Matthew 14:22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.
You hear a lot in Christian circles about following Jesus but occasionally, like here, there is a reference concerning going ahead of Jesus. The biggest example is John the Baptist who was to prepare the way of the Lord (remember his big song in Godspell?). Important people in our day will sometimes send an advance team ahead of them to make sure all is ready before the main event. Here Jesus makes the disciples go out on the sea while he goes to pray alone. They run into difficulty out there with the end result being that they encounter Jesus in a new and different way. My neighbor’s child is at the age of learning to ride a two wheeler. They took the training wheels off a while ago and the Dad ran behind the bike supporting it until his son was up to speed and could move ahead on his own. His Dad was still his Dad and never far away but he had let go so that his boy could find the joy and the challenge of going on ahead without the hands-on support. Matthew ends his gospel with Jesus telling the disciples, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Maybe they (and we) would not have been able to fully appreciate that Jesus was always there if they had not experienced being on their own here. Sometimes it may feel like God has sent us out on our own. Where is God in your life this week?