Matthew 14:22 – “Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.” NKJV
There is one word I want to focus on and address some questions that arise out of that word. It says, “Jesus MADE the disciple get in the boat and go before Him…” Let me ask the obvious questions:
- Did Jesus Make the Disciples Get in the Boat?
- Was Jesus in the Boat?
- Would it suggest that there can be a time, in the work of God, where we can be absolutely led by the Lord and made to follow a Word He has given when He IS NOT in the boat?
Back to question one. Did He make them get in the boat? I urge you to read verses 23-34 in your consideration. Often, we associate the presence of Jesus with the settling or solving of our circumstances. His presence does bring Peace but we dare not miss the point that Jesus WAS NOT in the boat and there was a storm. On another occasion, He was asleep in the boat and there was a storm so clearly, the storms of life come when He is and when He is not in the boat with us. Adversity is not proportional to the amount Jesus is in the boat. It is a much deeper issue it is the realm of faith. If we have ‘heard’ the word of the Lord and we are going to consistently apply that word to our lives, we must do so regardless of whether we feel He is in the boat or not. Please read, Mark 6:45-51 and if it does not intrigue and raise questions you are not reading it deeply enough.
Jesus was watching them struggle and resisted the temptation to get involved at the moment of struggle. He did not come to them until the 4th watch of the night so there was a period of time that Jesus let the disciples struggle and the situation intensified. They were in the middle of the lake straining on the oars and going nowhere. It was a hard situation. Jesus could see them straining. How often do we get religious and say that straining at the oars is unspiritual? I suggest there is a time to strain on the oars and a time to break a sweat in labor. In every sovereign move of God, there is a time to labor. We must be committed to straining at the oars no matter what others are doing in other places or God is doing elsewhere. WHY? Because, Jesus said, “Get in the boat and go to the other side.”
The simple question is: “Are we committed to the Word of the Lord that has come into our spirits, even when it seems that Jesus IS NOT in the boat?” Even when the winds are contrary and our hands are getting blisters from rowing? Even when we have done all we know to do and nothing is getting better? Are we determined to obey His directive to “Get in the boat and go to the other side?” That is what faith’s all about! (Note John 6:16-21 for a wonderful reality.) Three or four miles is a very long way to row, especially when the wind is against you and the water is rough with the current trying to push you back and the waves about to capsize your boat. Jesus showed up and they thought He was a ghost. What I want you to see is HE DID COME TO THEM. He comes out of the darkness to the boat and they were willing to take Him into the boat and immediately they were at the other side. I like that! In the midst of struggling, straining, striving WHEN they allowed Him to get in the boat VICTORY CAME!
Why Would God Allow This? Why should we be made to get into a boat, when Jesus knows full well that we are going out in the middle of the lake where a storm is going to force us to struggle and strain? Why would He put us in that position? Why would He allow them to encounter a situation where all their hard work seemed totally in vain and was coming to nothing? Here is a truth you must catch. If you stop rowing you go backward so their labors were holding them in place and moving them slightly forward almost imperceptibly but it was producing something good. If you stop rowing the wind wins and the waves defeat you. There is a time in the experience of every believer when God will allow us to struggle. If you are in the middle of the lake and you know you heard God but all hell is breaking out against you and defeat seems imminent what is the point? It conveys to you a certain confidence and establishes a commitment to OBEY in Faith. It enables us to realize that Christ in Us enables us to do all things and nothing is impossible with God.
Anybody can run with the weather but Jesus wants His disciples to be those who will obey regardless of the obstacles and opposition. It is a choice but it should be no choice. We should determine that we are going to OBEY regardless. It is saying, “I’m in this for the duration.” It is saying, “I don’t see you, can’t feel you, and there is little evidence you are here but YOU SAID IT and I commit to doing it.”
We will consider this area just a little more but for now, God bless you richly as you enjoy this day in Him!