Some more fun today of passages that when set in context, provide a deeper meaning.
Why Peter walked
Jesus walking on water is recorded in 3 gospels:Matthew 14:22-34, Mark 6:45-53, and John 6:15-21.
In most translations the key exchange between Jesus and Peter, as seen in v26-29 picture the disciples afraid they are seeing a ghost walking on the water to them. Then Jesus saying 'It's me, don't be afraid', to which Peter replies something like, 'If it's really you command me to walk on the water to you.'
But that's not what was said
The Greek (and Amplified Bible) brings out the exchange was this:"Take courage. I AM. Now stop being afraid." "Lord, if you are, then command me to walk on the water to you."
That changes everything. The fear may have originally been they were seeing a ghostly apparition, but when Jesus said:'I AM, now stop being afraid', it both confirmed it was Jesus and asserted Who He really was.
When He said He was I AM, their minds would have gone immediately to the burning bush and Moses in Exodus 3:14-15. When Moses asked who was speaking to Him, the Lord replied:"I AM that I AM is speaking to you."
Jesus also claimed to be the I AM in John 8:58:"Truly, truly I tell you. Before Abraham was, I AM." We see Him state the claim again at His arrest, to show He was allowing Himself to be arrested, in John 18:5-6:
"Who are you looking for?" "Jesus of Nazareth." "And Jesus answered them, I AM....and when He had said 'I AM; immediately they were moved backwards and fell to the ground."
Additionally, in John 6:21 it says:"Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going." In other words, Jesus transported the boat with them in it roughly 2-3 miles across the lake (5km).
The summary is that He wasn't just calming them, He was stating that He is the Great I AM who spoke to Moses from the burning bush. Is it no wonder that 2 chapters later, in Matthew 16:16 when Jesus asked who they believe Him to be, Peter blurts out:"You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!"
The whole of Acts 7 is about Steven's defense before the Jewish leaders. We learn some things from his defense. He makes 2 main statements that are accepted as true, common knowledge to his accusers, but they are new to us. Though they aren't our focus.
The first is in 7:2-3 when he says the Lord appeared to Abraham to tell him to leave his homeland. Genesis 12:1 doesn't say He appeared to him, it merely says the Lord told him to leave. Steven adds that important detail which again, was common knowledge back then.
The second is in 7:22-25 where we learn Moses knew he was God's deliverer when he was 40 years old. Most Christians think the revelation came when he was 80 years old at the burning bush, but that is not the case.
Steven says in v25 that Moses killed the Egyptian (when he was 40) "For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them. But they understood not."
I teach on this often on the subject of being led of the Lord.
Moses had the revelation, but due to his education and experience, tried to help God make His promise come to pass. He killed the Egyptian thinking he would start a civil war, and he was capable of that due to his education and military experience. That mistake of trying to 'help' God, cost Moses 40 years of wilderness living before he saw the burning bush; a full 1/3 of his life.
The burning bush merely told him the timing and the way it would be done. Not by Moses's experience and war, but by God's miracle power. That will preach, as they say.
But our interest is at the end of the chapter, in vs 54-60.
Steve has given a history of the Jewish people, 2 points which I just covered.
What sealed his fate was v56:"And (Steven) said, 'Behold, I see the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.'" It was only then that they rushed him, took him out of the city and stoned him to death. We see his good heart in v60 asking the Father to forgive them of the sin of murdering him, and then he died. The first martyr.
Why the sudden rush to execution?
Steven said he saw the Son of man standing - standing - at the right hand of God. We miss this due to time and unfamiliarity with first century Judaism. But they believed God stands up when judging people.
It's based on Isaiah 3:13:"The Lord stands up to plead (accuse, contend with), and stands up to judge the people."
He saw Jesus standing next to the Father God - standing to judge Steven's accusers. Jesus was standing, waiting to see what Steven would do. Would he want them to be accountable for their sin of murdering him, or would he ask their sin to be forgiven? Jesus stood in judgement. Waiting.
Steven stood before the leaders accused of heresy, but when he said in fact they were being judged by the Lord, it was too much for them - and they executed him.
What is amazing is that when Steven asked:
"Lord (saying to the one standing), lay not this sin to their account", the Lord would have granted that forgiveness and sat back down. No judgement would be forth coming, at least not for that moment. For instead of judgement, Steven asked for forgiveness.
Jesus stood up ready to judge them if Steven wanted them to be held accountable. Had he been silent, that would have been the case. But he spoke up and asked for forgiveness for that sin - not their salvation, just on that one sin. Paul asked the Lord to forgive his friends who were afraid to appear in court with him. (II Timothy 4:16).
Again, lots of depth in each of these. Will close it out next week, until then, blessings,
http://www.cwowi.org and email me at email@example.com