Today’s reading from Matthew 14:22-33 takes place immediately after last week’s reading. A crowd numbering over 5000 people came to Jesus. Jesus spends the whole day with them and then, in the evening, tells his disciples to feed the entire crowd. Imagine being a disciple in that moment. They were around a giant crowd, all day. Jesus probably moved through the crowd, coming to people who were sick and hurting. If the day was bright, warm, and dusty, I imagine the disciples would be exhausted by the end of the day. They’re tired and want to rest. But even after a full and busy day, Jesus makes them work. Once the leftovers are picked up, the disciples were worn out. And then one more thing comes up.
Jesus dismisses the crowd and his disciples. Jesus retreats to pray while the disciples board a boat on the Sea of Galilee. As Jesus prays, a storm develops. The disciples spend all night keeping their ship afloat. The disciples are already tired but the wind and waves do not let up. By the early morning hours, they must have been barely keeping themselves together. They look to the shore, now far away, and see Jesus coming towards them. The disciples freak out and Peter makes Jesus prove who he is. Jesus responds by giving Peter one more thing to do.
Life has a habit of giving us one more thing when we are already over our heads. A mourning family experiences another loss. A health crisis gets another unexpected diagnosis. The busyness of everyday life has one more problem thrown into the pot. As the winds and waters of life overwhelm us, one more thing will come. And when it does, Jesus is there.
We can act like the only time we meet Jesus is when we pick a time to meet him. Setting time aside to worship, pray, and study is very important. We are called to make faith a priority and that means giving our time to God. But when life overwhelms us and our time is occupied, that doesn’t mean Jesus isn’t with us. Jesus is there when we feel as if we’re drowning. Jesus is coming towards us even when we are being punished by the wind. And Jesus will grab our hand because there’s nothing in this life that can keep Jesus away from us.
Each week, I write a reflection on one of our scripture readings for the week. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship Bulletin for 10th Sunday After Pentecost, 8/13/2017.