The word caught my attention first when I was reading through the story of Jesus walking on the water and Peter climbing out of the boat. That word, immediately, kept jumping off the page. The thought started out something like this:
Immediately. As soon as He was present, the wind was calm. The thing is. Jesus was there all along. It was a matter of their responses and their awareness. The wind calms and Peter is able to stand on the water the moment they acknowledge His presence NOT the moment He shows up. Of course Jesus can always fly in with a cape and put an end to whatever storm is raging around us, but that's not the point. The point is to find Him in the storm-recognize Him-call on Him-trust Him.
I tucked that thought away and looked forward to reading the story again while sitting on the shores of that very place. Fast forward just a little while and a lot of crazy and I'm here in Israel.
Our first night on the Sea of Galille, I raced to the shore to get all the daylight I could reading and allowing myself to envision the whole scene. I don't even think I ate dinner I was so excited! I decided to read this story (every Gosepl version of it to be exact) and then to read some others that happened in this same location. Let me tell you, context is magical. I had no idea what I was in for!
And that's when it happened. This new connection with Peter that I'd never had before. I guess traditionally we're hard on Peter and we question His faith for looking away and sinking. But. The bottom line is, Peter is the only one who jumped into that water. Everyone else stayed in the boat. He might have struggled and stumbled a little….or a lot...but he was where Jesus was. And that was true of him all the time. Even in the garden when most of the disciples hid, Peter was right there next to Jesus trying to be a part of whatever He was doing.
I want to be that kind of disciple. I want to be the girl that Jesus can count on to always jump in. To be where He is, doing whatever He’s doing all of the time. Because in the end, that's the kind of disciples Jesus builds on. The ones that He trusts with His message and His sheep.
Forgive me for the length, but it's about to get cooler. A couple days ago we drove up into the mountains in the very northern parts of Israel. To a place called Caesarea Phillipi. The name doesn't matter that much, it's this statement that does. It's a very mountainous very rocky place. And in this place Jesus had a crucial conversation with His disciples.
Oh that I would never hesitate for even one fraction of a moment in my certainty that Jesus is exactly who He says He is. The Christ. The Son of God. My Savior.
I promise I'm about to close this out. Would you read just one more little chunk of story with me?
John 21. Jesus appears to many people after He has been crucified and buried and now resurrected. John tells us that they were out fishing and had been unable to catch anything all night. They see a guy in the distance calling to them from the shore. John realizes right away that it's Jesus. As soon as Peter realizes, take one guess where he was. In the water! He jumped right in and made His way to Jesus. I'll add here that this is now after He has denied Jesus three times. But none of that matters. Because Peter and Jesus are tight. They have a relationship and nothing can ever keep Peter away from Jesus. Not even his sin.
Immediately he is sorry.
Immediately he repents.
Immediately Jesus forgives him.
Immediately he regains the trust of Jesus.
Immediately Jesus restores.
Friends. Let's be followers of Jesus who jump in. Who don't care what we have to let go of or leave behind. Who endure the storm to be near Jesus and ignore fear knowing that He's near. Followers who never hesitate or stumble in our certainty of who He is. Who won't let anything keep us from being where Jesus is and doing whatever He's doing. Followers He can trust to carry His heart and His message to the world.