Sometimes when we read familiar Sunday school stories in the Bible it is easy to skim read or jump between the pages. When reading the four gospels I often think immediately many of the passages are identical in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. During my chronological readings I am learning that this is absolutely not the case. The differences between the details, and writing style between each book are enormously vast.
This morning, one of the stories encountered in my quiet time was the well-known account of Jesus walking on the water. But, as I read, the story came alive for me in a way it never has before! One of the phenomenal things about the word of God is it is living, active and effective continuously. The bible’s ability to speak into our lives individually is unlike any other text ever written in the history of mankind.
In Mark’s account, found in Chapter 6, the situation is described starting in verse 45. The disciples were on the lake in their boat. They were fighting violent waves, howling fierce winds, and likely, physical exhaustion as well (they were quite a distance from land). Jesus walked out on the water and was prepared to pass them by, until they cried out in fear terrified! Walking on water was so inexplainable they thought surely they must be seeing a ghost. Jesus replied with with words of comfort, “Take courage. It is I! Don’t be afraid.”
You’ve heard this story before, several times, but hang with me on this! In Matthews account, found in chapter 14, we learn that Peter stepped out with courage and also briefly walked on the water. But, what spoke to my heart is something I have previously overlooked. Jesus never rebuked the wind and waves (like He had in other passages). In fact, all three accounts of this story indicate that He never spoke to the weather elements to calm them. He simply– “climbed into the boat and the winds died down.” (Matt 14:32, Mark 6:51)
Jesus possessed such a silent authority that even the winds and waves bowed to Him without a spoken word.
I have had a stormy few days myself, it has felt like the wind and waves were mercilessly tossing me around! Honestly, I have felt a little out of control and subject to circumstances I cannot calm in my own power. The truth is, the presence of Jesus is enough to calm any storm in my life.
When I read the last account of this same story in John, I was amazed at a few words that pierced my heart. John 6:21 says, “ Then they were willing to take him into the boat…” Could it be that we don’t have peace in some of ours life’s struggles and storms because we are not willing to take Jesus in the boat with us? You see, in my life, I find this often to be true– many times I don’t want Jesus get to in the boat with me, rather, I want Jesus to take me out of the boat! My prayers are to be taken out of the stormy situation rather then allowing Jesus into the boat to enable me to float through it peacefully.
Regardless of what your storm looks like, regardless of how fierce and disturbing the winds are, how terrifying the violent waves are, the presence of Jesus is enough. It is enough. Sometimes, when we want the trials to end and are pleading solely for relief, we miss the privilege of the miraculous calming presence of Jesus floating peacefully with us. Are you willing to take Jesus into the boat?