ATP Blog #36
Have you ever had the chance to try something you have never done before? How about doing something you never thought that you could do? Right after the shocker of 5000+ people being fed with a small lunch, the disciples had that opportunity.
Solitude It started with a quiet time break. “When Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him King, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.” Again, Jesus is worn out from doing ministry, and heads out for a quiet break, even from His disciples. I wonder what they were doing, other than distributing the leftovers to the poor, or something like that. Jesus’ favourite break was solitude, and time in prayer with the Father. What a great example to follow! God promises rest to those who ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ (Psalm 46:10) That was exactly what Jesus was doing. This is also how all Christians find their best refreshment, and preparation for more ministry.
Boat The disciples, having run out of things to do, followed the Master’s plan, and sought to cross the lake in a boat to Capernaum. Matthew 14:22 tells us that Jesus sent His disciples ahead of Him across the lake while He prayed. Being fishermen, at least some of them, you would think that they would expect the unexpected, yet we find them struggling. “The sea arose because a great wind was blowing.” (v18) So, they rowed hard to stay afloat and get safely to their destination. Jesus had sent them into a tough situation, even though they didn’t know it would be tough, to get them away from the crowds, and distracted from the mission of the crowds. Many of the disciples may have been thinking the same way as the crowds: that Jesus should assert His authority, and take over as King of Israel, driving out the Romans (and Pharisees), but that was not His mission. Often after a ‘mountaintop experience’ (like a miracle), God brings you to a tough challenge to help us get a better perspective.
Walk Do you believe in ghosts? Apparently the apostles may have. They saw a figure walking on the water, and since humans cannot walk on top of water (except in Manitoba in Winter), they assumed it must be a ghost! The other gospels tell us that Jesus was about to walk by, and “the disciples were afraid.” (v19) So, instead of walking by, Jesus called out to them “It is I; do not be afraid.” (v20) The Gospel of Matthew (14) tells us that there is an interchange, where Peter gets out of the boat and walks to Jesus on the water! Jesus invited him to join in the miracle to test his faith. The wind and the waves distracted, causing Peter to lose focus and sink, until Jesus rescued him, and asked, ‘Why did you doubt?’ (v31)
Calm To further assure his frightened disciples, Jesus climbed into the boat with them and, “they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.” (v21) Again, Matthew adds some details not in John’s gospel, stating that the wind immediately calmed, and the disciples declared their belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. In the storms of life, Jesus offers peace, and evidence that He is indeed God with us. Will you invite Him into the boat? It is only after He entered the boat, that the calm came. Then another miracle occurred: they were immediately at land!
Let us let the Water-Walker give us the example and increase for our faith to grow, calming our spirits and helping us have confidence to do what He has called us to do, even if it seems impossible.