|Create Date||May 17, 2017|
|Last Updated||June 15, 2017|
(For word document click title above) THE WALK ON WATER Matthew 14:22-33 Redhill. Gordon Green 14 May 2017.
There are many lessons in this famous Bible story – in fact every detail in this story seems to have been designed by God to teach the disciples and us today some vital principles, lessons. Just hours before this astonishing miracle occurred, the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 took place. Immediately after that Jesus told his disciples to get into their boat and go ahead of him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. He went up on the mountain to pray and the disciples began to cross the lake. They were obeying Jesus but they ran into a violent and life- threatening storm. In Mt14:22 we read; immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side.
LESSON 1: OBEDIENCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF BEING SPARED TROUBLE
Not all the storms we face in life are because of disobedience. In Jonah’s case it was but not here. Difficult times are not necessarily a consequence of sin. These were God’s disciples, his people, doing his will and yet they met with a terrifying storm. Some Christians think that the moment you become a Christian every day will be sunshine! No - we will have our dark and stormy nights! (1Peter 4:12-13). Don’t believe anyone who tells you that you are suffering – sick, lost your job etc - because of sin. This is not necessarily so! We live in a fallen world. There is sickness, suffering and disasters.
So the disciples were obediently rowing towards the other side of the lake and suddenly they’re overtaken by a terrifying storm. “Where is Jesus?!” Watching. And praying. While praying to His Father He was watching over the storm-tossed boat (Mark 6:48). They were under his watchful care throughout the night.
LESSON 2: WHEN WE CAN’T SEE JESUS HE SEES YOU – TRUST HIM.
For about 7 hours Jesus watched his disciples battle with a severe head wind before he came to rescue them. He first allowed them to experience the horrors of the storm.
LESSON 3: LIVE A DEPENDENT LIFE
Sometimes God lets us “struggle with the oars” until we recognise our dependence on him. It was only when the disciples felt totally helpless that they realised they were totally dependent on him (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).
This is a hard lesson. And a big lesson. What is sin? Sin is the do-it-yourself life. It is the independent life. “I will do it my way.” I don’t need God. God wants us to learn to be totally dependent on him. These were fisherman so familiar with the sea, wind and rough water. This was their life. They could have thought “we can handle this”. But no matter how much natural ability, experience we have we cannot live this life without God. Jesus said “Apart from me you cannot do anything” (Jn15:5) - but too often we think we can. God wants us to learn to trust him. To have faith and dependence in him. He is our hope. He is our deliverer.
Finally Jesus comes. “During the 4th watch of the night (3-6am) Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.” The disciples were absolutely terrified. From within the storm comes an unmistakable voice; “Don’t be afraid. It is I. Have courage.”
We all go through the storms of life. We all have our dark and stormy nights. Perhaps right now you are in a storm and you are searching the coastline for a light, a glimmer of hope but you don’t see Jesus. You don’t feel him. Perhaps you are angry. You expected someone to do something and they let you down. You even expected God to do something and He didn’t. You have prayed and prayed about your pain, sadness, fear but all you are left with are questions and doubts. You may be stressed out right now. You don’t have much faith. “How am I going to handle this? How can I cope? Where is God when I really need him?! Why has he allowed this?”
LESSON 4: JESUS IS NOW
We find tremendous hope in Jesus’ words to his disciples from within the storm that had enveloped them. Most translations say something like; “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” But a literal translation of Jesus’ announcement is “Courage! “I am! Don’t be afraid!” When God spoke from a burning bush to Moses, God announced “I am who I am” (Ex 3:14). In the New Testament Jesus declared “Before Abraham was born, I am” (John 8:58). But there was more – much more. Jesus said: “I am the bread of life”, “I am the light of the world”, I am the gate”, I am the good shepherd”, “I am the resurrection and the life”, “I am the way”, “I am the true vine.” The present- tense Christ. He never says “I was” or “I will be”. He is the “I am God.” Right in the centre of our storms the unwavering Jesus shouts, “I am”. Whatever storm - right in the middle of the ICU, boardroom, maternity ward, family conflict – Christ stands tall.
So we have 4 lessons from this astonishing miracle. But we haven’t even looked at Peter’s walk on the water. As I said there are so many lessons in this story and there are more lessons in Peter’s incident. Life-changing lessons. They are so deep and inspiring we cannot rush through them. Watch out for Part 2!
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG)