Last Sunday we looked at an interesting passage where Jesus comes to the disciples walking on the water. In the next moment Peter asks Jesus to call him out on the wind and waves. Jesus does, and Peter steps out. Then Peter starts to sink…
This seems to be the part that most of us remember and focus on. Somehow this has become a picture of Peter’s failure, when that misses the point completely. This isn’t a picture of Peter’s failure…but of Peter’s growth.
No one does anything perfectly the first time (expect maybe for Jesus). All of us learn through failing, succeeding, and trying again. What we forget is that growing often starts with failing. So when Peter starts to sink it’s not a failure, per say, but instead a moment where he grows.
Earlier that day Jesus had given him a clear command to feed the people. Peter refused. This time Jesus give Peter another clear command to come to him on the wind and waves. This time Peter doesn’t refuse but jumps over the side of the boat into the dark, turbulent waters. Peter is learning. And yes he sinks, but Jesus grabs him and together hand in hand they walk back to the boat. Peter learns that he can only do this thing through and in Jesus.
This is the point for us, that we often are scared of failing. We don’t follow Jesus when he gives us clear commands (forgive, serve, give, follow, etc) because we are scared of failing. But here is the thing. Jesus isn’t scared of us failing, he is worried about us staying in the boat. Because Jesus knows that theory will never teach us better than hands on experience.
So if you want to grow as a disciple the next step is clear. Step out of the boat. When Jesus calls us…follow. Because that’s what disciples do.
We ended off the sermon with three ways to follow. First, get to know Jesus by reading the gospels this week. Read them and search not for information on Jesus, but for direction from him. Secondly, when you have direction, follow him and act on it. If you are moved by the difficulty of greed – step out of the boat – and give. If you are moved by the need to serve the poor – step out of the boat – and start. And lastly, get together with some other people because this isn’t meant to be a journey alone…but with Jesus and others…as we all try to step out of the boat to follow him…
Big Idea: Apprentices follow Jesus in action
- “Grace isn’t opposed to effort, its opposed to earning” Dallas Willard
- The action of an apprentice is all about following
- We see learning as becoming theory experts where Jesus sees it as mastering a craft
- You will not grow without attempting things you cannot do
- If Jesus is doing it, we can be part of it
- Jesus doesn’t want to do ministry for the disciples but through the disciples
- An apprentice follows Jesus even out into the wind and waves
- You learn more through practice than through theory
- Get to Know Jesus: Read the gospels this week listening for Jesus voice
- Get Practicing: Take a step out when Jesus calls you
- Get Together: Gather with friends to discuss the next steps Jesus is asking you to take
Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What surprised you? What made you think? What made you laugh? What did you take away? What did you think of the difference between earning grace and showing effort because of grace? How do you make sure we don’t just end up “knowing lots about Jesus” without actually “becoming like Jesus”? Has Jesus ever called you to do something before (i.e. get rid of anger, forgive, start a ministry, etc)? Did you follow through? What was the outcome? What might Jesus be calling you to do today? How will you do it? Who can help you in it?
Discussion Questions for Young Families: Take a moment to sit down with your kids and talk about what “following Jesus” looks like to them. Talk about how for them it might look like sharing, forgiving, and reaching out to kids who don’t have friends. Talk about the specific things Jesus has called you to do in your life (maybe change jobs, talk to someone, or give up a grudge). Share how it made a difference and why it matters. Also share with them how you’d like to follow Jesus together as a family.
Challenge for this Week:
Get to Know Jesus (Read the Gospels), Start Following (Put into Practice what Jesus asks), Get Together (Share with Friends how you are trying to follow Jesus)