The classroom was unconventional, the student body was small, but the education was priceless. It all took place in the span of a few hours in a boat (Matt. 14:22-33), not exactly where we might expect to advance our higher education. For those who pay attention to such things, this is not unusual. The Lord always surprises us. He certainly used terrible circumstances to educate His men in the early morning hours that day. The lessons came fast and furious.
Jesus sent the crowds home and the disciples into a boat while He went off to pray. Lucky crowds! A bad storm was brewing that night, and they were in the comfort and security of their homes. No wind. No rain. No fear. And No schooling. His little band of followers was ordered into discomfort and insecurity, a couple of great educators.
They quickly saw that obeying the master teacher did not insulate them from storms. It did not guarantee that they would not be battered by the forces of life. Before their life’s journey would be completed they would encounter every imaginable dilemma. No, being a disciple does not make the skies clear or the world change. Clouds will gather. Weather happens to Christian and atheist alike. Discipleship does not change that.
In the midst of all that stormy mess they saw something that those safe and sound at home would never see. Jesus walked on water. They did not hear it second hand or read it in a book. Their very eyes watched as He strolled across the sea. Words are one thing, but this was a demonstration of power and authority that they would never forget. And it emboldened at least one of them.
Peter challenged the Lord to challenge him. He wanted to duplicate the feat of Jesus…and he did! It was a short lived walk on the water, but he did it. Jesus commanded and he obeyed. It did not take too many gusts of winds to get his attention, to scare and sink him, but he would surely never forget what he did. Would you forget walking on water? Doubtful, even it was just a step or two. Those who insist on being comfy and cozy at home will never know anything like that. The hesitant who linger in safety far removed from combat will never find out what those on the battlefield know. Walking on water does not happen at home.
The conclusion of this whole episode is seen in the response of the little group of disciples. They found out what those who never got in the boat would never know in the way that they did. They learned about themselves and the One who stands atop the sea and commands storms into submission. They learned about the Son of God, and they worshiped. Impossible situations created by unconditional discipleship teach us lessons that the timid and cautious will never know. For those who dare, their concept of Jesus and their worship will never be the same.
Call to Praise Scripture: Revelation 21:1-5
His Word on it: Philippians 1:23
Sermon: “A Half Hour in Heaven”