Riding in a boat, sleeping on a cushion | Jay Fesperman (1/3)

It had been a busy day, and Jesus was exhausted. It was late evening and crowds of people had swamped Him with their needs. He said to that special group of His disciples, “Let’s slip away to the other side of the lake”. So they took Him along, just as He was – no change of clothes = and put Him on board a small fishing boat. He walked directly back to the stern, dropped His parcel to the deck, and stretched out on a cushion and went to sleep. The disciples had hardly got the boat under way when a furious squall suddenly arose, and the waves began to break over the bow as it plowed eastward. But in His weariness, Jesus kept on riding in the stern, asleep on the cushion.

But the others were awed and frightened by the sudden fury of the storm. They woke Him up, crying into His ear, “Lord, we may drown! Don’t you care?” Jesus sat up and, looking out over the raging waters, He spoke to the waves, “GET QUIET! BE STILL!” And the wind died down and the water became completely calm.

Even though they had cried out in their fear to Jesus, this demonstration of His great power brought fear into their hearts. “They were TERRIFIED”, says Mark in his gospel. The FORCE in His words caused His disciples more fear than did the howling wind and the roaring waves. After He rebuke them for their lack of faith, Jesus lay down again the stern and went back to sleep on the cushion (see Mark 4:35 -41).

Among those with Him in the boat were Peter and John – two of the disciples closes to Jesus. Just a couple of years later, after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, these two walking up to the temple to join their fellow believers for an afternoon prayer meeting, noticed the crippled beggar being carried to his usual place at the temple gate. They were so accustomed to seeing him there, they normally took little note of him. But this day was to be different. Hundreds of times, John and Peter must have seen him thrust his cup toward them. They knew him to be a man of forty who had never walked a step in all of those years. Headed for the temple to enter into a time of prayer, they had no intention of being delayed, but when the cripple called out, “Alms”, they stopped. Looking intently into the eyes of the man, they cried out in a strong voice, “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, WALK!” (emphasis mine). And for the first time in his life, the man stood up and walked; and leaping about like a child, he praised God! nothing for forty years, and now, at this brief, ONE-WORD command, he literally ran into the temple shouting praises to the Lord!

It seems like a crazy paradox, doesn’t it? Amazingly, to those fearful, frightened fishermen, farmers, and tax collectors, Jesus had given them AUTHORITY “to drive out evil spirits and to cure every kind of disease and sickness” (Matthew 10:1)”. “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (verse 16).

From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 33, October 1983.

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