On the north western shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel is a small kibbutz, a community, called Nof Ginosar. When I take folks to Israel, one of the things we do is an early morning boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, from Tiberias to Nof Ginosar.
The ride takes about 45-minutes to an hour, and is peaceful and pleasant, and a great time for personal reflection of the trip up to that point. The breeze is cool, the sky is clear, and the scenery is spectacular. Finally, we dock at Nof Ginosar and go inside to a one-room museum. Inside this room is what is called “The Jesus Boat.”
The Jesus Boat is a 2000 year old fishing boat that was discovered at the Sea of Galilee in 1986, buried deep in the mud of the shoreline. A drought had lowered the water level and exposed a section of the ancient boat.
Most likely this was NOT the boat that Jesus and the disciples had used on their various trips from one side of the sea to the other, nor was it likely that it ever belonged to Peter and Andrew or James and John and their father Zebedee. However… it is definitely from their time period, so the possibility remains that IT COULD HAVE BEEN one of their boats!
Regardless, as we stand there looking at it, it always gives me pause for thought about its history. You think back to the possibility that Jesus Himself may have been in this boat. That maybe some of the disciples fished from this very boat. The preservation was a painstaking process, and so the wooden timbers are well preserved. It is somewhat of a humbling, yet fascinating sight to behold.
But, like many other relics from that time and space of Biblical history, I must remind myself… IT’S NOT ABOUT THE BOAT!
It’s about WHAT HAPPENED in the boat! IN THE BOAT the Jesus and the disciples ventured into hostile territory to proclaim the Kingdom of God. It was IN THE BOAT that Jesus healed the hearts of thousands of people. And it was IN THE BOAT that Jesus calmed the storm with the power of His VOICE.
Often times our attention is drawn to only what’s right in front of us. So much so that we miss what God is really trying to show us – something that is ALSO right in front of us!
We see that someone has cancer, but we forget to ask, “Do they know Jesus?” Or, “Does their family know Jesus?” (They will need His strength to get through it.)
We see all the political discord and fighting among fellow Americans and we forget to ask, “God, please bring peace to our nation and grant us mercy and forgiveness for our lack of faith in YOU.” (We need the kind of UNITY that only Jesus can provide.)
We see the world falling apart at the seams, but we forget to ask, “Father, enlighten those who don’t know You, and make them aware of Your Glory.” (Jesus died to give everyone a chance!)
It’s easy to see only the cancer, the mismanaged politics, and the world in conflict, because those are right in front of our eyes. They’re broadcast in living color into our living rooms each day.
But the REAL STORY is NOT THE BOAT, it’s WHAT HAPPENED in the boat. It’s asking Jesus to provide His power and strength. It’s asking Jesus to lead us in grace and justice. It’s asking Jesus to bring His salvation to the lost of the world. These things are what’s really going on. And they are all OURS TO PRAY FOR.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6).
PRAYER is not our last resort, it should be our FIRST RESPONSE! Let us remember that what goes on in this life isn’t necessarily what is in front of our faces. “Life” is usually about something deeper. And we need to remember to bring Jesus into the depths with us and for us.
God bless you all, and we hope to see you Sunday!
— Pastor David McCall