Sandwiched between miraculously feeding 5000+ people and teaching the multitudes that He is the bread of life is the story of Jesus rescuing His disciples from a storm. The disciples had gone down to the Sea of Galilee, hopped in a boat, and set off for Capernaum. But half way into their three-hour tour, the winds pick up and the waters grow rough. Then comes Jesus walking on the water. He approaches the storm-tossed boat and calls to His frightened disciples: “It is I; don’t be afraid.”
As amazing as that is, what happens next also gives me plenty to reflect on: “Then [the disciples] were willing to take Him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.”
First: The part about the disciples’ willingness to let Jesus into the boat reminds me of how Jesus does not force His presence on anyone. The disciples needed to be willing to have to Jesus; an invitation is necessary for Jesus to join them.
I wonder how often Jesus is standing on the water near my storm-tossed boat in the middle of a tempest, waiting for me to invite Him in. But I ignore Him or forget He is there, thinking that I can handle the situation on my own. He might not be there to calm the storm, but He’s offering to calm me with His much-needed peace.
Second: The part about the boat immediately reaching the shore has led to speculation that this is a bonafide miracle. At one moment, the disciples are in the middle of the stormy lake; then, in the blink of an eye, they discover they are safely in the harbour, just like that!
Regardless of whether it’s Jesus’ supernatural ability that instantly powers the boat to shore, or the disciples just don’t realize how close to land they actually are, the disciples are infinitely better off when Jesus is in the boat with them. In fact, I’d add that I reach my destination the moment Jesus joins me no matter where I am going.
(Graphic from Marquette Magazine.)