Disciple of Jesus on Water

There is a bumper sticker I’ve seen a few times that says, “Tithe if you love Jesus, any fool can honk.” Someone who loves another will have a sincere desire to spend time with them, do good things for them and be of service to them. The disciples loved Jesus. Well, at least 11 of them did. What did Jesus say about being his disciple?In John chapter 15, Jesus explains the relationship between God the Father, himself and his disciples and followers and the importance and benefits of obeying his commandments. It is known as the Vine and Branches teaching. Jesus said in John 15:7-8, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

The good news is that you can be his disciple and through Jesus you will also do mighty things! Paul wrote in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” You can too! You can get on the right track, the path of righteousness, right now if you choose to do so in your heart. philippians 4-13And if you mess up from time to time, don’t condemn yourself. Just strive to do what pleases God. God knows your heart.

Heart + Jesus = Strength
Did Jesus say that the most important commandment is to never make a mistake? Never sin? No, actually Jesus said in Matthew 22:37 that the most important commandment is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” You can be fully committed to something and still make mistakes along the way. I once saw a memorable business quote that said, “Failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of the process of success.” Do you see the connection there? Following Jesus with a pure heart (rather than actual perfection) brings Godly strength into your life. That is evident because even the Disciples and Apostles messed up and didn’t always do the will of God. They all made big mistakes. And I mean really big! Peter denied knowing Christ three times. Paul actively worked against Christians and helped to see them killed. It doesn’t get any worse than that. But Christ died that we may have a new life. An abundant life. An eternal life. He is our Redeemer. His blood covers our sins and makes us righteous in the sight of God.

Make a great decision today to do as Paul wrote in Hebrews 12:1-2, “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith.”  We should repent of our sins, but notice the part about laying aside every weight. If you asked Jesus for forgiveness, don’t carry around the guilt of your past sins like a weight that will slow you down from your great destiny that awaits. God has exciting work for you to do in his Kingdom and he is forward looking, not backwards! And we have a key here, and that is to not focus on our past but to look forward and focus on Jesus.

Peter knew a thing or two about getting distracted from focusing on Jesus. Did you know that when Jesus walked on water the disciples saw him and they got scared? They thought he was a ghost out on the lake but in realty, they were already scared from the terrible storm they were enduring in that boat. They were so relieved when they heard Jesus call out and say, “Have courage, it is I. Do not be afraid.” Peter said if that is you, call me out on the water too and Jesus did. Peter walks on waterPeter got out of the boat and started walking to Jesus, but the moment he got distracted and focused on the waves and storm around him, he sank. Peter then cried out with a very effective prayer, and the shortest prayer that I know of in the Bible, “Save me Lord!” Jesus reached in immediately and grabbed him. Now, people tend to focus on the fact that Peter sank in the water, but let me just point out that he walked on more water than anyone else did!

The book of Matthew, with this short episode with Peter, shows us what it is like to be a Disciple of Christ. We will go out with joy and faith, but we are human and will mess up and need to be rescued by Jesus time and again. We also are shown that we share in the power of Christ. When we are connected to him as the Vine, and we as one of his branches, he abides in us and we in him, and whatever we ask in his name, it shall be done in order that the Father in Heaven be glorified.