Peter's Second Boat: The Call to Step Out
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Today’s lesson is what sparked the idea for this series about a year and a half ago. We live on the outskirts of a lake town, so we cross over the lake every morning when I take my kids to school. One very windy day I noticed how big the waves were, and I thought to myself how difficult it would have been for Peter to step out of the boat into waves much bigger than the ones I was looking at. That’s when the “Peter’s three boats” series hit me:)
And that’s where we’re going today…
Peter’s Second “Boat Moment”: The Call to Step Out!
The story of Peter walking on water took place right after another miracle - the Feeding of the 5,000. By this time, Jesus was well into his ministry and had been training the twelve apostles for ministry. In fact, Jesus had sent the Twelve out to “preach the kingdom of God and heal the sick” (Luke 9:1-6), and the Feeding of the 5,000 took place when the apostles returned:
10When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, 11but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
Flexibility Breeds Opportunity
We have to stop here for just a second. Remember in our last lesson we talked about availability. In this lesson we’re going to talk about flexibility. Jesus was trying to go to a solitary place with His disciples, but people followed Him. And not just a few people - a LOT of people. This passage is titled “The Feeding of the 5,000”, but Scripture tells us this was just the number of men. Bible scholars believe the actual number, including women and children, could have been closer to 15,000-20,000! And what did Jesus do? “He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.”
When the crowd showed up, Jesus’ physical agenda took a backseat to His spiritual agenda. Goodness this is hard for us in our perfectly planned, agenda-driven culture! But...
if we stay flexible with our physical agenda, God might just show up and provide a spiritual one.
Oh Lord, help me to hold my plans loosely so I never miss Yours.
Okay, back to the story. When it was late in the day the disciples realized the people would need to eat, but all they could pull together was 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Jesus multiplied that 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish to feed 15,000-20,000 people, and they had 12 basketfuls of food left over!
This brings us to the stormy night in which Jesus and Peter walked on water:
22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.
Get Alone with God
Again, we’ve got to stop here for a second. Remember, before the feeding of the 5,000 Jesus had been trying to withdraw for some quiet time with His disciples. Mark 6:31 tells us Jesus had told the Twelve to come and spend some time with Him in “a quiet place and get some rest.” Then, after the feeding of the 5,000, we see that Jesus withdrew to a solitary place to pray and spend time alone with God.