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So Much More
by Jennifer Jerrome
A miracle, any miracle, is astonishing, but today’s scripture is about so much more. These six verses are packed with meaning and speak volumes not only about Jesus’ relationship with his disciples, but with all of us.
I think the best way to approach this is to take it verse by verse…
"16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them."
What I find interesting is the word - "yet." Jesus had not yet joined them, which means they were expecting him, but he hadn’t arrived. They knew he would show up eventually, though they were more than a little startled when he did.
Does anyone else’s faith story start like this? You’re expecting him to show up yet taken aback when and how he does.
"18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough."
While this refers to an actual storm, our lives are full of rough waters. Strong winds can blow us all over the place, which is exactly when most of us are looking for Jesus to show up. Something to keep in mind is that while Jesus comes during the storm, he also stays for the calm. Don’t forget about him when things are going smoothly. He’s right there in those moments too.
"19 When they had rowed about three or four miles,[a] they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened."
The disciples had rowed pretty far before Jesus approached the boat. They were tired and it was dark. When they saw him walking towards them, they were frightened. They were expecting him, but not like this. The unexpected can be scary. The apostles are learning (and so are we) that Jesus is full of surprises. He’s going to show up in ways you never imagined.
Side note: I have an Italian phrase of the day calendar on my desk. As I began writing, I looked over and read "Era impensabile!" which means, "it was unimaginable." I’m pretty sure John used a similar phrase when retelling this story. God never ceases to amaze in big ways and small.
"20 But he said to them, 'It is I; don’t be afraid.'"
Jesus is forever reassuring, “You know me. It’s alright.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve needed this reassurance a lot lately, and “don’t be afraid” has become a mantra for me.
"21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading."
I love this last line because, like the apostles, when we take him in, Jesus takes us where we’re headed. So, while we may be startled by his presence in our lives, let’s acknowledge him and let him in so he can take us where we need to go. Rest assured, He will!
Consider all the times lately when you may have been looking for Jesus to come alongside you; when you needed his warm loving arms reassuring you that everything would be alright - someday, if not today. Amen