Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Matthew 14:25-29a, where the Bible says,
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said.
COURAGE AND CHRIST – WE NEED BOTH TODAY!
I can’t imagine that moment for Peter. Actually, maybe I can. There are times in our lives when Jesus’ word to us is clear. He says, “Come!” Jesus directs us to follow Him on a certain path in life. He urges us to say this word, share this truth, or serve this way. In those moments, it’s often like Mark Twain said, “It is not the things which I do not understand in the Bible which trouble me, but the things which I do understand.” For Peter, Jesus’ word to come out of the boat and walk to Him was clear. It was a simple word and a simple task. But it was one which called for absolute trust that whatever Jesus said was the right thing for Peter, as it is for you. Jesus called Peter to be “all in” with Him because Jesus was “all in” for Peter.
All in! Back in the day I was a pretty good basketball player. I played on some pretty good basketball teams too. The joy of playing on those teams was that everyone was “all in.” When we played defense, we pressed all over the floor. We couldn’t do that if even one player gave a half-hearted effort. No, we all had to give it everything we had, every moment of the game. “All in!” It’s the only way to play the game.
“All in” is a way to live too. If we were perfect people, we’d be “all in” for God and for each other at all times. God’s Law calls us to a perfect way of loving toward God and toward each other. Unfortunately, our sinfulness saps our “all in” strength, especially when we need it most. And that’s why it’s so important to realize that Jesus is not merely an example for us to follow. He’s not even a voice calling us to do our best. He is, first and foremost, our Savior, the one who is “all in” for us through His cross and resurrection. Jesus called Peter out of the boat because He had a miraculous, eternal life for Peter to live, all because Jesus himself would pay the price on the cross to make it possible.
Jesus’ call to you and me today may not be about “walking on water.” Rather, it is about facing our fears and our challenges with courage in and through our faith in Christ. Courage and Christ, that’s what we need today, wouldn’t you agree? In all things, think about His commitment and His call to you, and step out of the “boat.” Look to Him, rather than to the “waves” of trouble all around, and then see what He can do in and through you for others. When challenges come, face them with courage and Christ, your “all in” savior. We need both today!
PRAYER – Dear Lord, when my fears get the best of me, give me the courage that comes from trusting in You. Give me the wisdom that comes from knowing Your word. And, with courage and faith in You, give me strength to face the challenges of today! AMEN.