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Other Boats


“There were also other boats with Him,” when the storm struck (Mk 4:36) What happened to these other boats in the storm? Mark does not simply say, “There were other boats,” but he adds “with Him.” So we understand that they were travelling together as a team. Who were there in the other boats? Definitely not the crowd because they had left the crowd behind (Mk 4:36). Let’s see what happened in the seashore before they got into the boat.

Jesus and His disciples just closed a healing campaign and walked towards the lake. On the way three people met Him and expressed their desire to join His ministerial team. Let’s see the three (Mt 8:16-18).

A scribe or a teacher of the law came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go” (v19). This teacher acknowledged Jesus as his teacher. Most of the scribes were sore displeased with Jesus’ teaching and had a hand in His killing. But this scribe was an unusual man who accepted Jesus as his teacher. Jesus did not call him to join His team. But he volunteered to follow Jesus “wherever he went” (vv 18,19). Note, that he was already a disciple because the next verse starts as “Another disciple.”

Jesus’ reply to him was far from inviting. “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowwhere to lay His head.”

The second man said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” This man was also a disciple. The meaning is that he would follow Jesus after the death of his father. But Jesus told him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead” (vv 21,22). This man had an excuse to put off following Jesus. But Jesus told him that others could take care of that. His father and brothers were dead spiritually; but this disciple was very much alive. He should be proclaiming the kingdom of God.

The third man said, “I will follow you Lord; but just let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus did not call him. It was his voluntary application. He had left his family and come. I suppose he was a bachelor who left his home to follow Jesus. Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Lk 9:61,62).

Let’s suppose these three men were convicted by what Jesus said and decided to follow Jesus. They were already following Jesus anyway but just ventilating their feelings to Jesus on the way. As they were getting ready to board the boats the inevitable discussion would have been who would go in Jesus’ boat. The prime disciples would have settled the dispute and expert sailors like Peter, James and John would have take charge of Jesus’ boat. Let’s say the three men boarded the other boats and travelled along with Jesus.

Suddenly there arose a storm and the boats were tossed like corks on the waves. Those in the other boats would have screamed as much as those in the boat where Jesus was. Would Jesus hear them? They were sure, the roar of the waves would drown their prayer. They all would have thought, “I wish I were in Jesus’ boat. Then I will not drown.”

Jesus did not save His boat alone. He stilled the storm and saved all the boats. No boat drowned. Whether Jesus is near us or far from us in only a feeling. That day physically He was far from them. But today it is, “God with us, Immanuel.”

The disciples in the boat with Jesus would have told the others how Jesus was asleep in the stern on a cushion. The first man to whom Jesus said He had no place to lay his head would have understood, life would be like that for him if He followed Jesus. He must not seek comforts but learn to put up in any situation. Jesus not only preached, He showed the man His life of hardship.

The second man who wanted to come after his father’s death would have been convicted. He saw Jesus, the first Son of the family, just like that, stepping into ministry leaving the family responsibility to His brothers. He took up hazardous journeys, risking His life, though the head of the family.

The third man who wanted to bid adieu to his family before he tagged along with Jesus would have been awestruck when His close disciples “took Him along, just as He was” (Mk 4:36). No preparation, no getting ready, no goodbye. He understood the urgency of proclaiming the Kingdom of God and not be a prodigal of time. He would have certainly decided not to turn back having put his hand on the plow. He would have thought “If I had gone to bid goodbye to my family, what a wonderful experience I would have lost.”

The three learnt their lessons. We don’t have a master who tells us to go. He went and sent.He said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt 4:19). Let us boldly go after Him who had no place to lay His head; who left the dead to bury the dead, so He could be after His Father’s business; who got into the boat just as He was, who never looked back having put his hand on the plow!


   Address for Correspondence & Contributions:

Lilian Stanley
13 Church Colony
Vellore 632006, India
Tel: +91 9843511943
Email: lilianstanley@gmail.com

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