Get Out of The Boat
A rope 1,300 feet long, two inches in diameter and made entirely of hemp would be the sole thing separating him from the roiling waters below.
In 1858, at 35 years old, Charles Blondin became the first man to walk on a tight rope across Niagara Falls. He was fearless and performed many daring acts on a tight rope; one to include rolling a wheel barrow along a two inch wire suspended miles above the the river. The crowds would cheer, and some would bet on him falling to his death because Blondin did not use any kind of safety apparatus at all. When he brought up the wheelbarrow, he asked the crowd, "Do you think I can make it?" Some in the crowd cheered for him, "Yes, we believe in you, you can do it!" They believed this because they had seen him perform other amazing acts on the tight rope. He crossed over the river on the tight rope with the wheelbarrow and the crowd roared, cheering loudly. Then he asked, "Who will get in the wheelbarrow and cross the river with me?" The sound from the crowd was silence.
In 2011, Nik Wallenda, a descendant of famous tight ropers, was approved to attempt the same feet as Blondin, except, Nik was going to do it with all kinds of safety nets in place, to include having a helicopter near by to help him, "Just in case". Blondin had no such assurances, yet he bravely performed many acts on the tight rope.
There is another story of a daring act to defy nature. It happened one night thousands of years ago. It happened when 12 men were instructed to get on a boat and cross a sea to get to the other side. Before this new instruction, they had witnessed many great miraculous feats, greater than a man walking on a tightrope. The man walked on water, not on ski's or in a boat or some other floating device. No this man defied the very laws of gravity. That man was Jesus; the 12 men His chosen apostles. This particular story is very popular in the world. "Walkin' on water" is a common saying for someone doing something amazing in human eyes. But what Jesus did was just like any other day. His trust and faith were completely secure in His Father, God, which empowered Him-Jesus, to do the impossible.
Now, the main point to this post is not to discuss the amazing feats of Jesus and man. The focus of this post is about the bystanders/crowd, the 12 men. It is about their response to witnessing the great miraculous feat that I want to talk about here today. For the purpose of brevity, I will sum up what happened in Matthew Chapter 14. Jesus had just performed another miracle in feeding 5,000 starting with just 5 loaves of bread and two fish. Now historical records would indicate that it was probably more than 5,000 as more than just men would have following Him, the men would have their wives, children, and servants with them as well. After this, Jesus told His disciples to get in a boat and cross the Sea of Galilee and go before Him to the other side. This sea is about 13 miles long.
Let's stop here for a moment. It is Jesus, not some unreliable, good for nothing person, telling them to go; and, before this, besides the food miracle, the disciples had witnessed many other miracles as well. Jesus told them to go. *side bar that is the same instruction He gave to the disciples before He ascended back into heaven after sacrificing His body to the Cross of Calvary and rose from the dead. Jesus said"GO therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you; and lo, I am always with you, even to end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20. Simple instructions, go, why do we make it so complicated?*** OK, back to the focus of post*** Jesus tells them to get to the other side of sea in the boat, Jesus went off by Himself to pray.
So, at the beginning, when everything was copacetic, the multitude/disciples had their fill of food, it is a nice warm day, the Sea of Galilee is calm and pristine, they get on the boat and set sail. I can imagine their conversations, they may have been talking about the miracles Jesus was doing, or they may have been arguing among themselves who was best.
Some hours pass until it is night time, the disciples are in the boat and in the middle of the sea which becomes tossed by waves. It did not long before the calm waters turned to raging waves, knocking the boat and men around, the winds were violent and: "In the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went to them walking on the sea, and when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying ,"It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them saying, " Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." Matthew 14: 25-27. Now, we are not told that the sea had calmed down at this point.
When Jesus called out to the disciples, Peter, the only one brave enough said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." I love Jesus's responses, He doesn't use a lot of words and oratory dispensations, many times, He simply says, "Come", "Go" , "Stay". In this instance, all Jesus said was, "Come". Now Peter starts out great, he believes it is Jesus and he gets out of the boat and actually is defying nature himself, walking on the sea towards Jesus. But now Peter proves the principle, "It's not how you start, it's how you finish that wins the game". Peter made the number one mistake we who are followers of Christ tend to make when faced with difficult circumstances, he took his eyes off of Jesus. Now when taking his eyes off Jesus, he did not close them, no he looked at the storm, the raging waves, and fierce winds and he believed at that moment that his life was in danger, where was his belief in Jesus? Where is our faith when trouble comes? Like the crowds at the Blondin's tight rope act with the wheelbarrow, even though the crowd had seen him cross over the tight rope with the wheel barrow just fine, where did the crowds faith in him go when challenged with getting in the wheelbarrow and crossing the raging river over the tiny tight rope? One word that describes both reasons to for not putting their fate in another's hands, FEAR. Another word is DOUBT.
When face to face with the 'monster' our natural instincts tend to kick in, to either fight or flee. But when a person puts on Christ, they are not supposed to operate under the natural anymore. "I have been crucified (my flesh) with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20. and "God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of loved and of sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7. It is the Spirit of God that empowers His followers to operate in the spiritual realm. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. But Peter walking in the flesh, took his eyes off of the One Who Can save and strengthen him, and allowed fear and doubt to rein in his heart and he began to sink into the sea. Peter came to his senses and cried out to the only One who could save him. Peter did not cry out to the other disciples in the boat, or cry for them to put down a rope. No he called to the One true Savior, his Lord and King, Jesus; and Jesus did not hesitate to rescue him. Jesus stretched out His hand and said, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
This particular passage in the Bible is talking to us now in our present time. Many self professing Christians are like the other 11 disciples and Peter. Some are still in the boat, cowering, afraid, doubting, trusting more in the boat than anything else. Some are like Peter, they see Christ, but then they take their eyes off of Him and instead are like the seed that fell in the thorns, their cares/troubles are for the things of this world. Many are like the crowds at Blondin's shows, just standing on the side lines, cheering, but not willing to risk it all by participating in the stunt with him. Some are like Nik Wallenda, they only do things as long as they have a safety net in place. Many are not wanting or willing to risk it all for Christ. Think that staying in the boat or the side line is just fine. Not according to the written Word. Jesus Himself said in Luke 14:26-27 "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his father and mother, wife, and children, brothers and sisters, and yes his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." and at verse 33 in the same chapter, "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple."
So what is keeping you, me from getting out of the boat, stepping out of the side line in climbing into the wheelbarrow? Let us all examine ourselves, asking God to help us remove all forms of doubt and fear. His perfect love casts out fear. We have no need to worry about any trouble in this world as Jesus overcame it all with His blood. Trust in His blood, Trust in Him, Trust in the Father and Holy Spirit. They are all we need.
There is going to be a Day of Judgment, and God will judge everyone who has ever lived, His wrath is going to poured out on all the wicked and ungodly. The eyes of the unrepentant wicked need to be opened and the ears unplugged so they can see and hear the truth. The Good News is Salvation is a free gift from God, you can't work for it or buy because the price has already been paid with the Blood of Jesus Christ. and Believing in Jesus saves us from the righteous wrath of God. But that is not all, He gives us a new heart and mind NOW, and we receive some of His blessing from heaven NOW and are equipped to be able to live a life that is holy and acceptable to Him NOW.
1. Believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is real, He lived and died and rose from the grave.
2. Believe that you are a sinner, repent-turn from your sins and realize and accept you need Jesus.
3. Confess that Jesus is your Lord and God
4. Find a local Bible preaching church that does obey the commandment for water baptism for the remission of your sins and to identify yourself with Christ.
This is just the first step to a lifelong journey of growing in truth and love with the God who created this earth and everything in it, including every human being that has ever lived.
Bible verses related to this post: Matthew Chapter 14; Matthew 28:19-20; Matthew 14: 25-27;Galatians 2:20; 2 Timothy 1:7; Luke 14:26-27 and verse 33; Philippians 4:13; 1 John 4:18
Erica Harris is a God Gifted Christian Coach, Counselor, providing insights and truths from the Word of God, The Bible.