Genesis 46-48; Matthew 14:22-36
For quite a long time, I didn’t understand discipleship at all. I still don’t understand it fully, but I’m learning.
But first, I have to mention Ray Vanderlaan, whose resources and lectures have quite possibly taught me more about Jesus than any other source. Much of these angles on the Matthew passage and discipleship overall, I picked up from him.
First a note on discipleship that has been, and still is, very formative for me.
I used to think of being a disciple of Jesus was many things:
Trying to please him.
Trying to do what he said.
Trying to know as much as I could.
Teaching others about him.
Now all of these are very much parts of discipleship, but the essence, the real heart behind discipleship is this:
To have a deep, burning, passion; to be exactly like your Rabbi. To do exactly what your Rabbi did. To walk and talk, exactly like your Rabbi. To live and die, exactly like your Rabbi.
This is the true Jewish understanding of discipleship.
I remember when I first heard it; I had to rethink my entire faith.
I took about a week; I had to really decide if I was up for that. Salvation aside, I had to truly decide in my heart and my spirit, if I could do the things that Jesus did.
I put the problem in the back of my head a bit, and just continued doing my best day by day to follow Jesus.
But the story of Peter struck a chord with me today. Different than every other time I’ve read it.
Here’s what’s striking me:
Peter was trying to do exactly what his Rabbi was doing,
which in this case was walking on water.
But once he got out of the boat, and looked at the wind and the waves crashing around him, he lost faith.
but he didn’t doubt Jesus, because Jesus was still on top of the water.
I had to think about that one, I always assumed he doubted Jesus’ power.
I had to re-read the passage, Jesus asks him:
“You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Not why did you doubt me, just, ‘why did you doubt?’
Peter didn’t doubt Jesus, he knew that his Rabbi could walk on water; he just fed thousands of people with five loaves and two fish!
He doubted that he had what it took.
I doubt that I have what it takes too.
More accurately, I know that I don’t have what it takes!
But today I begin to learn,
that Jesus has what it takes,
It’s only through his power
that I can follow him.
I’m just another guy, who doesn’t have what it takes, that Jesus called to and said,
‘Come, follow me.’
Rabbi, I know that I, myself don’t have what it takes, but you do. I will follow you, only give me the strength to follow you today, so that I seek you again tomorrow. Amen