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Just as He Was

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to them, “Let us cross to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat just as he was.  Mark 4: 35-36

This story, of course, continues with the calming of the storm, but I found myself stuck on that last phrase: they took him with them in the boat just as he was. What in the heck does that mean – “Just as he was?” In the preceding verses of the chapter, Jesus was telling one parable after another. Does it mean that he was worn out after teaching all day? Or that he wasn’t dressed for a sail? It’s just such an odd phrase – just as he was.

As I reflected on this, it occurred to me that, in my own life, I expect Jesus to take ME as I am – flaws and all. And I believe that he does. However, I don’t always take Jesus as HE is. I pick and choose the teachings, the stories, the principles that fit in with the way I’m living my own life so that I can be comfortable. I guess that most of us do this in some way.

For instance, using Jesus’ parables, I put others in the category of the rocky soil where the lure of worldly goods chokes out the seed of the Word of God, but I, of course, am the fertile ground. I tell myself that I’m not covering up my light with a bushel basket, yet I don’t always boldly speak up when someone says or does something that I consider wrong, rationalizing my silence by thinking that it isn’t my business, and that’s not what Jesus meant anyway (as if I know that.) Or if someone else’s light shines on my weaknesses, I look for a way to shut off that light or find shadows to hide in rather than take a closer look at myself and make inner changes.

When I am called to take Jesus, as he is, into a situation – to be his hands, feet, ears, eyes, heart for someone else – sometimes I let my own ego take over and fool myself, temporarily, into thinking that I brought Jesus there, just as he is. That never turns out well. When I let Jesus just BE in me, without my editing, or redacting, or alterations, that’s when I really am letting my light shine, when I really am the fertile soil. The others with me are able to see and feel the difference. And so am I.

So the challenge for us all, it seems to me, is to take Jesus as he is – into our own hearts and lives and into the storms that rage all around us. If we can bring the calm, trusting presence of Jesus into the boat being tossed in the waves and remain unafraid, we can inspire that same calm in others. We can be the beacon that reminds others, and ourselves, that we are God’s beloved children who need never be afraid as long as Jesus is in the boat with us.

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Mary van Balen
27 days ago

Thanks, Anita. You’ve provided lots to consider as we sail on life’s seas!