Read His Words Before Ours!
Mountains, rocks, olive trees, gardens, waves, winding roads, and stone buildings.
The smell of the sea, fish, freshly broken dirt, rain, and warm bread.
Wind blowing in your face, sweat dripping from your brow, wet fishing nets draped over your shoulders.
People working, talking, laughing, wondering, hoping . . .
All normal sights, sounds, and smells in this place called Galilee.
Galilee, a region in northern Israel, is the setting for much of the gospels. This small locale touted mountains and hills in its upper region, while the lower region was famed for its fertile soil and the Sea of Galilee.
Normal daily life in Galilee meant walking, and a lot of it! In fact, it wasn’t uncommon to walk 20 plus miles (32 km) every day. People walked to work, walked to get water, walked to worship, walked up the mountains, down into valleys, and along the seashore.
Walking was also a normal, daily routine for Jesus, who called Galilee His home. He walked beside the seashore, calling disciples, teaching, confronting, loving, and healing. (Matthew 4:18-23)
He walked up the mountains, looking for higher ground on which to teach the growing crowds. Matthew 5:1-2 (emphasis mine) tells us, “When He saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. Then He began to teach them[.]”
He walked to the mountains alone to pray, never forgetting to make time for His Father. (Matthew 14:23)
Fishing and boats were also a routine part of life for the people of Galilee, as fishing was a primary occupation in the region. Many of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen by trade before Jesus called them to “fish for people.” (Matthew 4:19) Jesus and His disciples often used these boats to cross from one side of the sea to the other. Pop-up storms were prevalent, as the cool eastern wind blew over the mountains and dropped into the sea.
The Sea of Galilee saw capsizing storms, like the one Jesus calmed in Mark 4:35-41.
“He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Silence! Be still!’ The wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
As well as terrifying storms, like the one Jesus traversed as He “came toward them walking on the sea.” (Matthew 14:22-33)
Have you ever wondered why Jesus chose to walk on the water in that storm?
Yes, He was Jesus, but surely there was an easier way! Why not immediately calm that storm too, or take another boat?
Perhaps Jesus’ unyielding steps on wind-battered waves were meant as a lesson for us, as we walk through the storms of life.
Remember Peter, the bold disciple who called, “Jesus, if that is You, let me walk on the water too!” (Matthew 14:28, paraphrase) What happened when he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the waves – yep, down he went. Similarly, life-storms can take us down when we take our eyes off the One we are to follow and walk toward.
Jesus the Teacher was a master at turning ordinary life into valuable lessons. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are full of these lessons, called parables.
Matthew 13 shares several of these purposeful stories:
“Parable of the Sower”
“Parable of the Wheat and Weeds”
“Parable of the Hidden Treasure and Priceless Pearl”
These imaginative stories were woven together with common everyday objects and routines to teach of God’s radically uncommon love,
showing Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah.
Lessons still relevant today.
Lessons we would be wise to remember, meditate on, and apply to our lives.
Throughout Scripture, God says,
“Do you have eyes and do not see;
do you have ears and do not hear?” (Mark 8:18, Jeremiah 5:21, Isaiah 6:10)
Even in Jesus’ day, so many people saw His miracles and did not believe.
They heard Him teach, yet denied His authority.
They witnessed the fulfillment of prophecy, but refused to accept the truth.
Let this not be said of us!
Let’s determine to walk through our everyday moments with eyes wide open to what God is revealing about Himself in the middle of our ordinary as we follow Him!
Speaking of following, the extremely narrow and maze-like roads of Galilee left only one choice when traversing them: closely following the person in front of you. It was easy to become lost among unfamiliar twists and turns.
Interesting, don’t you think?
When Jesus said, “follow Me,” He meant it quite literally. Imagine Jesus saying, “I know the way; to arrive safely, you must follow closely behind Me. Don’t take your eyes off Me.”
Walking. Fishing. Digging. Planting. Baking. Sunshine. Warm breezes. Sudden storms. Ordinary everyday life, until you add Jesus to the equation, and the ordinary becomes extraordinary!
Go for a walk today and consider the terrain Jesus walked, from the calling of His disciples to the road He traveled to His death.
Where or how is Jesus calling you to walk?
Who or what are you following?
Pray for open eyes and attentive ears.
Invite Jesus, our Master Teacher, into your ordinary and allow Him to make it extraordinary!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!