Sunday, November 30, 2014

Get In The Boat, I of II

Get In The Boat, I of II
December 1, 2014
Matthew 8:23  "Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him."

The Sea of Galilee was a huge player in the Bible.  It was an anchor in many stories, a baseline with which to measure.  Most, if not all, of the disciples were called to follow Jesus near the Sea of Galilee.  It is where Jesus declared He would make the disciples into fishers of men.  The Disciples started their tutelage under Jesus near the shores of the Sea of Galilee and many of Jesus' first miracles were within eyesight of that specific body of water.  The shores represented the start of the disciples' ministry.  Then Jesus did something crazy.  He told the disciples to get into a boat with Him and cross over to the other side of the lake.  The other side of the lake was full of heathens, a tiresome journey across a big body of water to a place where they might not be received well by others.  Prior to Jesus taking the disciples to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, the disciples hadn't spent much time over there.  It wasn't exactly a perfect tourism destination for Jews.

Crossing over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee represented a challenge to the disciples, their first set of challenges as disciples.  In fact, right at the edges of the water before they left, Jesus discussed the costs and challenges people would experience if they followed Jesus. They were willing to get in the boat with Jesus though, because He was leading.  The Sea of Galilee was about eight miles wide, a journey by row boat that could take 6-10 hours depending on the strength of the rowers.  If the boat had a sail, it wasn't a big sail; it wasn't a quick jaunt during that day and age.  Because of the long journey across, Jesus decided to take a rest, after all, it was dark, a perfect time to sleep.  Then the disciples experienced their first fright night.  A rough storm arose over the waters; it was so rough they feared for their lives. Death was imminent and I'm sure some questioned why they decided to follow Jesus in the first place.

Jesus saved the day, but never mind Jesus rising out of a slumber and quieting the waters for a moment.  The disciples had followed Jesus into ministry, being led into the middle of a storm over deep waters where death seemed only moments away.  This was their first fearful moment in following Jesus.  They followed the Lord and realized real quick it wasn't always going to be smooth waters.  What is extremely interesting is the response from Jesus when He awoke from His nap in the midst of the storm.  Jesus, before He calmed the waters, rebuked the disciples for their small amount of faith during the time of rough circumstances.  Then Jesus asked them why they were so afraid.  He was dumbfounded at the disciples response to the storm.  They had just experienced the power of Jesus on the shores and He was leading them on this ministry journey.  He was curious as to why they thought Jesus was going to let them drown.  The disciples were worried about physical drowning but Jesus was more concerned about their spiritual drowning (their lack of faith and fullness of fear).

Christian, Jesus has called you to follow Him and He may have asked you to follow Him in a boat to an impending challenge, facing rough waters along the way.  He did not call you to die, but to live through the rough waters with faith and fearlessness.  If He has called you, it is for a purpose.  You have witnessed His power and authority on the shoreline, and now when the storms of life arise do not look at the circumstances around you but remember the power and authority of the Lord.  Remember who has called you and remember who is in the boat with you.  Don't look to the rough circumstance, realize who has placed you on the journey.  It might not be a smooth ride, but He isn't going to let you die.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:
  Matt 4, Matt 8, Mark 4

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