To the Other Side

One of the joys of touring Israel was gaining those little insights or nuggets of truth that a person just doesn’t pick up while reading the Bible.  Many of these insights were fascinating.  Such was the case when we traveled to Kursi which is in the region of the Gerasenes; it’s where Jesus drove the demons out of the man and they went into the pigs.  And then the pigs ran down the hill and into the sea. (No, they didn’t run off of a cliff—because there is no cliff.)
Insight #5.  In order to receive all that Jesus has for me, I must risk following him to “the other side.”
Normally when I read Mark 4:35-41 I would focus on the storm that suddenly arose, the fear of the disciples, and how Jesus calmed the wind and the waves; however, as we looked from Kursi across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum, our tour guide shared the significance of “crossing over to the other side.”
The Jews primarily lived in the northwest area of the Sea of Galilee.  However, the east side of the lake was inhabited by pagans who worshiped “other gods.”  So to go to the other side of the lake was to engage people who worshiped other gods, people who were different.  In addition, there was a legion of Roman soldiers there and the Jews hated them and wanted nothing to do with them.  That little insight changes things doesn’t it?
I don’t know why, but I always thought that when Jesus and the disciples would cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, it was for the purpose of getting some rest from daily grind of ministry; kind of like going to the lake for the weekend.  Now, certainly nothing wrong with taking a break, but in this story Jesus is inviting the disciples to risk comfortable in order to engage those who are looking for hope and peace in all the wrong places.
One of the things we must understand is that when Jesus invites us to get into the boat and to cross over to the other side, more than likely he wants to reveal something greater to us.  Up until this point the disciples had witnessed some miraculous healings and were amazed by Jesus teaching, but here in this little journey with Jesus to the other side, they discovered he even has power over the natural (the storm) and the supernatural (the demons).  If they wouldn’t have taken the risk, they wouldn’t have received the new revelation.
I wonder how much revelation I have missed by refusing to get into the boat in order to “go to the other side.”  Jesus longs to take each one of us on a journey to the other side in order that we might experience more of him.  He wants us to experience so much more of the abundant life than we want for ourselves.
A couple of questions for you: How badly do you want to receive all that Jesus has for you?  Have you really accepted Jesus’ invitation to get into the boat with him?  Really?  And if you were to cross over to the other side in order to engage a pagan, where, or who would that be?
Often times the fear that comes with following Jesus is the uncertainty of where he will lead me or how he might want to use me.  However, I never want fear to keep me from experiencing everything that Jesus has for me.  May we all be quick to risk jumping into the boat to go to the other side!
Following the Master into mission, Mike

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