Into The Boat

Feb 8, 2013
Akron, Ohio
Sunday, March 22, 2015, 5:37 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Jesus, Rescue Me.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 6:16-21 (ESV).

In Context

A large crowd of people were following Jesus because of all the miracles he was performing. Jesus had compassion on them, and miraculously fed five thousand men (plus women and children, possibly). “When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, ‘This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!’” After they said this, Jesus withdrew to the mountain by himself, because he knew the people wanted to make him king by force.

When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

I believe the Lord would want me to focus my attention this morning on just these few quoted verses which describe the disciples situation out in the boat, and then to look at how that might apply to us and our relationship with Jesus Christ in a spiritual realm today. Their relationship with Jesus was largely in the physical realm, i.e. they met with him in person, they talked with him face to face, and his presence with them was a physical presence, which was absent from the disciples when they were out in the boat.

Unlike the situation with the disciples, for those of us who are in Christ Jesus by faith, Jesus’ presence is always with us via his Spirit living within us. When he died on the cross for our sins, rose from the grave, and ascended to heaven, he sent the promised Holy Spirit to indwell the lives of his followers. We can talk with our Lord 24/7, all the time, and he can talk with us whenever he chooses. He can have conversations with millions of us all at the same time, so we never have to wait in line until it is our turn to speak with Jesus. Amen!

Into the Boat

Yet, many who profess the name of Jesus don’t live like Jesus is with them always. They live their lives largely without thought of him at all. Even many times we, who normally walk and talk with him on a consistent basis, as did the disciples, leave without him, though. What I mean is that we get into our “boats,” i.e. into our daily routines of life, and we head off on a path without including our Lord in our plans. We say “Yes” to things without consulting him first – things that we should naturally inquire of him concerning before we make our plans. Sometimes we might even be guilty of intentionally leaving him out, because we know he would not be agreeable to our plans. I have been guilty of doing that in the past. Or, we might make plans and then just expect him to bless them and to work them out for us, without regard as to whether or not our plans fit in with his plans or not.

A Strong Wind

It was dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. So, when we go our own way, and we don’t include the Lord in our plans by consulting him first or by asking him what his plans are for our lives, and thus we don’t follow his lead, we may run into many difficulties (strong winds) which may frustrate us and threaten to undo us.

Yet, even if we are walking with the Lord in close fellowship with him, and we are regularly seeking his face, and we are following his lead, we will most assuredly face difficult situations because Satan is out to destroy us, and because God allows these trials in our lives to mature us, to strengthen us in our faith, to teach us compassion, and to get us to rely upon him and not on our own fleshly resources. But, sometimes these hardships are a result of our own stupidity or our own stubborn wills, because we got into our boats and we left Jesus behind. Or things could be dark for us because we are just growing impatient with God because he is not acting on our behalf in the timing we think he ought, i.e. it is our perception that he has not yet come to us.

In the dark their circumstances became rough and troublesome for them. Again, troubles and hardships face even those who are walking in the Spirit, so this is not a sign, necessarily, that someone is out of fellowship with God just because life gets difficult for them. If we are walking in the Light, though, and we are trusting in the Lord, we should be at peace even in the midst of waves crashing against us, though we may have to first do some spiritual warfare against our enemy in the power of the Spirit to get to that place of peace, for Satan frequently goes on an all-out attack, and we have to put on our armor of God and fight off his advances before the peace finally comes. Yet, if we are not walking in the Light, or we have strayed from that light because we went off in our boats and left Jesus behind, peace will not come until we submit to our Lord and we surrender to his will for our lives. If we continue rowing the boat in our own flesh, we will never find true peace.

They Saw Jesus

They saw Jesus, but they were frightened. So, why were they frightened? It was because they did not know it was him. They did not recognize him in the dark. And, that is the way it is with a lot of us, too, even for those of us who have close walks with him. Sometimes when our circumstances get really rough and Satan is fighting us hard or when we are faced with difficulties because of our stupidity and stubborn wills, we may get frightened by the waves crashing all around us because our eyes are on our circumstances instead of on Christ. So, even though he is present with us always, and he allows these difficulties to come into our lives for his purposes, whether to discipline or to mature us, we may not recognize that he is there, and that he is allowing these “waves” for a purpose, and so sometimes we actually fight against him and what he is trying to do in our lives.

One of my daughters-in-law just told me something I did not realize before, and that is that when we get a fever it is a good thing, because it is our body fighting off the infection. So, if we take drugs to suppress the fever, we could actually be fighting against what is really good for us. We see a fever as a bad thing that needs to be conquered or destroyed, but it is really for our good. So it is a lot of times with trials and tribulations. They are actually for our good, but we try to suppress them and thus end up fighting against what is truly in our best interest. We don’t see (recognize) Jesus working in our lives and so we think our difficulty is a bad thing which much be destroyed, but then Jesus comforts us with these words, “It is I. Don’t be afraid.” He lets us know that he never left us, and that he is absolutely in control over all things in our lives. We just need to rest in Him. Amen!

They Were Glad

When they were assured it was Jesus, and thus they did not need to fear, then they were glad to take him into the boat, but evidently not until then. And, that is how it is with us, too. We don’t see Jesus at work in our circumstances, and we don’t see that he allows pain and suffering in our lives for our good, and so rather than trust him, and rest in him, and allow him to teach us what we need to learn through our pain, we try to drown out the pain or escape it because we see pain as bad, when sometimes it is just what we need.

Yet, if we listen to Jesus’ voice speaking to us in our suffering, and we are willing to see that what we are going through may not be a bad thing, but it may be what is necessary for our good and/or for the good of others, then we are glad to take him into our boats, i.e. we accept his plans and his purposes for our lives, and we willingly surrender our wills to his, believing that he knows what is best for us. We trust him, we rest in him, and we allow him to lead us and to guide us in the way he wants us to go, instead of us going our own way and leaving him behind.

I am not saying that is what the disciples did, though, only that this story, as recorded in John, can be used to teach this lesson on how we need to not go our own way, leaving Jesus behind, and that when we do put our faith and trust in him, and we consult him about our plans and to ask him what his plans are for our lives, that joyfully we now receive him into our circumstances (our boats) and we submit to his Lordship.

The results for the disciples, when they forsook their fears, believed in Jesus, and invited him into their boat, was that the boat immediately reached its destination. For the time being, anyway, the storm was past and they were at peace. They got to where they were going.

I believe that is how it is with us, too. When we stop trying to go in our own strength, and when we stop going our own way, leaving Jesus behind, but we now invite him into our circumstances to have the Lordship of our lives, forsaking our fears, and resting in the Lord, the peace comes, and the purpose for the storm is accomplished, i.e. the circumstances of our lives (our boats) reach their destination (the intended results).

Yet, this is not to say that when we see Jesus working in our circumstances, and we forsake our fears, and we rest in him that the storms will cease. They may not. They may even get worse. Yet having gone through the storm and having put our trust in our Lord will strengthen us and will help give us the fortitude to resist Satan, to flee temptation and to draw near to God as the storms continue or when the next wave comes our way. We just have to call upon him, believe in him, and trust him IN our times of difficulty, believing he will see us through.

Jesus, Rescue Me / An Original Work / September 18, 2011
Based off of Romans 7:7-8:39

Jesus, rescue me today.
Listen while I bow and pray.
I need Your help to obey You;
Live for You always.
Meet me in my hour of need, Lord,
As I pray to You.
Help me walk in fellowship, Lord,
Living in Your truth.
Jesus, how I long for You to
Change my heart anew.

Father, God, my heart’s desire
Is to live for You this hour
In Your Holy Spirit’s power
Living in me now.
Teach me to walk in Your love, Lord,
Guiding me each day.
Help me to show love and kindness
To the lost, I pray.
Father, teach me to love others
As You love always.

Holy Spirit come in pow’r.
Revive our hearts in this hour.
Change our hearts to be like You, Lord;
Live for You each day.
Help us to forsake our sins, Lord,
As we humbly pray.
Teach us how to live for You, Lord,
Obey You always.
Holy Spirit come in power,
Revive us today.
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