“He got into a boat and his disciples followed him.”
Plain. Simple. Straight to the point.
The disciples weren’t whiny toddlers complaining about the size, color, or shape of the boat. The disciples weren’t overtired parents wishing they could get just five more minutes of sleep. When it comes to Matthew’s depiction of the scene (more to come on this scene in subsequent blogs), it is very direct: Jesus’ disciples followed him. Done.
They didn’t sit on the shore and whine.
They didn’t question why He chose that boat instead of another one.
They didn’t throw a tantrum or demand to know all of His reasons for getting into a boat instead of, say, a yacht.
They didn’t tell Him that they’d be fine to get in a boat, just not right now.
They didn’t pretend they couldn’t see Him getting into the boat.
They didn’t ignore His choices or refuse to see what He was doing.
They followed Him.
Was it blind faith? No, they had come to trust Him, to rely in His wisdom and guidance in all things, not just tiny matters. So if Jesus got in a boat, they went. If Jesus told them to jump, they’d have responded, “how high?” In this way (and many others, I have no doubt) I am so unlike the disciples. Jesus gets in a boat and stands there, looking back at me on the shore. He’ll invite me out and I’ll pretend I don’t notice His invitation.
In a way, my interactions with Jesus out on a boat go much like the story my oldest daughter is fond of at the moment, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.
If Jesus goes out into a boat…Amanda will want to know why. Jesus will tell her why, and then Amanda will ignore Jesus. Ignoring Jesus leads to Him sitting in the boat, so Amanda sits on the shore. Sitting on the shore means that Amanda is all sandy and would love to get clean, but she’ll refuse to get in the water because she’s still not quite sure why Jesus chose that boat on this day at this time. Instead, she’ll head home to shower, telling Jesus that she might be ready to join Him on the boat tomorrow. And you know that if she tells Him she’ll meet Him tomorrow, then Jesus will get in a boat tomorrow, too.
Not nearly as poetic or inspiring as Matthew’s account, is it? In this I – as we all can – would do better to take after the disciples. No questions, no quibbles, no silly games, just simple obedience to the will and direction of Jesus, wherever He leads. Whenever He leads. For whatever reason He leads. If Jesus gets in a boat I want to follow Him, not stand on the shore waiting for my hand-written invitation. He goes, I follow, no matter what comes next. I want to trust that He won’t lead me somewhere and then abandon me, but if I don’t get off the shore and into His boat, I’ll never find out.