Daily Devotion for April 6, 2017
'Water or Boat?'
Matthew 14:22-29 NIV
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowd. After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. Later that night, He was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.”
“Come,” He said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat...
Today's devotional is by John Ortberg, from Care Instructions for a Life Worth Living...
When Jesus came to the disciples on the water, He was revealing His divine presence and power. Only God can do such a thing. It is interesting that the disciples entered the boat in the first place at Jesus' command. They would have to learn—as do we—that obedience is no guarantee of being spared adversity. But now that the storm had their full attention, Jesus decided it was time the disciples got to know a little bit more about the guy who was piloting this thing. It's like this, dudes, He reassured them. You can trust Me. You know My character and My competence. You can safely place your destiny in My hand. Take courage. It's Me.
Peter blurted out to the Water-Walker, “Lord, if it’s You, tell me to come to You on the water.” Why does Matthew include this detail? Why doesn't Peter just plunge into the water? I think it's for a very important reason. This is not just a story about risk-taking; it is primarily a story about obedience. That means I will have to discern between an authentic call from God and what might simply be a foolish impulse on my part. Courage alone is not enough; it must be accompanied by wisdom and discernment.
This is a story about extreme discipleship. This means that before Peter gets out of the boat, he had better make sure Jesus thinks it's a good idea. So he asks for clarity, “Lord, if it’s You, tell me...”
And in the darkness, I think Jesus smiled. Maybe He laughed. Because one person in the boat got it. Peter had some inkling on what it is that the Master is doing. Not only that, Peter had enough faith to believe that he too could share the adventure. He decided he wanted to be part of history's original water-walk. “Tell me.” If I am going to experience a greater measure of God's power in my life, it will usually involve the first-step principle. It will usually begin by my acting in faith—trusting God enough to make a step of obedience. Simply acknowledging information about His power is not enough. I have to get my feet wet. But when I say yes, I set in motion an adventure that will leave me forever changed.
Put yourself in Peter's place for a moment. You have a sudden insight into what Jesus is doing—the Lord is passing by. He's inviting you to go on the adventure of your life. But at the same time, you're scared to death. What would you choose—the water or the boat?
Lord, help us be more like Peter: obedient, made brave through Your presence, people who get “it,” and followers who desire to join You on adventure through “extreme discipleship”...
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