Is Jesus In Your Boat?
The day was by now far spent and the hour was late, but oh what a day it had been. Such a miraculous display of compassion and power, such an astonishing event to witness indeed. Who would have thought that such a large crowd of well over 5000 people could have been fed with the 2 small fish and 5 loaves of bread from a young boy's lunch. But, that was exactly how it happened.
After everyone who was present had finished eating their fill, they still collected 12 baskets full of leftovers! You should have seen the look of wonder and amazement on the little boys face, who had given Jesus the bread and the fish, when he received in return those 12 full baskets as his increase on the "seed" he had sown into the ministry of Jesus that day.
Yes, it was a very eventful day to say the least. But because of the crowd desiring to make Jesus their king and provider, because of the great miracle he had done, Jesus asked the disciples to cross over the sea and go on ahead and to Bethsaida. Jesus decided to stay behind, disperse the crowds and most importantly get away alone on a remote mountain to commune with the Father to pray and gain strength.
As evening was closing in, the disciples launched out marveling at what they had witnessed that day while each one dutifully tended their appointed tasks of setting the sail, adjusting the rigging, or tugging at the oars. Yes they were tired, but there was just something about being with Jesus that made them feel so special. Maybe it was the way the crowd treated them with such envy and respect, and why not, after all they were the appointed 12! Yes, there's something about being with Jesus that's so energizing and exhilarating, that seems to always result in a much needed second wind so as to keep one going. But Jesus stayed behind for a specific purpose.
As the evening wore on, the weather suddenly took a distinct turn for the worse. The sky grew dark and a great wind came upon the sea, threatening waves began to beat upon the small vessel that creaked and groaned as it rocked from side to side. These men were no strangers to the sea and it didn't take long for reality to set in - they were in trouble!
As they frantically fought to make headway against the strong wind and the raging sea, that special feeling of being a part of the "inner circle" was no where to be found as they faced the fierceness of the storm. Oh how the night seemed to pass so slowly by - the first watch, then the second, then the third . . . would this night never end? Thoughts of fear began to overtake them as they came to grips with the frailty of their humanity and the apparent finality of their situation. They were just men like any other, and they were in desperate need of help.
Earlier that evening Jesus took special note of the perilous situation the men had fallen prey to as He gazed out across the sea, concerned with the plight of His friends. At the fourth watch, as the dawn of the new day was approaching, when hope was nearly gone, Jesus came walking out to meet them in the midst of their struggle. At first they can't believe their eyes, "it must be a ghost!" they cry. Jesus extends a warm greeting that attacks the very root of their fears with the comforting words of assurance that everything's going to be all right by stating, "Be of good courage, it is I, be not afraid."
By coming out to meet them walking on the water, Jesus was instilling the truth into the very core of their being that, "I am your sustenance, all things, all circumstances that could ever be are under my feet - I'm all that you need!" As Jesus climbs into their boat, the winds cease, and peace, security, tranquility and a knowing that everything is going to be okay dominates the moment. The Master is here, and all is well.
We are no different than these men, we at times see our own abilities and strengths, even our position in life as enough to get us through whatever may come. Without even thinking about it we can exhibit an "I can do it myself attitude" if we're not careful to watch ourselves. That's just human nature. However the man or woman that comes to the place of recognizing the important fact that we are dependent upon Him, and starts and continues throughout the day with the Lord's presence, will be victorious in all that they do.
The Lord never said we would go through life with no struggles or storms, but He did promise that He would be there with us, and would get us through them in victory. The disciples were seasoned fishermen, they had great talents in their vocation to take care of whatever would come their way, and in their self confidence they neglected to get Jesus into their boat. Yes, I'm sure they would have made it through no doubt, but it would have been much easier, and less stressful if they would have had the Lord with them. Take a moment and reflect upon your life and present situation right now - Is Jesus in your boat?