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The Other Side

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“Let us cross over to the other side.”

(Mark 4:35)

One thing that I learned on my trip to the Holy Land was the significance of Jesus saying in Mark 4:35 (NKJV),  “Let us cross over to the other side.” I was standing on the Northern shore of Galilee at Capernaum when our guide told us what was meant by going over to the other side.

That day Jesus was also in Capernaum probably not far from where I was standing. He wanted to go to Bethsaida which is also on the northern shore of Galilee, so how was that going over to the other side? We were told that the Jordan River, which flowed into Galilee,  was the boundary between the Tetrarchies of Herod Antipas on the Western or Capernaum side of the Jordan, and Herod Phillip on the Eastern or Bethsaida side of the Jordan. It was Herod Phillip who had executed John the Baptist, so these journeys, although routine for the fishermen, was not without dangers for wandering rabbis preaching repentance, especially if they happened to be drawing large crowds.

The disciples had accepted Jesus’ direction to cross but had not grasped the importance of what He had said. For them it was just a few kilometers to row, no big deal, that is until a storm came and water was coming over the sides and filling the boat. It must have been a really bad one to scare these men who had been doing trips like this as their livelihood for generations. They spoke really harshly to Him. “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Jesus just calmed the storm and then rebuked them for their lack of faith. We can sometimes think that is unreasonable for Jesus to speak like that to men who were in fear for their lives. The lesson for us is that Jesus had said “Let us cross over to the other side”. So on this occasion, the disciples had the instructions and the anointing from the Son of God to get to the other side. They should have rebuked the storm themselves and resumed their journey safely.

Crossing to the other side in the scriptures seems to always be accompanied by a significant God moment. The Israelites had clear direction from God to cross the Red Sea, it was the foundational moment in their birth as a nation and was accompanied by signs and wonders. It must have taken great faith to walk between those two walls of water. Later, at the end of their wilderness travels, Joshua was instructed by God to take the people across the Jordan and then to capture Jericho. Again the waters parted, and they crossed on dry land.

The third example is a little different. In 1Samuel 17, we find the story of David and Goliath. The rampant Philistine war machine had invaded the land and was intent on subjugating the Israelites once and for all. The Israelite army led by Saul were most definitely the underdogs here. Saul was not stupid, however and he had picked his position carefully. His army had drawn their battle lines on a hillside above the valley of Elah. The Philistine approach found them having to camp on the opposite side of the valley. It was springtime and the river Elah, although dry later in Summer had saturated the ground of the valley floor. Whichever side tried to take advantage and advance across the valley would get bogged down and take heavy losses. We all know the story of David and Goliath. How David accepted the one man, winner takes all, challenge from Goliath and killed him in the name of God. This was a case where it was clearly unwise to cross over to the other side of the valley of Elah. God directed David in how to obtain the victory for his nation without crossing over to the other side.

From a church perspective, we are all together embarked on a journey through the Covid crisis. We are most definitely moving to the other side. God is directing our path and we look forward in anticipation of what He has in store for us.

The Last Word

Bob Gass has a few words on personal application that I think are useful:-

“The one thing the enemy doesn’t want you to do is get through this and reach the other side! He doesn’t care if you go to church, or slip into a robe and sing in the choir; he just doesn’t want you to reach your destiny! But what’s waiting for you on the other side is worth everything you are going through at the moment. Paul says, “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6). Change is not cheap, and it sure isn’t easy! Before there is a resurrection, there must be a cross.

Paul said, “When I was a child, … I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11). It’s time to stop thinking like a child. You’ve got to put it away and grow up! No one can do it for you! You alone can make this painful sacrifice before God. Without it, you can’t reach the blessings of God that are waiting for you on the other side. What do you need to change today? Your schedule, to make room for God? Your friends, because they’re robbing you of your strength and spirituality? Your habits, because they’re draining and defeating you? Your words, because you’re speaking unbelief instead of faith?”

Today get into God’s presence and ask Him to help you get through this and reach the other side.

He will!

2 replies on “The Other Side”

I loved this devotional. I will look foreward to reaching the other side daily in my thinking……purposefully nurturing my faith.

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