Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Jesus’ actions, as reported in the Gospels, are sometimes very intimidating. The Evangelists are apparently persuaded that Jesus is, in fact, divine. He certainly acts upon that assumption. This account, which we should be reminded was written during the time period when there were still living eyewitnesses of the resurrection of Christ, and was apparently written by a companion of one of the people in the boat with Jesus, is no different.
I’d like us to notice quickly that Jesus, after working very hard, was tired. He was tired enough to be asleep in a boat, pitching on the water, probably with a bit of commotion as the fishermen guiding the boat were becoming fearful for their lives. This was no pleasure cruise. The fishermen were familiar with boats and with these waters. They knew when to be afraid they would drown.
It’s amazing how we sanitize Jesus and let him take a little nap because he isn’t good at rowing. On the contrary, he is bone tired and sleeping because he is exhausted. He is familiar with hardship. No matter how hard we work, and many times we work hard, we are no more exhausted than he. He knows our weakness.
When the apostles awaken Jesus, they awaken him with an accusation. They think he doesn’t care for them and that he is letting them go to their deaths! Nobody has ever awakened me in the middle of the night by asking me why I don’t care and am trying to bring on his death for him. I’m not sure how I would react to that. I would probably smack the person as an idiot and then grumble over losing some sleep.
That isn’t what Jesus does. What does he do? He goes and acts like God. He doesn’t smack the wind and the waves. That won’t do anything. He rebukes them. This is a very divine thing to do. But the one who created all things by his word (Genesis 1) is also able to govern them that way. When you or I go outside and tell the weather to change it is utterly unresponsive. But when Jesus tells the wind and waves they don’t have permission to kill his disciples just yet, they obey. In retrospect, this is consistent with the idea I opened with. Jesus seems to act like he thinks he is God. And all creation responds as if he’s right.
One last idea and I’ll quit. Jesus doesn’t let his disciples off the hook. They were accusing him of sending them to their death. He is the one who said, in verse 35, they should go across the lake. That’s exactly what he intended. And if Jesus plans to cross the lake, they will get across the lake. Jesus points out to his disciples that he will make sure they get to the destination. They are, after all, with him. They may not understand how he’s going to do it. They haven’t foreseen all the obstacles on the route. But he’s going to finish what he started. Again, this is consistent with the Jesus pattern that we see throughout the Bible. When he says he will do something, he always does it, even if it’s something impossible for us. He’s the ultimate credible witness.
The disciples are rebuked for their lack of faith. What happens then? He doesn’t fire them. He doesn’t toss them out of the boat, take the boat himself, and leave them behind. He doesn’t distance himself from them in any way. He has corrected them and they are corrected. There’s restoration.
How have we failed God? Not in any way that will prevent forgiveness and restoration. God’s mercy doesn’t give us a free pass to complain about him. But it does mean that whenever we are conscious of our sin and failure He will bring forgiveness. He’s able to do that also. He said so.
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