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Jesus Take The Wheel

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When I went back to look at some of my pictures from my visit to the Sea of Galilee I was shocked at what I saw.  I was looking because I had been preaching from the text in Mark 4 where Jesus and the disciples set out in their boats to cross the Sea of Galilee and I remembered doing the same thing back in the late spring. 

I noted in my sermon that the disciples being fisherman put Jesus in the back of the boat since he was a carpenter from the inland town of Nazareth and they were fishers who knew all about boats and the sea.  It wasn't just Jesus asleep, so too was the faith of the disciples. 

When the storm suddenly arose they employed all of their experience and knowledge not even bothering with Jesus.  I mentioned how easy it is to do the same thing and assume that Jesus' expertise doesn't extend to our workplace or the other areas of our lives where we know better. 

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When they finally awakened Jesus I don't think it was because they believed he could save them.  Their words to him were, "Don't you care that we are about to perish?"  I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't remind him that it had been his idea to cross the sea.  Maybe they said something like, "Look at what you got us into!" 

As we know Jesus rose up and calmed the storm saying, "Peace! Be still!"  But he also rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith - for putting him in the back of the boat and assuming he was irrelevant to their everyday working world. 

Even having been put in their place the disciples were amazed and asked among themselves, "Who is this that even the wind and the waves obey him?"  A few of them probably also said something like, "Hey, how is it Jesus knows more about this than we do?"  This is the great discovery when we do let Jesus in to our whole life that he does know more and his power is greater than we can imagine. 

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Nonetheless the temptation to leave Jesus in the back of the boat and let our faith go dormant is still very real.  We so love to be in charge!  While preparing my sermon on the Galilean text I went back to look at my pictures of Galilee.  I had completely forgotten one picture which I was proud enough to suggest be taken while on board the small boat crossing the Sea of Galilee, but today it stands out as a classic example of one who failed to practice what he preached.  There I was at the wheel on the Sea of Galilee.  I should have been content to seek solidarity with Jesus in the stern.  

As in my conscience I hear the echo of Jesus rebuking the disciples for their lack of faith, my prayer for today has to be taken from the title of a country and western classic, which at last makes sense to me - Jesus Take The Wheel! 

Peace,

Peter 

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Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes

Peter Holmes, BA, MDiv, DMin is the Minister of the Congregation at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church

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