and that ship was now full of water, and as well, the storm was still bearing its fury down upon them, and so the circumstances where much more calamitous.

In Mark, Jesus first rebukes the wind and calms the sea, and THEN he questions, Why are ye so fearful? Whereas in Matthew Jesus FIRST questions, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26). But in Mark, Jesus questions, how is it that ye have no faith?

In Matthew 8:26 Jesus points out that they have “little faith,” and there is a difference between having “no faith” and having a “little faith,” because with just a “little faith” one can believe (Matthew 6:30).

Jesus said, “If ye have faith as {small as} a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matthew 17:20). But without faith, we can find no biblical promises to call to our aid in times of trouble and need.

In Mark, there was no faith – whatsoever – none to be seen, and thus, they had no faith to draw on in a moment of great terror.

Two Old Testament passage from the Amplified Bible come to mind:

Psalms 107:27-30 (The Amplified Bible): *
-27: They reel to and fro and stagger like a drunken man and are at their wits’ end [all their wisdom has come to nothing].
-28: Then they cry {i.e., prayed} to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses.
-29: He hushes the storm to a calm and to a gentle whisper, so that the waves of the sea are still.
-30: Then the men are glad because of the calm, and He brings them to their desired haven.

Proverbs 3:25-26 (The Amplified Bible): *
25: Be not afraid of sudden terror and panic, nor of the stormy blast or the storm and ruin of the wicked when it comes [for you will be guiltless],
26: For the Lord shall be your confidence, firm and strong, and shall keep your foot from being caught [in a trap or some hidden danger].

Unbelief and fear is the very reason why they accused Jesus of not caring about their immediate plight in Mark’s Gospel. Also, this is the reason they “feared exceedingly” (Mark 4:41), but in Matthew 8:27 they “marveled”; these are totally opposing emotions.

Now we will look at a comparable situation to Matthew and Mark in the Gospel of Luke to see if this third accounting lines up with either of the first two accounts, or if this Gospel reveals a third crossing.

We are still looking for Jesus who is the way and the more harmony that we can glean, the greater we will be able to recognize the perfection of both the Word of God and of His Son (John 1:14).

Luke 8:22-25:
-22: Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.
-23: But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
-24: And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
-25: And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.

The Gospel of Luke, even on the surface appears to be a record of the same night’s epic as we just read in Mark. If so, then combining the two recordings can only help supplement as well as harmonize the two accounts, adding supportive information to balance the twofold story God wanted us to understand. Plus, if the two recordings are about the same crossing, then this will help set apart Matthew’s detailed account to being one of a separate voyage altogether.

Now if Mark and Luke are truly about the same occurrence, the identical time, and the precise place ― then this would be a true, biblical harmony that combines at least two Gospel accounts together, unlike the Jericho story, which was a continuing event seen from the Gospels.

In Luke 6:13 we read, “And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles.” This verse in Luke is chronologically set before the verses above on the lake and the storm from Luke 8:22-25, so that when Jesus was on that ship, his Apostles were with him. Plus, Luke 6:15 showed the Apostle Matthew present, whereas during the earthquake Matthew was unknown to Jesus and not present. Recall in Matthew’s Gospel, the earthquake happened before Jesus’ disciples were called to be his Apostles, further cementing the truth that there are at least two separate crossings on the Sea of Galilee from two different passages of Scripture and two unrelated times and events.

Now in Luke, we do not read “And there were also with him other little ships” like we read in Mark 4:36, but we also do not read anything that would dispute this addition, so if this is the same account, then Mark just reveals a detail that will perfectly fit without disputing anything Luke would reveal. “But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy” (Luke 8:23). In Matthew, the earthquake came up from the sea floor, but this storm came down. The Greek word for storm is laliaps, the same Greek word we read in Mark, and even though Mark does not say the storm came down as Luke does, Mark brought our attention to the rising seas, saying, “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship (Mark 4:37), thus filling the ship up with water as it was an uncovered ship without a hold beneath as we read the Gospel of Matthew. Is not the Word of God so precisely exhilarating when we observe how identical stories can augment and add to one another?

“But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy” (Luke 8:23). This flows with Mark’s account, but Luke also adds the word jeopardy to express the urgency of the sinking situation the Apostles were in, as this story still agrees with Mark without any contradictions.

“And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish” (Luke 8:24). Again, they do not ask Jesus for any help, as Mark also showed. “Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm” (Luke 8:24). This also coincides with Mark, that Jesus first arose and rebuked both the wind and the sea, making two miracles as Jesus did in Matthew’s Gospel, and thus Luke adds the words and they ceased (though we should note that in all we now have four miracles on the sea of Galilee and two separate voyages).

“And he said unto them, Where is your faith? (Luke 8:25). This is further testimony that these are the identical account that Mark reported, because the Apostles not only did not have any faith, but Jesus had to ask, where did it go, Where is your faith? It was blown away, gone out to sea, and dissipated out into the four winds. “And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him” (Luke 8:25). Here Luke adds the Apostles being afraid wondered, Mark includes they “feared exceedingly” (Mark 4:41), wonder and exceeding fear, what a mix of emotions to go through, what a relief it must have been to finally pass through this unharmed.

We can easily follow along with the two accounts of Mark and Luke as they continue to expand in the support of each other. Each additional verse contributes more colorful details while allowing the account to become vibrant and without error, as they help open up our understanding of what happened on that terrifying, blustery night.

This story is not over, there is so much more that we can learn from them, but let us read down a little further in the two identical accounts from Luke and Mark and see where they went, and what happened, and then we will go back to Matthew and bring out a few more details for you that are enlightening.

Luke 8:26 reads, “And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes which is over against Galilee.” The country of the Gadarenes is located at the southeastern borders of the Sea of Galilee, and extending over to a geographical area approximately six miles southeast from the Sea of Galilee (inland to the city of Gradara), and directly east of where the Jordan River exits down to the Dead Sea. Mark 5:1 also reads, “And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.” In both of these accounts, Jesus heals one possessed man, and both descriptions divulge the same story, each adding separate details that combined make a complete narrative (See Mark 5:1-17, and Luke 8:27-37).

Now in Matthew 8:28, we will read about a different story and landing, “And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes {notice the place we read in Mark and Luke was the Gadarenes, not the Gergesenes} there met him two possessed with devils.” The Gergesenes and Gadarenes are similar looking words with nearly the same number of syllables, but they are not identical words or the same place, and there were two possessed men in Matthew, but only one possessed man is seen in both Mark and Luke. The reason for this difference is (again) because this is a completely separate story and place altogether than the ones we read about in Mark and Luke.

Gergesenes is not a town but an area of small towns or seaside hamlets and villages located midway along the eastern banks of the Sea of Galilee north of the country of the Gadarenes, while the country of the Gadarenes is further south and east.

The Gergesenes is the reading of the vast amount of Manuscripts left to us (TCB Page 1325***), while there has been a longtime movement to merge the words Gergesenes and Gadarenes for the simple purpose of forcing the harmony of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Some scholars combine both places to read, “Gadarenes-Gerasenes” as though Matthew, Mark, and Luke actually meant both places (ZEB Vol. 2. Page 623****), but this attempt only leads away from him who is the way, and further away from the great truth of Jesus’ life and the two separate miracles as we learn of the very works sake, with the two separate crossings we have conclusively observed.

We have some similar-sounding towns in Maine such as Nobleboro and Waldoboro that are in close proximity to each other, but no one would even consider combining these towns into one! And, anyone living in the midcoast region can find Waldo! Just as true, the writers of the Gospels also knew the difference between Gergesenes and Gadarenes. Even with the stretch of our imaginations, we cannot honestly meld both regions into one or both separate stories into one, because they do not add up to the identical occurrence or place, so let us just allow them to be the way that coincides with the written truth – and – then, believe what is written in the Word.

Years ago, I was visiting a good friend of mine who lived on Staten Island in New York, and as I was leaving the city on my trip back up to the Portland, Maine area, I had planned on traveling as far up as Massachusetts before stopping for gas. It seemed to me that the night’s drive through New York went on for a very long time. The same scenery appeared to go on for miles and miles without changing as my gas gauge began running lower, so I stopped for some more fuel, and I asked the attendant, “How many more miles before I am out of New York?” and he started laughing. “What is so funny?” I questioned, and he replied “Well, you are almost in New Hampshire; this is the last stop before you leave Massachusetts.”

Perhaps I was just impatient and wanted to get home as quick as I could and I never bothered to read any of the road signs. On the road that night from New York, I could not tell when one city stopped and the next one began because I never saw a break in all the night lights and I felt a little silly when the attendant chuckled, but at least I was almost home. At the time, all I was concerned about is making sure that I stayed on Route One, which would lead me right home and to my front door. This is like the Word of God which confirms the truth; if the searcher will only look at all the road signs clearly marked throughout the Bible, they will see the very distinct path that leads directly to Jesus Christ, and further up to our future home in heaven.

Many of the harmonies and other Bible study aids and helps out there often do not delineate the signposts that distinguish the differences between Gergesenes and Gadarenes; they are all too hurried to follow through with the minute details. Thus, they do not take the time to notice if there is any difference between one or two crossings, or one or two blind men at Jericho, let alone four blind men, so they simply overlap them with jargon that confuses the subject for many a Bible student. Still, they trudge on through the divine narration and integrate the places, the towns, the people, and the separate events into unclear harmonies, and that at the expense of biblical illumination.

Have you seen the game that is shown on children’s television shows, or written in children’s puzzle books that you often find in doctor’s or dentist’s waiting rooms, where we see three or four objects or cartoons of people and one of them is different in one way or another? They then ask, sometimes in songs, “one of these is not the same; can you find the different one?” And you know the kids find the different one right away; they see, for instance, the puppet with only one eye, while the others have two eyes. They see the character that is wearing a blue and red striped sweater, when the others have on a solid red one. When they look even closer, they see that the one in the striped sweater also has only one eyebrow, only one shoe, only one button, etcetera. But when children grow up and go into the ministry, for some unknown reason they forget the lessons they learned as children. When it comes to the Bible, they forget what they learned in kindergarten and cannot see the one that is different, as if their common sense along with the rules of language and structure vanish from their heart’s foundation.

Matthew 18:4, and 19:14:
-4: Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
-14: But Jesus said, Suffer {allow} little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

I am certain that when Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote (for God, II Peter 1:20-21), they were certain about the places that wrote about, and as well, I do not believe they were trying to confuse the harminators or anyone else for that matter. You know, to me it often appears that sometimes people are more concerned with getting the minutest details correct when studying the confusing scrolls and writings and ramblings of the imaginations we have from such false prophets as Nostradamus and others, than when they are studying the true prophecy of all eternity. Jesus warned us about such false prophets: Matthew 24:23-26 reads, “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ {a messiah}, or there {he is}; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before {John 16:1-4}. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers {“store chamber” where blessings and rewards (from God) are given out (See Mathew 6:6 ― BUT}; believe it not.”

Luke 11:42:
But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint {sweet scents, used in biblical times to spread on the floors of synagogues, and in their homes} and rue {plants} and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment {justice} and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

There is a similar verse to this one in Matthew 23:32 and guess what? The harmonies combine the two verses, although this one in Luke is addressed to only the Pharisees, while Matthew’s is addressed to both Scribes and Pharisees, and was delivered at a different time, and is not an identical verse, or spoken for the same reasons. When Jesus used the word Pharisees, he literally was referring to people who conduct themselves in a strict manner and are bogged down in details that confuse them (II Timothy 3:7), and unfortunately, they are missing the true light that is trying to shine through.

Jesus, in Luke 11:42, was teaching how to receive the greatest blessings in life, and that people need a balance in their lives so as not to go so far overboard and forget the simplest matters of life like true spiritual justice. These biblical truths come to us when we simply walk in love and enjoy the wonderful details discovered in the Word.

In Matthew 7:14 Jesus said “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” The way is Jesus Christ and he leads the few to an enjoyable life and the fullness of God.

The Bible never instructs believers to make harmonies out of the Gospels, but to see and acknowledge the way and then walk with him who walks with God.

Why are many of the events in the Gospels so similar? That is a very good question and I do NOT have all the answers. I would like to point out though that they only appear alike until one’s heart opens up in a sincere search to know his or her Lord and Savior, and then they become very different subjects that are detailed in meticulous ways that thrill and uplift the believing heart for guidance and daily inspiration. For then God in Christ begins pouring understanding into those hearts, and fills them with the warm light of the fullness of God.

God could have inspired a thousand Gospels or more that would be so completely different that no one would ever be able to confuse any one of them with another. After all, God has made no two snowflakes alike and no two people are the same, so our heavenly Father knows how to make things different. You may have noticed the countless variations of the color green in a forest; it is a most amazing array that He provided for our blessing. Have you seen how the morning or evening skies change into an infinite number of pastel colors ever so slightly with every moment and with every blink of our eyes? Still there are no two sunrises or sunsets alike. These are because our God is multifaceted, and so is the detailed life of Jesus that we are able to discover from the Gospels.

God certainly had enough material to work with to make many more Gospels, as John points out to us in his Gospel. “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25).

I say, let us begin by being thankful that God supplied us with only four short Gospels, and that you and I are some of the fortunate few who now know about the two separate lake crossings and how many blind men Jesus actually healed in his travels in the region of Jericho.

John 20:30-31:
-30: And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
-31: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Jesus did so much more in the presence of his disciples that is not recorded; he had done many more signs than what is written for us in the four Gospels, and still I propose that it would take more time than there is left in this world to actually see and understand all Jesus had done from what God revealed for us in those four little Gospels. For the Scriptures are alive, “they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63), and they are ever rejuvenating and growing in the believer’s heart. What is revealed to us is as the Apostle wrote, written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Hebrews 4:2 records, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” One can spend a lifetime, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Timothy 3:7). When folks do not add their believing faith with what is written in the Word of God, then it is absolutely possible to imagine almost anything under the sun, but heavenly truth will remain veiled to them (See I Corinthians 1:18–31; and II Corinthians 3:12-17).

When we supply our own believing faith, we effortlessly will be “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), and then Jesus helps perfect our faith, for Jesus completes our believing faith.

“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17), but when it is heard out of concert, read distorted from books, and preached inaccurately, then the Word cannot bring understanding, and the inherent profit is hindered from giving rest unto one’s soul, “For we which have believed {the Word} do enter into rest” (Hebrews 4:3).

In John 5:38 Jesus said, “And ye have not his {God’s} word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.” Believing in God’s Word ― is believing in Jesus Christ, and therefore, believing in Jesus Christ is believing in God’s Word, this is how the preached Word becomes mixed with faith and then effortlessly the living profit in the Word springs to life in one’s inner soul.

Matthew 11:27-30:
-27: All things {Jesus said} are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
-28: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
-29: Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
-30: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Jesus “saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed (John 20:29).

Today, we do not literally see Jesus; we have not walked and talked with him on the road to Emmaus or heard his teachings ― live.

We have not seen his miracles, but with our believing faith we have traveled with him, we have sailed across the Sea of Galilee twice, and we have seen him open the eyes of the blind on the waysides and highway of Jericho, and we have experienced these by our believing faith that Jesus performed such amazing miracles. Therefore, we certainly are blessed, because blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed!

We, as well as those in the Gospels, have been confronted with our faith to believe the Word. Jesus questions, where is your faith? This is still being asked, and is still a challenge from God’s living Word to us in grace. Jesus said learn of me, and have we? Have we found the promised rest unto our souls through Christ? Is our faith lost in the fog, carried away out into the storm and shaken up by the skepticism of the crowds, or is our believing faith being inspired to grow in the knowledge of the author and finisher of our faith, and are we walking with him who is the way as we enjoy the peaceful rest that Jesus gives to our soul?

The Bible is figuratively our burning bush, like Moses who saw the bush and heard the Word of God – the Bible is our evidence of spiritual matters – it is the connection point between that which is physical and that which is truly spiritual.

I Corinthians 2:9-10 records, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep {the spiritual depths of the true} things of God.” Through following Jesus Christ in the Scriptures, we are lead to the way that directs our hearts into the realities of our heavenly Father.

I Corinthians 1:18:
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

The preaching of the cross is to preach the details of all that the cross of Christ made available to us, and is plainly seen in the Gospels as we continue learning more and more about our risen Savior and our faith is our window into the promises of God.

The word perish in I Corinthians 1:18 relates to those who have yet to be saved (but does not mean they never will be saved), as many unsaved people do think that the Bible is nothing but a bunch of foolishness or a book of condemnation; nevertheless, to those who are saved, they have begun to grasp the wonderfulness contained in the depths of Word of God.

Whenever we believers begin understanding the Scriptures, it is because the spiritual power of God is at work in our inner hearts, and because Christ is enlightening and is inspiring within, “Christ {is} the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (I Corinthians 1:24).

Most assuredly, we have been drawn in closer to our Lord and Savior’s love through acquiring an understanding of the Gospels, and we are, as Jesus said to Thomas, blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

II Corinthians 9:15 cheers, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” The essence of the words unspeakable gift is that knowing and walking with God is beyond words, still faith is our connection to him, and we certainly may be thankful to have been able to spiritually see Jesus in the Word of life.

I Peter 1:8:
Whom {Jesus Christ} having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

Hebrews 4:12 informs us “the word of God is quick, and powerful” and this can be translated as, “The Word of God is living energy.” The Amplified Bible** renders this to read as follows, “For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective].”

Whenever there is a true harmony between different sections within the books of the Bible, they will never run at cross purposes or subtract from each other, but rather will highlight as well as supplement the details of divine light. They always will bring one closer to the Bible’s intrinsic subject ― Jesus Christ, who is not only the way, but also the complete tapestry of the truth. . .”

*Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE, Old Testament copyright (c) 1965, 1989 by the Zondervan Corporation.
Used by permission.

**Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission

***(TCB) Companion Bible, The. Reprint, Grand Rapids:
Zondervan, 1974.

****(ZEB) Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, 5 vols.
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1972.

Unrighteousness – Yucky / Righteousness – M’mm, M’mm Good!

If we confess our sins, he {God} is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness- I John 1:9. After our salvation, do we still fall prey to temptations and are we swayed by the sin nature? Yes, all Christians will be tempted, and blow it even after salvation, and it is at this point believers feel that they have lost their salvation, that their relationship with God has been severed, and condemnation thus begins reigning supreme in the conscious mind. So what do we do at this point to regain our good standing with God? From the time of our salvation, onward, until Christ returns, we simply confess our mistakes or shortcomings to God in prayer to receive forgiveness, thus cleansing all that yucky unrighteousness, and adding all that good stuff called righteousness (reread I John 1:9, above).” ~LMJ~

The Best Way Out!

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it- I Corinthians 10:13. Whenever you pass through a temptation believing that God will help you out, you will inevitably become stronger, more courageous, and be victorious. Evil never lasts; it always subsides and God will always show you the light at the end of the tunnel, and guide you to the easiest and best way out.” ~LMJ~

Deliver Us from Evil

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The will of God is our deliverance from all evil. Some people believe or at least suspect that God tempts us, and that He also punishes His children when they slip up. This is not the truth of the Bible. God’s desire is that we may escape all temptations, and He can indeed help us out of any negative situation in which we may find ourselves. Let us read what God said in II Corinthians:

II Corinthians 1:10 – Who {God} delivered {past tense} us from so great a death {because we are saved}, and doth deliver {present tense}: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us {future tense};

Not only has God delivered us in the past, but He continues to deliver us currently, and in our future we also have the promise of even more deliverance to be given to us. As a child I always thought that God was out to get me, and that He was keeping a score, and I was absolutely afraid of Him. However, I have learned by experience that “God is love” (I John 4:8), and that He in love always wants to deliver us from evil.

James 1:13 – Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

Well praise God! God says “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11). God loves us and He desires that we have “an expected end,” an end that is really just the beginning that we can look forward to in anticipation rather than being in any kind of fear.

II Thessalonians 3:3 – But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

I Corinthians 10:13 – There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer {allow} you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

God Himself is faithful and He is always able to keep and to protect you from evil. True, temptation and evil do come our way from time to time, but they never come from our God, and whenever there are temptations to deal with He will always make a way to escape. As we resist our temptations, God will always deliver us from evil, for He is our “refuge from the storm” (Isaiah 25:4).

Whenever you pass through a temptation believing that God will help you out, you will inevitably become stronger, more courageous, and be victorious. Evil never lasts, it always subsides and God will always show you the light at the end of the tunnel, and guide you to the easiest and best way out.

So today please look to your heavenly Father and allow Him to be your guiding light.

Our Ministry and Word of Reconciliation

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

After our salvation, do we still fall prey to temptations and are we swayed by the sin nature? Yes, all Christians will be tempted and stumble even after salvation, and it is at this point that all too many believers feel that they have lost their salvation, that their relationship with God has been totally severed, and condemnation thus begins reigning in the conscious mind. So what do we do at this point to regain our good standing with God? From the time of our salvation, onward, until Christ returns, we simply confess our mistakes or shortcomings to God in prayer to receive forgiveness. This is a major component of our God-given ministry and word of reconciliation.

I John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he {God} is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

We can say, it just cannot be that easy, but the Bible says it is because God is faithful! The word, confess means to agree in our minds that yes, we indeed have made a mistake. God allows us to honestly admit to Him personally that we have made an error. This is the way God designed our continued forgiveness. God knows that we will blow it from time to time, so He has given to us an easy way back into fellowship with Him. When we become honest within our hearts and simply say something like this: “Yes, I blew it. I am truly sorry. I will try my best to walk with You today. I am honestly thankful that You have cleansed me from any and all unrighteousness, and I thank you for this in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ.” Then our heavenly Father instantly and faithfully forgives and cleanses us from our shortcomings and again shows us that we have His righteousness to walk with Him in His divine love. The reason that our God can completely forgive us is because of what the Savior from sin has accomplished for us.

Through your continued forgiveness, you may honestly believe that you are never alone, you are not an island unto yourself, you have God in Christ in you, you are a fellow worker with God, your Savior, and with fellow believers. You will never be separated from the love of God or from the love of your Savior (Romans 8:35–39). You are a member in particular of a unified body (I Corinthians 12:27), a “whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16). You are in Christ, and thus YOU are GOD’S BEST!

II Corinthians 5:17–18:
-17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature {creation}: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
-18: And all things {that have become new to us in Christ} are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

Jesus Christ has reconciled us to God by what he accomplished for us back in the times of the Gospel period. Now in this time of God’s divine grace that we live in and enjoy, the Epistles make known to us that God has given to us the actual ministry of reconciliation. Indeed, we may help inspire others into their own salvation, and thus show others the ministry of reconciliation they themselves can enjoy in Christ. However, this ministry is primarily given to the individual believer so we may continuously have our own reconciliation that is confirmed before our heavenly Father. When Jesus was physically here he reconciled people back to God, but today in grace we live in the completed work of Christ, enjoying our own reconciliation. This is a God-given right, and we can always walk within our reconciliation before our God.

II Corinthians 5:19:  To wit {to know}, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them {not charging their sins back to them}; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

With the word of reconciliation does not come the permission to impute sins to others; we do not condemn anyone as per instructions from God’s Word ― rather we bless and love one another with the word of reconciliation. All too often in Christian circles, we become proficient at fault-finding and being critical of the sins of others, but God in Christ did not do this ― they did not impute or condemn us, rather they forgave and loved. The Bible says in Romans 2:1, he who “judgest doeth the same thing.” We have been given the word of reconciliation to love, to encourage, to bless, and to instruct people into the ways of God’s love and forgiveness. We should be so thankful that God accepted us and that we have received the grace of God and His forgiveness, and reciprocate these blessings. This is the fountainhead of Christianity, of love, of life enjoyed with our heavenly Father. In the Old Testament we read, “O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth” (Psalms 94:1), and the New Testament also says, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19). Vengeance is never given to man to dispense ― ever, in the Bible. We repay “the kindness and love of God” to one another (see Titus 3:1–7), and Romans 13:8 says, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” We owe God’s love to one another; this is what we may repay to our fellow man and in doing so we will have fulfilled the law.

I Corinthians 3:9 informs us that “we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry {garden}, ye are God’s building.” What an awesome privilege! God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden, and today He considers us His very own garden, and we are His building. We walk with God in a very unique way and with incredible privileges because we are labourers together with God. “We then, as workers together with him {God}, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain” (II Corinthians 6:1). To receive the grace of God in vain is to never acknowledge Him and all that we are to Him in grace as His beloved children.

Every time we confess our sin to God, every time God cleanses us from unrighteousness, we are using the ministry of reconciliation, and by being in fellowship with Him, we may help others into this wonderful, cleansing ministry. God has, “quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:5–6). This is God’s elevated view of you and me because we are His garden and His abode; we are members of “the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:21–22). Can you imagine that we are the actual habitation of God? Well, the Bible says so, so this must be true!

The word committed in II Corinthians 5:19 above, means to put into ― us, and what God puts into us is His Word, the Word that gives us the God-given right and permission to continually be reconciled to God. The Word of reconciliation would almost be totally worthless if it came without the ministry that allows us to use it. The word ministry means to have a service for benefit that can be fully applied. It also comes with the God-given permission to walk within our calling of God in this ministry.

Within the ministry of reconciliation that each of us has, we also have been given the Word, placed within our hearts, and this is what gives us the ability to be reconciled. You see, we have Christ in us (Colossians 1:27), and he is the Word (John 1:14), and thus we have the Word in us. Spiritually speaking, we are inseparable from God by being in Christ and by being heirs of heaven itself (Romans 8:16–17). The more we learn about the Christ within, the more of the Word of reconciliation we can aspire to for daily use as we become ever more gentler, Christ-like people, and certainly more happy in our daily travels.

II Corinthians 5:20: Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you {call you} by us {the Apostles}: we pray you in Christ’s stead {place}, be ye reconciled to God.

With the ministry and Word of reconciliation, we have been given an appointment, a God-given ambassadorship to live here on earth in Christ’s stead, enjoying the true reconciliation that Christ made available for us. We being ambassadors for Christ today represent his completed work not only for ourselves, but also for the people we know and talk with, and we may witness to them with all the authority God has commissioned and given us as Christ’s own ambassadors who “shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life” (Philippians 2:15–16).

We are citizens of heaven itself (Colossians 1:13, I Thessalonians 1:12), and we are ambassadors here on earth for Christ (II Corinthians 5:20), and we are commissioned to share the Gospel with others. God has given to us diplomatic immunity from the course and evils of this world (Ephesians 2:2–6), from the old man nature (Romans 6:6–12), from sin that can so easily beset and entangle us (Hebrews 12:1), so we may be free to serve Him and enjoy our lives immersed in the graces of God.

II Corinthians 5:21: For he {God} hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Jesus took our sins, becoming sin for us, so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ, who is now in us, with the Word and ministry of reconciliation. This is what allows each believer to maintain their fellowship with God; we have the ability to continually be renewed in the spirit of our minds by the Word that we have received, and that Word becomes manifested as we believe that we have been given the ministry and Word of reconciliation. Thus, we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

II Corinthians 5:17–21 (The Amplified Bible)**:
17: Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!
18: But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him].
19: It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor).
20: So we are Christ’s ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were through us. We [as Christ’s personal representatives] beg you for His sake to lay hold of the divine favor [now offered you] and be reconciled to God.
21: For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].

**Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.