According to Mark's gospel, early in Jesus' ministry the word was already getting around about what this astonishing guy could do: "And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I will; be clean.”" (Mark 1:40 - 41 RSV) Jesus didn't ask for two forms of ID, or his credit card. He simply did what was needed, He reached out and healed the leper.
And then there was Peter. This poor man seemed to go from faux pas to crisis to amazing in a matter of minutes. Picture this. The homeboys are out in the boats trekking to their next destination. I'm betting they were tired, and maybe a touch cranky. After all, feeding 5000 takes a lot of work. To top it off, once they were on the water, the wind came up and so did the waves. (John 6:16-21)
For crying out loud! What else could happen? Isn't that precisely the time Jesus seems to enjoy showing up?
So, the disciples are tired, in the boat, wind and waves out of control, and here comes Jesus walking on the water! Get outta here!
Our boy, Peter, was only momentarily deterred. He asked the unbelievable: “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” (Matthew 14: 28 NASB) When the Lord told him to haul it on out of the boat, Peter did just that!
I love the image conjured up by Jesus rescuing Peter, but there's another one that's much sweeter to me. Three out of the four gospels describe Jesus gathering (reaching out to) children, holding them, blessing them. (Matthew 19:13-14; Mark 10:14-16; Luke 18:15-16) This tender moment must be pretty important for it to be included three times.
If Jesus reaching out for children isn't enough to comfort and encourage your heart, the prophet, Hosea, paints a poignant picture for us: “But I was the one who taught Ephraim to walk. I took the Israelites in my arms. I healed them, but they don’t know that. I led them with ropes,[c] but they were ropes of love. I was like a person who set them free.[d] I bent down and fed them." (Hosea 11:3-4 ERV)
Dear Reader, perhaps my fervent prayer for you is to experience Jesus reaching to save, to soothe, to inspire. He loves you so much! No matter where you are on your faith journey, He's reaching out to give you more, more of exactly what you need. Come, find everything you've ever hoped for in His embrace!