Anglican Morning Devotion for 28 January 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. 16And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea, 17And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. 18And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. 19So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. 20But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. 21Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went. 22The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; 23(Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) 24When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. 25And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? 26Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. 28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent “ (JOHN 6:15-29: Lectionary text of the day; all scripture quoted from the King James Version)
“Be not afraid” is a comforting phrase used in God’s appearance to man. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10) Though the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, it is certainly not the end. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) Our mortal fear is transformed into spiritual and paternal fear as we draw nearer to the Throne of Grace and Mercy. We no longer fear the harsh judgments of sin, but rather that fear of a child in offending or bringing shame upon the name of his Father.
The disciples had just left sailing to the near side of Galilee at Capernaum, When they had rowed into the very center of the Sea of Galilee (twenty-five furlongs) a violent gale, sent by God, arose on the sea. Not only were they in the center of the Sea, but in the center of the darkness of night. When hope seems forlorn, even the greatest deliverance may appear as a frightening specter in the night. The disciples saw a figure walking toward them on the sea and feared greatly. Jesus, knowing always the thoughts of our hearts, realized their fear and spoke those words of greatest comfort for time and place, “It is I; be not afraid!” Even under the most horrifying of circumstances, if the Lord is in it, we need not be afraid for where He is, there is safety and comfort.
When we focus on the billows and breakers of the storm, our fears mount. But when we focus on Christ, regardless the outward storms, we are comforted. He brings an immediate cessation of the storms of the heart and immediately we are at our favored destiny.
Upon arrival at the far shore, Jesus was later found by those who had not seen Him depart in the ship. They wondered that He was so soon arrived at Capernaum. Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith. Only God can perform miracles, but these had followed because of their bellies being filled. Many today claim Christ and His Church as a social, business or political advantage. They care more for their flesh than they care for their souls. That is a tremendous tragedy since, regardless of its care, the flesh will perish along with all other benefits of this old world, but the soul is all we have that we will carry into eternity.
Man is too often preoccupied with the concerns of wealth and worldly goods that he omits the bigger values of the soul. As our Lord said: “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.”
We are truly dead in this life before we are called to Christ by the Holy Spirit. There is nothing we must DO to be destined to the fate of Hell. We are condemned already by the very blood of Adam flowing in our veins. And what must we do to enter Heaven? Likewise, there is no good works we can do to enter Heaven. We gain the crown by the simple faith granted through the inner workings of the Holy Ghost – none of our righteous works, only those of Christ.