Jesus Reaches Down
In Matthew 14, Jesus famously walks on the water showing his lordship over the wind and sea. Peter leaves the boat of disciples and tries to join him. When the impetuous disciple becomes afraid of the wind and the waves, Jesus reaches down to save him. Jesus not only triumphs over our fears but also rescues us when we’ve gone over- board. When he climbs back into the boat, the wind and the seas become calm.
Jesus Reaches Down to Peter
22Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
28Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
In a church, those who lead are called to be servants because that is what Jesus called all of us to be. When he reaches down to one of his lead disciples, Jesus shows them the kind of leaders that our teachers, deacons, staff, and committee members are to exhibit (Matthew 14). We work together, and we serve those onboard and reach those who have gone overboard.
What do servant leaders do?:
- They equip the laity for the work of ministry. We train leaders who train leaders and followers for the work that God is calling us to do. We will study biblical leadership, ordination, and spiritual gifts. We will strengthen leadership skills among our students.
- Learn our spiritual gifts. We touched briefly on these gifts in the “Think, Act, Be” series. By learning our spiritual gifts, we’ll be able to explore together how Christ has already placed people in the body with the gifts we need to reach others. He’s calling new people to get involved in the ministries of our church.
- Pay attention to the lost sheep. They look out for those who’ve wandered away, dropped out, and haven’t been back.
- Use your roles in the community as opportunities to bear witness to God’s kingdom. By serving in your office and in nonprofits, we show and extend the love of Jesus to the community.
- Call people to service.
We have such a wonderful heritage of dozens of ministers across our world who began their journey of vocational ministry right here at FBC.
Robert Schnase writes about a church that discovered a problem with the “Middle Door.” Many people were coming through the front door. They attended for a while but were not able to find their fit in Bible study. They left out the back door. One woman shared that she had been a kitchen chef in her previous church but no one recognized or used her gifts in her new church. They began to pay closer attention to the “middle doors.” They started teaching a series of lessons to help people grow in their leadership, attendance, and spiritual gifts and to teach the church how to use new people in ministry. They worked on the middle doors, and the church grew stronger.
One of the ways we practice servant leadership is through communion. Deacons and church members serve the body of Christ. Deacons also deliver communion to homebound members and nonmembers. A few weeks ago one of our deacons delivered communion to a retired minister who attends another church. By serving in this way, we reach the larger body of Christ by sharing a symbol of Christ’s body and blood.