December 15, 2018

Pastoral Nuggets: What the Bible Doesn’t Say

During my forty plus years of pastoral ministry, I have often told my parishioners that sometimes it is just as important to hear what the Bible doesn’t say as it is to hear what it does say.

The main truth of the column today will be about something the Bible doesn’t tell us.

In Matthew 14: 22-34 you will find the story of the Apostle Peter walking on the water.

Most of us learned this story in Sunday School or Vacation Bible School. In a nutshell, after Jesus had just miraculously fed five thousand people with a few fish and a few loaves, He then instructed His disciples to get into a boat and go to the other side of the Lake of Gennesaret.

As they were going, a fierce storm arose and caught them in the middle of the lake at night. They were doing all they could do to navigate the storm when they saw something coming toward them on the water. At first they thought it was a ghost. Then Jesus spoke and identified Himself. He told them not to be afraid.

However, not really sure it was Jesus; Peter told Him that if was really Him to bid him to come to Him on the water. Jesus obliged. Peter then got out of the boat and walked on the water. Unfortunately, he took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink. Peter then cried out in fear for Jesus to save him. The Bible then states that when both of them were safely in the boat, the storm subsided.

There are two things I want to point out in this column today regarding this miracle.

First, in verse 33 we find where the disciples first “worshipped” Jesus. Matthew 14:33(KJV), “Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.”

The second thing is not so obvious. This is the part the Bible doesn’t tell us. Matthew 14:34(KJV), “And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret.”

Question: How did they get to the other side? Jesus could have magically tele-transported them to the other side. He could have lined them up on the water and marched them across the sea to the other side. There are countless ways He could have gotten them to the other side.

But the truth of the matter is that we don’t know how they got to the other side. The Bible doesn’t say. Therefore, my opinion is just as valid as yours. I can’t prove my opinion, but you can’t disprove it!

I think the hidden pearl of truth in this passage is in what the story doesn’t tell us. I think Jesus may have told them that the same oars they were employing before the miracle were still attached to the boat. He just may have instructed all of them to grab one and go back to rowing. The same mandate He gave them before the storm and the miracles was still in place:  Get in the boat and go to the other side!

I think we may be guilty today of waiting on Jesus to feed the five thousand with a few fish and loaves, walk on water, rescue a drowning disciple, or calm the storms we are experiencing – when all along the miracle may simply be found in grabbing hold of our oar and rowing. Sure! Trust Jesus for the impossible, but don’t abandon your oar in the process. Oh! And be sure not to miss the second part of verse 24, “… they came into the land of Gennesaret.”

They wound up where He instructed them to go. Mission accomplished!

Throughout our lifetime we will encounter many miracles – none of which alleviate us of the responsibility of performing the task Jesus assigned us! And sometimes we need to listen to what the Bible doesn’t say! It’s important!

Brother Aaron

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