Sunday, December 7, 2014

Get In The Boat, II of II

Get In The Boat, II of II
December 8, 2014
Matthew 14:22  "Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd."

After the Disciples' first ministry tour across the Sea of Galilee, they came back.  What a relief; they made it successfully.  Though there was that initial scary storm on the way there, Jesus calmed the waters and the ministry across the lake was positive.  They made it back home just fine.  After a few more miracles and life changing instructions from Jesus, He suggested it was time to go on another ministry tour back to the scary side of the lake with all the heathens again.  This time, though, Jesus told them to go on ahead of Him in the boat and He would catch up with them on the other side.  The Disciples reasoned Jesus would hitch a ride on another boat but they were confident enough this ministry tour to head out as instructed by the Son of the Living God.

Since, again, it was a long ride across the lake, the Disciples had much time for conversation.  Surely they might have discussed Jesus, His impact on their lives and their families, what they might experience on this next ministry tour, maybe a little conversation of the recent miracles or possibly some banter about the Pharisees.  Whatever the conversational distraction, they were shocked by what they experienced next.  They saw a ghost hovering over the waters.  Now this story is covered in three of the gospels and if you read it in all three places, you'll find at this moment that: Jesus MADE them go on ahead of Him, the Disciples were about four miles into the lake and had been rowing all night, it was now approximately three in the morning, it was the darkest part of the night, the lake waters were getting rough again, and there was a storm brewing.  And THEN they saw a ghost.

You'd think the Disciples had learned on the first ministry tour across the lake that Jesus was in control, but apparently not.  They were experiencing their second fright night and this time a ghost was coming at them.  They were afraid because Jesus wasn't in the boat with them; He couldn't rescue them this time.  Surely this time was different and they were all gonna die out there, drowning in the lake.  When it was clear enough so see the full figure of the ghost, Jesus had to TELL them it was Him and to relax, to not be afraid AGAIN.  Jesus was shocked at their fear and they didn't believe it was really Jesus.  Recall Peter questioned Him to prove it by allowing Peter to walk on the water.  Then Peter got distracted away from Jesus again.  Of course Peter began to sink in the water after he stepped out of the boat toward Jesus; he was afraid.  He was afraid on the first tour across the lake, and he was afraid this time around.  He wasn't fully confident yet in the person of Jesus.

This second ministry tour taught the Disciples another valuable lesson.  Though it may not seem the Lord is there, you are never beyond His reach.  Though it is in the darkest part of the night, the storm is brewing again, and you can't see Jesus, He is still a bigger God than your circumstances.  Jesus sent the Disciples on this ministry tour and He wasn't gonna let them die by drowning, despite their fears.  They left with confidence but since they were not looking at Jesus surely disaster was upon them when things got rough again.  Not so.  If you know the Lord sent you and if you know the Lord is bigger than your circumstances and if you keep your eyes looking for Jesus, then it will all turn out just fine in the end.  The problem is, like the Disciples, we aren't always looking for Jesus and we stare at the circumstances around us.  We get so easily afraid, forgetting the power of the One who sent us.  It is easy to get fearful but the Lord would say to you the same thing He said to the Disciples out there on the rough waters, "Don't be afraid, it's Me."

Don't take my word for it; look it up: 
Matt 14, Mark 6, John 6

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