One day, Jesus got into a boat with his disciples (Luke 8:22)
It seems that getting into a boat was common back then. At least in the area where Jesus lived, because He got into boats pretty often.
And His disciples, they were used to getting in boats, too. Some of them were fishermen, after all. So I’m guessing that getting into boats for them was about as common as getting into cars for us.
On this particular day, Jesus’ invitation for his disciples to join Him in the boat wasn’t haphazard. The trip He had planned wasn’t for leisure.
The disciples didn’t know it at the time, but Jesus had a distinct purpose behind their voyage.
They accepted His invitation and got in the boat, at which point Jesus said, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed, He fell asleep (Luke 8:22-23).
As I picture this in my mind, I can’t help but smile. I wonder if He snored. I wonder what He dreamt of. I wonder whether He balled up His tunic under His head like a pillow.
It’s also interesting to me that, generally speaking, there’s no time when humans are more vulnerable than when they’re sleeping. Yet Jesus seemed to have no trouble drifting off into peaceful slumber.
In fact, when a windstorm came down on the lake, Jesus slept on. It wasn’t just a little storm, either. The Bible tells us that the boat was filling with water and they were in danger.
Still, He slept.
I suspect it’s because He knew the One who had ordained His days, so He also knew that no harm could come to Him before the appointed time.
So there’s a raging storm, Jesus is sleeping, and I don’t know about you, but I’m wondering what the disciples are thinking.
I bet they regretted getting into that boat.
Would they have chosen differently had they known about the storm ahead of time?
I kind of think so.
But at this point, the boat was far safer than jumping ship, so they woke Jesus, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” (Luke 8:24) When Jesus awoke, after rebuking and calming the storm, He turned His rebuke toward them: “Where is your faith?”
After all, He had preached. He had healed the sick. He had rebuked the religious leaders with authority and boldness. He had offered forgiveness of sins. He had even raised the dead.
And now after seeing His complete command over the creation He had sustained since the beginning of time (yet another evidence of His Godhood), somehow their response was to marvel and say to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even winds and water, and they obey Him?” (Luke 8:25)
The Bible doesn’t tell us His response to the still-unbelieving disciples. Did Jesus Christ ever roll His eyes? If so, now was surely an opportune time.
What we do know is that they sailed on to their destination, apparently uneventfully. And when they arrived in the city of Gerasenes, Jesus radically healed a demon-possessed man – a seemingly crazed, utter outcast from society who then turned around and told the entire city what Jesus had done for him.
And there you have it.
It’s why He got in the boat in the first place.
He got in the boat and traveled across the lake, undeterred by the storm, because there was a man who needed to be freed from the powers of hell. And there was a city full of people who needed to hear about the One who had the power to perform such a miracle.
An entire town had an opportunity to hear about Emmanuel, God with us, the Word made flesh and living among us.
All because He got in the boat.
Will you praise this Lord with me? This One who knows exactly where the needy are, and this One who pursues them with the abundance of His kind provision?
I do have one lingering question, though…
why did He invite His disciples to go with Him?
He surely didn’t need them.
I can’t begin to know the mind of God, but I wonder whether it’s because He had some of these things in mind:
1.)He wanted them to partner with Him. No, Jesus didn’t need them. But He wanted them, flaws and all. He loved His disciples, and He wanted to be with them. So He invited them to join Him in His work.
2.)He wanted to show them that good stuff comes from hard stuff. Had they turned around to head home in the face of the storm, an entire city would’ve missed out on hearing the good news of Jesus Christ. Would the disciples have chosen to face the storm had they known ahead of time? Probably not. Was the harvest worth it? Absolutely.
3.)He wanted to teach them to trust Him to the uttermost. Jesus deserved their trust. Though He could’ve demanded it, He had by this point already done much to earn it. His extended invitation gave them the opportunity to make the choice: do I fully trust this One I’ve come to know?
Dear friends, our Lord extends the same invitation to you and me.
He has asked us to get in the boat with Him.
He wants us to join Him in the work He’s doing in the world.
To be His hands and feet among the hurting and hopeless.
To be His voice preaching truth to the captives and the prisoners.
My mind cannot even begin to comprehend this privilege!
I can almost guarantee that there will be storms ahead.
But I’m also just as sure that the harvest on the other side is worth it.
And with my Savior at the helm, there’s no doubt in my mind…