January 30, 2023

January 30, 2023

To prevent the frustration of falling behind, which most of us tend to do when following a Bible reading plan, each month of this plan gives you only twenty-five readings. Today we start a few “free days” . We encourage you to catch up on any readings you may have missed this month.

If you have finished the month’s readings, you can use these final days of the month to study the passages that challenged or intrigued you.

The Bible reading plan we are following this year can be found here: https://www.navigators.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/navigators-bible-reading-plan.pdf

Daily Devotion

Matthew 14: 22-33 NLT
22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. 23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. 24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” 27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” 28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” 29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. 31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” 32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.

This particular piece of Scripture has always fascinated me. Jesus does something that is completely beyond the scope of what is, or should be humanly possible. The Apostles have found themselves in a very precarious situation. They are clinging to life, in the midst of a storm, far from shore in the middle of a lake.

They struggled all night to stay afloat, and then in the early hours of the morning they see Jesus walking across the water. They were terrified by this to say the least, thinking that this figure walking towards them was a ghost. Jesus called to them though, saying to not be afraid. Simon  Peter reacted and did something that is very interesting. He replied, that if it truly was Jesus, to bid him to come walk with Him. Now this is an impossibility. Human beings cannot walk upon liquid surfaces. We aren’t built to have any type of success in that circumstance. Simon Peter had activated his faith in Jesus despite everything that was going on around him. Irregardless of the impossibility of the request and his chaotic circumstances, Simon put his trust in Jesus. The reply from Jesus was to come. So Simon stepped out of the relative safety of the boat, and began to walk in impossibility.

I know we have all read this, and heard this text preached upon countless times. But I would like for a moment just to focus on what was happening in that moment, because it had never happened before in human history, and I think it is safe to say will never happen again. A human being stepped off and out of a wooden structure and onto a tumultuous, wind blown, wavy lake. Simon Peter was walking upon water. Impossibility. Can’t, won’t, and doesn’t happen. Humanity is incapable of walking on water. We sink or we float. In order to float in water we must put forth consistent effort and movement to stay above the surface. Yet Simon did it for a time. His faith in Jesus rose up and he stepped out of the known and comfortable into impossibility.

The scripture goes on to say that as he began to notice again the size of the waves and the ferocity of the wind he faltered. His faith waned. The impossibility of his circumstance registered in his mind, causing him to sink. He shouted for Jesus to save him as he began to go under. Jesus immediately reached out and pulled him up asking Simon where his faith was, and then helping to safely guide him back to the boat.

What I find most interesting is the quick change in the events between Peter stepping out of the boat, walking on the water and then sinking. Why was Simon’s faith so great that he was willing to step out and do something that is impossible, but yet once he began to do what none had ever been able to accomplish, he was distracted and failed? The wind and waves hadn’t changed from the point of stepping off the boat onto the water. The scene was the same as it had been before. What happened?

This is something I see in myself as well. I pray for God to do the impossible. Yet when God shows up and impossibility becomes reality, it’s very easy to shrink back. Doubt and fear of the unknown can come slithering it’s way into our hearts and minds. In those moments we must ask ourselves where and in what is our faith, hope and trust truly grounded upon. If God chooses to empower us to walk in the impossible then we must trust He knows what He is doing. Our faith must rise to match the level of supernatural power that God is calling us to walk in. It’s my assertion that Simon Peter doubted. Once he stepped out and began to do the impossible he realized what was happening and the improbability of it continuing. He doubted that he could complete the task and he doubted that God could hold him up. We have got to get past doubt and fear if we truly want to walk with God.

Matthew 19:26 NLT 
Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”

God can use us to accomplish anything if we allow Him to. Not because of our ability, but because nothing is impossible if He is empowering us. When He calls us from the known to the impossible, we must trust that He can hold us up and that He will anoint us to accomplish whatever He has directed us to do.

~Jesse Sanders