Jesus with his disciples on the Sea of Galilee, Ernst Georg Bartsch, 1967 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
They saw Jesusapproaching the boat, walking on the water. John 6:19
Good teachers come up with amazing ways to get students’ attention. Kindergarten teachers quiet their voices to get children to settle down. Coaches have a knack for using the right words and tactics to motivate their players to win.
When Jesus walked on the Sea of Galilee, that got his disciples to pay attention to who he was and what he was about! At the time, though, they might not have realized he was the best teacher they could ever have.
They had probably figured it would be an uneventful evening. The disciples were on their way to the other side of the lake while Jesus stayed back on shore to spend some time alone (John 6:15). The wind and waves, however, started getting rough, and the disciples were probably growing concerned for their safety. Then somewhere in the middle of the lake, Jesus came right out to them, walking on the water!
Now they were scared! How do you think you would have reacted to that?
Why did Jesus do that? He wanted his disciples—and us—to pay attention to him as their chief focus even when the storms of life seem to take over. His voice breaks through the rumble of water and wind and says, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”
Jesus wants your undivided attention today. Are you keeping your eyes on him?
Northern part of the Great Rift Valley as seen from space (NASA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are two seas in Palestine. One is fresh, and fish are in it. Splashes of green adorn its banks. Trees spread their branches over it and stretch out their thirsty roots to sip of its healing waters. Along its shores the children play, as children played when He was there. He loved it. He could look across its silver surface when He spoke His parables. And on a rolling plain not far away He fed five thousand people.
The River Jordan makes this sea with sparkling water from the hills. So it laughs in the sunshine. And men build their houses near to it, and birds their nests; and every kind of life is happier because it is there.
The River Jordan flows on south into another sea. Here is no splash of fish, no fluttering leaf, no song of birds, no children’s laughter. Travelers choose another route, unless on urgent business. The air hangs heavy above its water, and neither man nor beast nor fowl will drink.
What makes this mighty difference in these neighbor seas? Not the river Jordan. It empties the same good water into both. Not the soil in which they lie not the country about.
This is the difference. The Sea of Galilee receives but does not keep the Jordan. For every drop that flows into it another drop flows out. The giving and receiving go on in equal measure.
The other sea is shrewder, hoarding its income jealously. It will not be tempted into any generous impulse. Every drop it gets, it keeps.
The Sea of Galilee gives and lives. This other sea gives nothing. It is named The Dead. There are two kinds of people in the world. There are two seas in Palestine.
Last night I watched the movie, The ten Commandments. Many people consider this to be an Easter tradition. I loved that movie and I used to enjoy sitting around Easter Day watching many more of the classic movies about Jesus but today I have noticed a huge emptiness as void as Jesus’ tomb itself. The it hit me, Jesus has disappeared from Easter.
When I was growing up in the late 60′s and throughout the70′s, you saw the word Jesus as often as you saw the word Easter, but not anymore. As I’m sitting here typing this blog, I have the TV on for background noise and I hear the word Easter a lot, but not one mention of Jesus. I have searched the TV guide to see when I will watch the next movie about the life of Jesus, but there are none to be found. I feel like we have lost the true meaning of the day.
So where did Jesus go in all of this? Of course we know He’s still here, but I mean where did He go a far as the world is concerned, and why? The answer is simple, we have become lazy in the Christian ranks. We stopped believing that we needed to continue to tell people about Jesus and expected them to come to us. We quit telling the story of Easter and why our Lord did what He did and expect them to understand the Holiday. We have allowed the Muslims and others to talk to our neighbors while we read the Bible by ourselves. The Church has stayed in it’s walls polishing it’s ornate fixtures and forgotten the people in the community. In short, we allowed Jesus to be kidnapped.
One of my favorite parts of the Easter story is after Jesus was resurrected, He came back to tell His followers what would be expected of them until He returned. One of the greatest requests that He made is call the great commission which is explained to us in Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV)16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Jesus has been taken from us and it’s our own fault. He paid the ransom for our sins, but we have quit on Him. Getting Him back is simple, we need to get out of our houses and Churches and meet the people where Jesus did…in the world where they live. We need to be sharing our faith at all time in all places. Until all of us are willing to do this we will see less and less of Jesus every Easter. Are you willing to be an accomplice in the kidnapping of Jesus?