Jesus Can Walk on Water. So Why Did He Get in the Boat?

The story of Jesus walking on water, in the midst of a storm and in the wee hours of the morning, is one of my favorites. This story is rich in spiritual truth, but I want to zero in on one question. Why did Jesus get in the boat? Here is the scene. (By the way, you can read three complimentary accounts of this story in Matthew 14, Mark 6 and John 6.)  Jesus had sent the disciples on ahead him earlier in the evening but a storm arose in the night. Even though the disciples had been straining against the oars all night long, they had only progressed three or four miles. They were in the middle of the lake when Jesus came walking up. Mark described the scene as if Jesus was about to pass them by when the frightened disciples cried out (Mark 6:48).  At which point Jesus responded, “Do not fear, it is I.”  Matthew described Peter’s incredible steps of faith and subsequent failure. After that Jesus got in the boat, the sea and the wind grew calm, and the disciples worshiped Him. John (an expert eyewitness) says that “immediately they were on shore.” In an instant they were moved from the middle of the lake to the shore. Wow. So back to the question. Why did Jesus get in the boat? He could have walked across on the water or He could have transported Himself, and the boat full of disciples, to the shore without getting in the boat.  Keep in mind that the reason the disciples were in the boat and headed to the place where they would minister the next day was because Jesus told them to go. In other words, they were exactly where Jesus told them to be and attempting to do what He commanded them to do. Think of the boat as a picture of the church and the disciples as members of the church. You have tax collectors, betrayers, those who would deny Jesus and all manner of sinners. You get the picture. So here is the church trying to do what Jesus commanded in their own strength and making little headway. Jesus steps into the boat, in response to their crying out and everything changes. They experience His presence and they worship. The sea and wind grew calm and suddenly supernatural things started to occur. I think Jesus stepped into the boat to communicate His desire to be with them and to help them. To say, “I can give you strength to do the things I have called you to do. Even in the darkest part of the night and the deepest part of the storm, I will come to you. If you want to battle in your own strength, I will let you; however, if you will call to me in faith, I will bring you through and you will experience me in a profound way.”  Are you in a storm today? Is your boat taking on water? Are you making little headway? Are you battling in your own strength? Invite Jesus into your boat.

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