23 Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples.
24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat.
But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting,
“Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!”
Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves,
and suddenly there was a great calm.
27 The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked.
“Even the winds and waves obey him!”
(Matthew 8:23-27, NLT)
For years we’ve heard the expression and admonition: What would Jesus do?
The idea is to consider what Jesus would do in that situation—to get us to stop and think before we act.
But for the next few weeks, I wanted to look at what Jesus did. How did He disciple his followers? How did He teach the important lessons in the short amount of time He had here on Earth?
I believe true discipleship happens best the way Jesus did it—walking with someone, spending time together in normal, every day settings, and sharing spiritual thing and having spiritual conversations. As parents, that is the way we also disciple our children. We take hold of those teachable moments God gives us as we walk along the way or sit together at dinner or read a bedtime story. (Deuteronomy 11:18-21)
Jesus taught by example and word. In Matthew 4 Jesus calls His first disciples and tells them to follow Him. Then, in the chapters after that, it says he was followed by great crowds and he taught what we call The Sermon on the Mount including the Beatitudes. Next, He and His disciples go onto a boat. Up to this point, they’ve seen Jesus heal. They’ve heard His teaching. But we don’t have a record of Him doing anything specifically with His disciples until the boat and the storm.
One of the most powerful ways Jesus taught His disciples was by His example in situations that we would call frightening. Often God uses the tense situations that worry and frighten us in order to bring us to a teachable moment with Him too. This is also a powerful way for us to disciple others.
The storm is bad, but Jesus sleeps. When He wakes up as the disciples are panicking, he tells the storm to stop. Many believers today think that is our job—to tell the storms to stop. I don’t think that is what Jesus is trying to show His disciples here. He asks them why their faith is so weak, not why they didn’t tell the storm to simply stop. I think He’s showing them they don’t need to worry or fear. God is in control, and nothing is going to happen that He does not permit.
I’ve seen over and over how God uses our attitudes in tense situations to minister to others. It is the main way our kids learn too. The “do as I say and not as I do” mantra is meaningless!
One time we were preparing for a conference and everything went wrong. There were some mix-ups, and a person came up to me and blasted me very loudly with her anger. I stood their speechless at first not sure whether I was about to scream back or cry, but God in His mercy helped me to remain calm, answer this persons tirade, and find a solution to the problem. We regrouped and went on with the conference fixing the issues.
I did not realize as this was happening that a young Christian I had been discipling was standing nearby. She began to cry and said she had never seen a person respond that way to someone’s anger. Her parents had always responded with shouting and harshness to every situation. It shook her, and it taught her that as a Christian and with God’s help, she too could respond with kindness and become a peacemaker.
Another friend became a Christian, but her husband was not a believer. They were facing some serious financial issues, and she responded with calmness and peace. She knew God would take care of them. She prayed daily about their situation, but she did not worry or get upset. Her husband watched her with dismay. He finally couldn’t stand it any longer and asked why she wasn’t upset or worried. She shared her faith with him, and he opened his heart to Christ.
In our daily walk with God, our children see how we respond to the circumstances around us, the politics, and new, the angry friend, the money challenges, the marital struggles. We are building in them a sense of hope or dread, faith or fear. We are teaching them how to build relationships in a healthy or in a dysfunctional way. They watch us and learn from what we do.
When we follow Christ’s example of what He did in leading and teaching His disciples, we can also learn to be effective disciple-makers. And we can learn to disciple our children in the every day moments of our lives.
And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:18, NLT)
A coloring page for your kids to enjoy