A Different Kind of Extreme Sport
Sky diving, bungee jumping, skateboarding, BMX, and wakeboarding – these are some examples of extreme sports.
Don’t get me wrong. I have NO intention of trying them out. I love adventure but not this kind. But did you know that the idea of extreme sports isn’t new? In fact, the Bible tells us of a different kind of extreme sport. And Jesus himself were into it. Let me show you.
In Matthew 14:13-21, we are told of the story where Jesus fed five thousand people. After this massive feeding event, he had his disciples get into a boat to go on ahead of him to the other side while he dismissed the crowd (Matthew 14:22). He had to catch up, even when the boat was at considerable distance from land and the waves were strong (v.24).
And he eventually caught up with the disciple…walking on water! Now that’s extreme sports! (I don’t know if they knew extreme sports at that time and consider “water-walking” a kind of it. But what Jesus did is simply out of this world! And I can’t help but call it extreme).
Eventually, Peter had to try out water-walking. Like discipler, like disciple. But water-walking is more than just an extreme sport. It’s also discipleship. For this, I even coined the term “extreme discipleship”.
Let’s take a look at the rest of Matthew 14, starting at verse 27. The following is what defines extreme discipleship:
1. Discerning God’s Presence (v.27). The disciples thought they saw a ghost (v.26). But Jesus assured them that it was Him and there is no need to be afraid. Discerning God’s presence is important in extreme discipleship. Ultimately, it’s His presence that make us hopeful in life. It keeps us going on. (This is a recurring theme in the Bible. You may want to do some reading on this.)
2. Discerning God’s Will (vv.28,29). In this verse, Peter first called on to Jesus before attempting to walk on water. He could’ve stepped out of the boat immediately, given that he was impulsive in nature. But he didn’t. So why did Peter have to ask Jesus? Answer: He wanted to seek Jesus’ will. Asking “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water” is like asking “Lord, if it’s your will that I walk to you on water, tell me.” Or like asking “Lord, if this is a good idea and it pleases you, tell me.” So instead of deciding and acting impulsively and stupidly in all aspects of our lives and later on suffer its repercussions, let’s seek God’s will first.
3. Doing God’s Will (vv.29,30). Now, Peter knew Jesus’ will. So given the go-signal, he went to Him walking on water. Doing God’s will requires obedience and faith, which Peter showed. But doing so isn’t always easy. Peter was distracted by the wind, became afraid, and sank. Similarly, we will face a lot of distractions that will divert our focus from Jesus and even make us fall. Believe it or not, we may even face opposition from doing God’s will. That’s why faith matters.
4. Dealing with Mistakes and Discipline (v.31). When Peter sank, Jesus came to his rescue. But he had to deal with Jesus’ rebuke and learn from his own mistake right after. In our lives, we will commit mistakes and will have to face the discipline of the Lord so that we’ll mature.
5. Declaring God’s Worthiness (v.33). When Peter and his Lord climbed into the boat, he and his fellow disciples can’t help but worship the water-walking Jesus. Extreme discipleship ultimately ends up in worship.
It’s my prayer that you will “walk on water” with Jesus and submit to His extreme discipleship.