Lesson Forty Nine
PETER WALKS ON WATER
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Jesus multiplied five loaves and two fish for 5,000-plus people. It didn’t take long for a suggestion to move through the crowd. This Man is the one about who Moses prophesied (Deut. 18:15). Let’s take Him now and make Him King! The disciples encountered this wave of enthusiasm for their Master. Finally! The people have grasped what they knew all along! The fervor for Jesus from the crowd grew with the disciples’ encouragement.
The fervor for Jesus from the crowd grew with the disciples’ encouragement.
Sensing what was happening, Jesus took action. With a commanding presence, He told the disciples to go to Capernaum by boat. With equal authority He dispersed the crowd and then went to the mountain to pray.
The disciples were unhappy. Ellen White describes them in this way: “They had left Jesus with dissatisfied hearts, more impatient with Him than ever before since acknowledging Him as their Lord” (The Desire of Ages, p. 379). She goes on to say they murmured against Him, and felt they should have been more persistent in their demand.
This story gave me pause as I wondered how often we might be guilty of the same. Unreasonable bosses, uncooperative spouses, unruly children, annoying neighbors, irritating church members, overly confident pastors, and our list goes on. Is it possible that as we encounter individuals like this in our lives and we vent or grumble about them we are grumbling against God?
The disciples were focused on what they wanted for Jesus. But it wasn’t about them.
The disciples were focused on what they wanted for Jesus. But it wasn’t about them. They were to help in Jesus’ mission, not design the mission for Him. White goes on to say: “Their thoughts were stormy and unreasonable, and the Lord gave them something else to afflict their souls and occupy their minds” (p. 380). The storm that night was greater and bigger than they. It distracted them from themselves to a greater cause. Together they fought the storm and together they realized their need of Jesus, who this time was not in the boat, but walking nearby awaiting their invitation.
I’ve had to admit to new insight into the things that cause me to grumble. Is it possible I’m looking too much at my own agenda and forgetting God’s? This insight into what might seem a minor story reminds me yet again to look higher than myself; to recognize I’m where I need to be with the people He’s placed me with. When I’m tempted to grumble to be reminded who I belong to and whose agenda I am to follow. Hopefully I’m inviting Jesus into my boat and He doesn’t need to use a storm to redirect my focus.
Pause this week as I did. Redirect and be renewed.
Another insight that Ellen White offers comes from the story of feeding the five thousand. She makes this statement about the disciples who are grumbling in the boat about Jesus. “But their [the disciples] disappointment had absorbed their thoughts. The words of Christ, ‘Gather up the fragments, … that nothing be lost, were unheeded.” (The Desire of Ages, p. 380)
I had to think about that one for a few minutes. I had always thought He was talking about saving the leftovers for the poor. Makes sense—all that food should not go to waste. But there was a greater lesson!
We are to gather up the fragments of blessings in our lives. When we are tempted to murmur against God, to be disappointed, to believe He is not working on our behalf, we are to remember the fragments we have gathered in the past. When we were spiritually hungry, God cared for us. So, when something seems amiss, things aren’t going well, God seems absent, remember the “leftovers” from your last spiritual feast. Then be reminded that He’s never far—in fact, He’s walking by right now. Call to Him and invite Him into your life.
Making it Real
This is a week to make a large meal. Purposely make it bigger than it needs to be. If you like invite people over to enjoy it with you, but be sure to have lots of leftovers. Then, with help from your children (and guests) have everyone assist with the leftovers. Get out the plastic containers and storage bags and carefully collect and store the leftovers from the meal. As you do, remind everyone of the story of feeding the 5,000. Ask why the disciples needed to care for the leftovers. After everyone gives their answer, share the idea of “spiritual leftovers” in the Digging Deeper section above. How does it help us in bad times to remember God’s goodness?
Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being a grandmother to two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus, and a granddaughter, born in 2023. She is blessed to have all three living close by, continually bringing joy and delight.