God’s Rule in an Unruly World

rabbisurfMost of you know, I’m a cartoonist who is serving as a pastor until the Lord fixes that. I’ve drawn a graphic novel for the web called “Rabbi Encounters”. You might enjoy reading chapter five, “Surf” (click the title to go there). It’s my rendition of the events that we’ll be reading this Sunday as we continue our study of Matthew – 14:22-36.

I believe this is an account of something that really happened. I also believe this actual event can read as a parable – a metaphor for a life of following Jesus.

The disciples follow Jesus’ instructions to get in the boat and go. Obeying Jesus, they find themselves caught in a storm and being (literally) tormented by the waves. What metaphor can you see in that? How does this correspond with your own life of faith? What can be learned?

When Jesus shows up the disciples are terrified. Why? To your knowledge, has anything like this happened before in the Bible, where someone has walked on water? Do you think any of the disciples expected to see Jesus out there? In what ways can you see a parallel of this in your own expectations about God and what He’s up to?

What do you think, was Peter right or wrong to ask Jesus to command him to walk on the water? Scholars seem to be divided about it. Do you think his lack of faith began when he had to have proof that it was really Jesus, or was it a bold move of faith to claim participation in the miracle?

When Peter is focused on the rising surf, he begins to sink. The lessons there are obvious. Something else to think about is: what was Jesus’ first response (not words necessarily) to Peter’s predicament? How does his response encourage you when you remember times where you’ve had “little faith”?

Those are just some things to consider before Sunday. What I’d really like you to do is read this whole section and read it as metaphor – use your imagination. What is the boat, the water, the storm, the destination? What can those be portraying to us about life and faith and most importantly, Jesus?

Hope to see you this Sunday!

4 comments

  1. Love the “Rabbi Encounter”! not sure but I’ll give it a shot…The boat symbolizes our christian journey. The water is life on earth in general and the waves are the tough things we face along the way. Sometimes it’s smooth sailing other times trials come crashing in on us…Through all the ups and downs the ultimate destination is with Jesus. Whether we’re in the middle of a storm and accuse him of being something he’s not or on stable ground where he’s clearly bringing healing, knowing that he IS present and bringing about his good plans can bring us his peace.
    Honestly, I love Peter’s boldness to ask Jesus to have him walk on the sea…It seems Jesus never shy’s away from sincere questions or doubts about who he is..when the Pharisees wanted a sign he knew their hearts and refused to give it to them but when true seekers like Pete here and later Thomas ask, Jesus is quick to reveal his truth to them.. when Peter wavered focusing on the force of the storm Jesus’ first response was to give him a hand, saved him 1st then instructed him…I absolutely LOVE this and it’s implications…He is with us no matter what and he won’t allow life’s difficulties or our own doubts to drown us!!

  2. Right on Julie! I also see the boat as the “church”. A God inspired vessel, humanly fashioned, created to enable man to reach places he is not physically equipped to go. Without Jesus it will sink when facing the storms of this world. With Jesus it is indestructible even with a bunch of ragamuffin sailors at the helm. Destination? The Kingdom of Heaven with as many refugees aboard as possible!

    1. LOVE your insight Mike!!! Yes the boat must be the church!!! we are those rescued refugees enabled by Him alone!! So very Beautiful!!!

  3. > has anything like this happened before in the Bible, where someone has walked on water?

    “and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters” – Gen 1:2

    The Creator has been walking on water for as long as there has been water.

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