Friday, January 18, 2013

Do as He says, and as He does

"He said, 'Come.' "
Matthew 14:29

As I shared recently ~ or perhaps, yesterday ~ we are studying the Gospel of John in Bible study.  As I also shared, we just finished chapter 6 ~ that packed chapter of water-walking and loaf-multiplying on the part of Jesus.

The event generally referred to as "the Feeding of the 5,000" is one of the relatively few events that we can read about in all four gospels.  Because Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were different individuals, with different styles, and because they were writing from different standpoints, and for different audiences, there are many, well, differences in the gospels.  Some events are in three of the four; some are in two, but not always the same two.  I find it very interesting ~ and very enlightening ~ to compare.

The other thing that sometimes happens, is that two or more of them might have included certain events, but not included the same details about those events.  So it takes a little work on our part to make sure we're getting all the details we can about a certain occurrence. 

Which reminds me, have you ever heard of the The Jefferson Bible?  It was created by Thomas Jefferson.  Fascinating.  He cut up several volumes of the New Testament, taking excerpts and then arranging them in chronological order to tell the story of Jesus' life.  Now, I've done something similar for my own study purposes, but I did it by cutting and pasting virtually.  Can you imagine actually cutting and pasting passages out of the Bible?  And once again, I'm intrigued and astounded by Thomas Jefferson. 

If you'd like to take a gander at the Jefferson Bible, you can find it (and even purchase it) right here

But back to John's gospel.  John tells us, in chapter 6, that the disciples were in a boat when they saw Jesus walking toward them on the sea.  They were afraid, but when He identified Himself, they "willingly received Him into the boat" and then immediately found themselves at their destination.  

What John doesn't tell us is about Peter.  Matthew tells us that part.  Why John skips it, I'll never know, but it's far from my only question about what's included and deleted from the Bible!

Matthew 14 tells us that when Jesus identified Himself, Peter responded, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."  And Jesus replied simply, "Come."  And Peter did. 

And you probably know what happened next.  It's been the subject of many an inspirational talk, sermon and book.  Peter walked on the water, but then became aware of the the wind, and he started to sink.

Which was followed, of course, by Jesus saving him, and then uttering those devastating words, "O ye of little faith, why did you doubt?"

Peter has been justifiably criticized for his lack of faith in that instance; for taking his eyes off of His Savior.  There's a lesson there for us when we're in the middle of something difficult.

But Peter did have the faith to step out of the boat.  None of the other disciples did.  That says something.  And he got to experience something that you and I never will.  Something that nobody, short of Jesus, ever has. 

Except for those water-walking lizards.

photo credit:
But more than that.  Peter did this most amazing feat in the middle of a storm.  In darkness.  As if stepping out of a boat, and believing you could walk on the water is not courageous enough, he did it in the worst circumstances. 

But here, to me is the most important thing I can take away from this fascinating and educational event.  It wasn't Peter's courage; it wasn't Peter's sudden dip of faith.

It was Peter's obedience.  See, when Peter called out to Jesus, "if it You, command me to come to You," it was only a suggestion.  A request.  He knew he was talking to His Lord, and you can't tell God anything. 

Well, I mean, you can talk to Him about anything, but you can't give Him orders.

But as soon as Jesus said, "Come," it was a command.  Peter knew that.  Peter asked for a command and then got it.  And I love that Jesus was not only telling Peter he could walk on water, He was telling him to.  I love that.  In His commands, is the power to obey. 

Doesn't mean we will obey, but if we don't, we'll be the only thing stopping us.

It happened with the lame, and it happened with the dead.  Jesus said, "walk" or "come out" or "wake up," and they did. 

Certainly seems like we should be able to pull off "love thy neighbor," doesn't it?

~ "walk in My statutes 
and keep My commandments and perform them" ~
Leviticus 26:3

No comments:

Post a Comment