Right then, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead to the other side of the lake while he dismissed the crowds. When he sent them away, he went up onto a mountain by himself to pray. Evening came and he was alone. Meanwhile, the boat, fighting a strong headwind, was being battered by the waves and was already far away from land. Very early in the morning he came to his disciples, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified and said, “It’s a ghost!” They were so frightened they screamed. Just then Jesus spoke to them, “Be encouraged! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” Peter replied, “Lord, if it’s you, order me to come to you on the water.” And Jesus said, “Come.” Then Peter got out of the boat and was walking on the water toward Jesus. But when Peter saw the strong wind, he became frightened. As he began to sink, he shouted, “Lord, rescue me!” Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him, saying, “You man of weak faith! Why did you begin to have doubts?” When they got into the boat, the wind settled down. Then those in the boat worshiped Jesus and said, “You must be God’s Son!” (Matthew 14:22-33, Common English Bible)
I love book titles. I don’t always read the book, but often, I love the title. There is Jim Moore’s book Yes, Lord I Have Sinned But Have Several Excellent Excuses (I love many of his titles and have read many of his books, but this one is my favorite). Another favorite is, Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide?: ‘Cause I Need More Room for My Plasma TV by Karen Spears Zacharias. I have tried to read this book several times but find I get easily distracted and end up setting it down for long periods of time. Yet another is, If You Want to Walk on Water You Have to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg. I have the book but have never even tried to read it. I have read other books by Ortberg but I have not read this one.
I find it amazing how right Ortberg is in the title of this book. We might ask Jesus to call us out onto the water, but we are all too often afraid to leave the relative comfort of the boat!
Today’s story is the classic, Peter (I always say Peter as the miracle wasn’t Jesus walking on the water, it was Peter doing so) walking on the water. After a long day that was supposed to be a day to rest, alone time, the crowds followed Jesus and the disciples to a more secluded place where Jesus had compassion and healed their sick and, the disciples fed more than 5000 people a miraculous fish dinner.
Now, in today’s lesson, Jesus sends the disciples ahead in the boat while he does spend some alone time in prayer. As the disciples move across the Sea of Galilee a storm comes up on them and it is a pretty frightening experience. Suddenly they see something they know to be impossible and yet it is happening anyway. They see a man walking on the water. When they realize it is Jesus Peter tells Jesus, if it is really him, Peter wants Jesus to call him out on the water too. Jesus does.
All too often, that is where we stop. We often give Peter a bad rap because his faith wavered while doing the impossible. Before we point fingers we might should take a look in the mirror. At least Peter got out of the boat. All too often it is where we want to stay.
For our purposes, the Church is the boat. We experience growth to prepare us to go out and serve the world in the name of Christ, but we want to remain on the boat. It is safe there. Our faith isn’t tested there. We think we are happy there. Yet Jesus calls us to leave the boat and walk on the water!
What keeps you on the boat?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved