Blessed… Why Did the Disciple Cross the Lake?

Now when Jesus saw the crowd, he ordered his disciples to go over to the other side of the lake. A legal expert came and said to him, “Teacher, I’ll follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens, and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Human One has no place to lay his head.” Another man, one of his disciples, said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead” (Matthew 8:18-22, Common English Bible).

Large crowds seemed to follow Jesus and the disciples wherever they went during the entire Gospel narrative. Some came to seek healing. Who can blame them. If you have been suffering for many years or perhaps your entire life why wouldn’t you come to a man who could fix your problems with only a touch or a spoken word.

Others came for a glimpse of Jesus’ power. We are still a few chapters away (Matthew 14) from Jesus feeding the 5000. But perhaps at least some of those who gathered that day wanted to see what they could get from the miraculous man from Galilee.

Still others came for the show. In an era when entertainment opportunities were very limited, particularly for those without wealth, this was a chance to see someone do great feats. It was time to be amazed.

Others came to learn from this teacher who taught unlike the scribes and keepers of the law. They wanted to hear one who taught with authority. If you are going to listen to someone, wouldn’t it be the one you believed actually knew what he/she was talking about?

When Jesus tells the disciples to go to the other side of the lake, at least in part, it is to get away from the crowds. Think about it. If you are trying to teach a few people how to do something, is it easier to teach with a few people looking on or a large crowd. I think it safe to say the smaller crowd the easier it is to teach. That is the environment Jesus was seeking at the Sea (or Lake depending on your translation) of Galilee.

There were two would-be disciples who weren’t ready for the cost of discipleship. The first is an expert in the law. He tells Jesus he will follow him anywhere. I think that his problem was, he was seeking an easy way to power. He saw himself as Jesus’ number 2. He would be ( in his own mind) a kind of crown prince. Jesus saw through this and essentially turned the man down flat. Jesus was looking for people who would serve, not those seeking their own power.

Jesus still seeks disciples who aren’t looking at him as a source of entertainment. He doesn’t need people who are after whatever power they might get.

What Jesus still needs, what Jesus still calls for is, people who will go to serve. That is our call. That is the call for all of us and throughout all of history.

If Jesus looked at you, what would he see? Would he see a servant?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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