Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
Texts: Luke 5:1-11; Matthew 16:13-17; Matthew 14:22-33; Luke 22:31-34, 54–62; Galatians 2:9, 11-14
It’s not an uncommon call for help. Two messages came in around 8 p.m. last week to the Coast Guard in Clearwater, Florida. A fisherman in a 12-foot dinghy was in bad weather and taking on water. He needed emergency assistance.
Immediately the area’s Marine Emergency Response Team responded and sent out a helicopter crew. The pilot explained, “This could have been a tragic situation. Thankfully the fisherman had a working VHF radio so he could alert us of the distress immediately and we were able to rescue him in time.” Then he added, “I recommend all boaters pay close attention to the local forecast before even leaving the dock.”1
Not all boaters are this fortunate. In 2015, the Coast Guard counted 4,158 boating accidents that involved 626 deaths, 2,613 injuries, and about $42 million in damage to property. Where cause of death was known, 76 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned and 86 percent of them were not wearing a life jacket.2
In this week’s Sabbath school lesson we begin a new quarter on a disciple named Peter who wrote two New Testament books. Peter was a fisherman who gave his life to Christ after a miraculous catch of fish.
Peter had weathered many storms on the Sea of Galilee, but one time he almost didn’t survive. When Christ sent the disciples out onto the lake without Him, they encountered a fierce storm. Sometime after 3 a.m. they saw a ghost walking on the water and were frightened. Jesus assured them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27).
That’s when the daring Peter asked, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water” (verse 28). Without hesitation, Jesus said, “Come.” You know the rest of the story. Peter steps out onto the water and begins to walk toward Jesus. “But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying ‘Lord, save me!’” (verse 30).
We know how Jesus reached out His hand and saved Peter. But we forget that the storm did not cease until they got back into the boat (verse 32). That means Peter walked on the water during the storm. It’s a good reminder that even after SOS prayers are sent for divine help, the Lord is with us while the tempests of life are blowing all around, especially when we forget to check the forecast.
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