Wednesday, August 16, 2017

When Jesus Isn’t in Your Boat

As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night. Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o'clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. "A ghost!" they said, crying out in terror. But Jesus was quick to comfort them. "Courage, it's me. Don't be afraid."  Matthew 14:22-27
Our devotional thought from Monday may still be rolling through your mind.  I remember the yellow signs which were evident for a while in the windows of cars and vans that read, “BABY ON BOARD!”  The reason for the signs was to make anyone aware in case of an accident that they needed to look for a child.  Some even had multiple children on them to warn of more than one being in the vehicle.  It did not take long until others began to put their own signs in the car windows about pets being “on board” or, even worse, spoofs such as “Mother-in-Law In Trunk!” which sadly took away from the important child signage. 
Our passage from Matthew 8 related how fear gripped the hearts of the disciples even when they had a “Jesus On Board” for their boat.  Here in Matthew 11, we find them in the dark of early morning once again battered by winds on this lake which is known for its sudden storms.  The scripture doesn’t state they were frightened by the storm this time but by the appearance of Jesus walking on the waves of the lake out of the middle of the storm.  To use a bit of the common man’s language, they were “freaked out!”
I’m not going to tell you that I would not have been just as frightened if Jesus came to me like that.  I am going to tell you that I have had him come in a number of other ways and been nearly as surprised.  You see, when Jesus stays tucked away where he is supposed to be we are comfortable knowing He is close by ready to call on.  But when He approaches from outside our boat we are sometime uncomfortable when He calls.
That’s what happened to the Scribes and Pharisees.  They had God all wrapped up in the package of the law and the prophets.  They were quite comfortable relating to Him in that box.  But when He showed up in a fleshly form they could not accept Him and even feared His power over the people.  God in Jesus just did not fit their mold.
Say what you will, everyone has some kind of a box we try to fit God in.  Our theology is carefully written to describe who God is and how He acts.  When something spiritual happens we expect it to be in the confines of our religious acts.  Then all of a sudden Jesus comes walking on the water.  Now where is that supposed to fit?
Here is breaking news…Jesus does not live in a boat, or in a box or in a building called a church.  Jesus lives in the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient person of God.  He lives in me and all who have asked Him into their lives to guide and direct their steps.  He strides in His universe wherever He wishes to go and speaks through whoever or whatever He wishes to speak.  Can we handle that or do we really need Him to stay in the boat?
Open your spirit and your mind to receive Christ wherever He chooses to reveal Himself.  You may find that it wasn’t your faith that was too small but your view of God that limited His power in your life.  Walk on Jesus!  Walk on!

Scripture to Claim:
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:16-17

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