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The Sea of Galilee


That the Sea of Galilee was not a sea, but rather an enormous lake, was quite a surprise to me!


When I stood on its shores, its distant banks were hazy and hard to discern because of its sheer size.


The feet of Jesus crunched the gravel of these shores and His eyes swept over these same waters, as mine did over two thousand years later! What these waters witnessed captivates my imagination.


The Sea of Galilee and its environs were the inspiration for a series of landscape paintings, a few of which I've included.


The first century historian Flavius Josephus records 230 boats that regularly worked the waters of the Galilee for its abundant fish. Harp, or lyre shaped, this body of water is often referred to as the Sea of Kinneret, (derived from a Hebrew root word for harp). Fed with fresh water from the Jordan and from underground springs, it is 144 feet deep in some parts.


Galilean fish have fed the locals for over two millennia. It's easy to imagine the thriving fishing industry that Simon, Andrew, James and John left to follow Jesus.


On our visit we ate at a local restaurant well known for serving a favorite from the tilapia family, aptly called Peter's Fish. Like other tourists we got a kick out of photographing it with a shekel in its mouth, in memory of the wonderful account in the Bible of the miraculous payment of taxes!


Of the numerous biblical references of the Sea of Galilee, the account of Jesus walking on its surface moves me the most.


It happened around three in the morning, when visibility was poor and the wind was fierce. Far from the shore, the disciples struggling with turbulence only discerned the faintest form of Jesus as He came to them, walking on the water—a terrifying sight to those already wearied by the elements!

 

"And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water." Mat 14:28

 

There is such a spirit of adventure, faith and audacity revealed in Peter's request to Jesus. I so enjoy his impulsive and exuberant nature!



The disciples were already conscious of something ominous in the storm, more than mere wind-whipped waters tossing their boat about. Potentially life threatening, was it also demonic?


Their fearful response to seeing Jesus implies that they were well versed in the superstitious beliefs of the day, assuming that on such a night, they were likely encountering a ghost or spirit. Fear clouded their sights, rendering them incapable of recognizing Jesus. Only Peter responded to what seemed familiar to him, requesting proof by making an outrageous request.


"Bid me come..." he said.


I can almost hear his thoughts, "Jesus is walking on the water! If He asks me to come to Him, then I can also walk on water! I've spent my life on this sea and have never done that, nor have I ever seen anyone else do that! But this is JESUS! He does things no one else has ever done...!"


If God was, as most consider Him—remote and disengaged from His creation, then this account would have been different. Jesus would have imperiously pointed out the arrogance of Peter's request. How dare Peter equate himself with God! To think that he, a lowly human, would be permitted to share in what should strictly have been the privilege of deity—what nerve! Outrageous!


Instead, Jesus kindly says, "Come."


I aspire to the confidence of Peter's faith, who when exposed to the potential of experiencing God's power by invitation, boldly accepts. It reminds me of children, who while watching some adult at a skill far beyond their ability, yell impatiently "Let me do it, let me!" certain that if they were but given a chance, they could as well!


I love Jesus for not rebuking Peter's childlike faith. There is much to learn from that simple word "Come."



Today, He still says "Come" to the storm tossed, the weary, the skeptic, the bored and the jaded.


Come, because I, Jesus, will teach you how to BE sons and daughters of the Most High God.


Come, because by coming you honor me with your trust in my ability to help you walk on water.


Come, because the spirit of adventure within you longs for more than the possible.


Come, because when your eyes are only on Me, the impossible becomes possible.


Come, because I am able to fill you with exhilaration and satisfy your thirst for life, just as effortlessly as I am able to calm your fears.


Come, because even when you waver and begin to sink, I'll be there to lift you to safety.


Come, come, come!

 

His gentle, but authoritative, "Come" still echoes from the Sea of Galilee to each of us today.


Step out of your boat of limitations in response to His call and He will empower you with supernatural ability! Whatever you need, He not only has the power to provide, but also the desire to do so.


However, you do need brash faith that most will blithely discount and consider foolish. With Jesus, walking on water is a possibility for YOU, not just for Peter in years past. We tend to excuse and disqualify ourselves from such faith, or even the need for it.


None of the other disciples considered the possibility of joining Jesus on the water, except Peter. Don't be like them—they missed the opportunity to make biblical history!


Only to the degree we entertain the possibility of the supernatural are we likely to see it manifest in our lives.


God does not withhold, but grants freely, if we will take Him at His word.

 

"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.." 2Peter 1:4

 

What sort of art would we create, if we did not watch the wind and the waves in fear?


What thrilling discoveries could we unearth if, full of faith, we kept our eyes on Jesus and our sights not on the probable, but the impossible?


Only YOU can answer that!


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