Are you ready for an adventure?


For most of my adult life I have been studying the life of Jesus and His disciples. Like a hungry bloodhound following the scent of a delicious bone, my thoughts over the years continue to latch onto the trail of two observations arising from these studies.

First, I continue to find amazement, yes, even worship, in the study of the character of Jesus. How could anyone do the things He did and say the things He said and not be who He said He was? His miracles were, well, miraculous. His messages were so profound, and His words were so absolutely comforting. He claimed to be God on several occasions, and everything He did supported that claim.

The second observation, though not so important as the first, is even more astounding. I never cease to marvel at the absolute humanity of the disciples. They are so very much like me. Around almost every corner of the gospel accounts, right when I expect the disciples to do something “godly” or “righteous,” they surprise me by being so, so human.

Like on the night they, along with a lot of other people following Jesus, found themselves getting hungry. What did they do? What any one of us would have done. They encouraged Jesus to take a dinner break and send everyone away to look for dinner at a local restaurant or some local fast-food eatery. But Jesus surprised them. Instead of sending everyone away, He told them to feed the crowd.

After a cursory survey of the lunch bags, they found a little boy with a small lunch who had been smart enough to bring some food with him. Jesus took that lunch and fed the whole group, and had food left over. These disciples were absolutely flabbergasted. They could not believe their eyes, their ears, or even their taste buds. I can identify with them. Can’t you?

Their humanness was also illustrated in the very next story, as told in Matthew 14, where Jesus sent them out on the lake at night while He went up on the mountaintop to pray. They did as He instructed them, but were surprised by what they encountered. They got caught in a storm that was threatening to do them in. Storms are always worse at night, aren’t they? Even though these fellows were pros at fishing, even fishing on this lake, they were scared to death. Add to that the sight of a ghost — it was really Jesus walking across the lake on top of the water towards them — and they were losing their (miraculous) dinners right and left. Peter, one of the disciples, then did something totally in character (for Peter). He brashly told the Lord to command him to come to Him, on the water. You know, the liquid stuff. And Jesus did just that.

Then, so long as Peter keept His eyes on Jesus, he had the walk of his life. But then he began to think instead of trust. He thought, “I am walking on water. Humans cannot do that. I cannot be doing that. What is going on here?” And when he thought, instead of trusting, he sank. And Jesus reacheed out and said to Peter, “Take my hand.”

The blockbuster “Titanic” tells the tale of how, on that ill-fated voyage, Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) won the affection of a wealthy young woman named Rose Bukater (Kate Winslet).

Although Rose turned Jack away at first, she yearned inside for someone to break her free of her dismal life. She saaid, “Outwardly, I was everything a well brought up girl should be. Inside, I was screaming. I felt like I was standing at a great precipice with no one to pull me back, no one who cared or even noticed.”

In perhaps the most famous scene of the movie, Rose decided to give their romance a chance and sought out Jack on the bow of the ship. When he saw her change of heart toward him, he reached out to her and said, “Take my hand.” He asked her not to speak but to close her eyes, and then he led her to the very bow of the ship. He had her stand up on the railing, while he held her steady. He asked, “Rose, do you trust me?”

She responded, “I trust you.”

The scene radiated as the sunset streaked in the background. As Jack stretched out her arms over the bow and told her to open her eyes, she was overwhelmed by the beauty of the waters and the sunset before her. All she could say was, “I’m flying!”

Rose was rescued from a predictable and passionless life and invited to pursue something more. This is what happens in our new life in Christ. Like Jesus did to Peter in that storm on the sea, Christ extends himself to us and commands graciously: “Take my hand.” Then he asks one simple question, “Do you trust me?”

When you think instead of trust, you sink. But when you trust, like Peter and like Rose, what follows is pure adventure.

Are you ready for that adventure?

God bless…

Chuck Tabor is a religion columnist for The Times-Gazette and a former Hillsboro area pastor. He can be reached at [email protected].

Chuck Tabor Contributing columnist Tabor Contributing columnist

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