Summary: Learn from Peter’s experience as he walks on the water and strive to get near to Jesus.
March 28, 2009
Good morning everyone. You all look good in your gowns. I could still remember the time when I also sat in that place where you are seated right now. Seven years ago, I also wore the same gown you are wearing right now. Well, that wasn’t long ago, meaning I’m not that old. (Laugh….)
I have a confession to make this morning. Seven years ago, seated at your place right now, I said to myself, someday, I will be speaking here, in the same occasion, but I never thought that it would happen this soon. I thought maybe it would happen just before I retire. Nevertheless, I thank God and this institution, my Alma Mater, for giving me an opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences to fellow CLAAnians, friends, and visitors.
Are you familiar with slogans? Slogans are usually phrases that a company or a person uses for public promotion. Ok, let’s have a short quiz. I’ll tell you the slogan and you’ll tell me what the brand is. (powerpoint)
These brands were known because of their slogans. Example… Well, I think you want your batch to be known as a batch that always moves forward. Right? Because that’s what your theme says.
You have chosen a wonderful theme. “Tojours Avant” which means Always Forward. I searched the internet to know more about this French phrase. I have learned that it is used in army drills. It is equivalent to when a cadet officers say “forward march”.
Moving forward involves stepping. We are all familiar in the saying “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, and I know we all agree with that. Graduating seniors, I’m happy to share to you one of the greatest stories in the Bible that we all can learn from.
I’m sure that you are all familiar with Simon Peter, one of the greatest disciples of Jesus. But before He was considered one of the greatest, he went through a lot of tough and testing times.
Let me give you a bit of Peter’s Background. Christ is walking along the shores, of the Sea of Galilee and he sees two fishermen casting their nets into the sea. Seeing them, He says, "Come, follow me and I will make you fisher’s of men." And in Matthew 4:11 we read "At once they left their nets and followed him." One of those two fishermen is Simon Peter. Imagine those steps of faith Peter first made. A man, who Peter knows little about, asks him to follow him and he immediately dropped his nets; his livelihood, his job, and obeyed. But this step of faith is only the beginning, he took a lot more. In Matt. 8:14 Christ visits the house of Peter’s mother- in-law, who is lying in bed with a fever. Jesus reaches out his hand…and touches her, and immediately the fever leaves her and she rises up and begins to serve Jesus. In Matthew 8:23 Jesus is in a boat asleep while a furious storm heaps waves over the boat and Peter is among the disciples who fear for their lives. And Peter is amazed because Jesus rebukes the waves and the storm becomes completely calm. As Peter continues to follow Jesus, he sees Christ cast out demons, heal various diseases and illnesses, raise a young girl from the dead, and teach a great many truths about the Kingdom of God.
This morning we’ll look at Matthew 14, and find out how the thousand-mile journey of Peter began with a single-step and how he was able to answer Jesus’ question in Matthew 16:16 "Who do you say that I am?" , his answer was., "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."
If you have your Bibles with you, open it to Matthew 14:22-33. Read….. Let’s Pray.
Before moving on, let me give a little background of the story. News of Herod’s murder of John the Baptist reaches Jesus and his followers. (John is the cousin of Jesus remember) So it’s with this news that Jesus withdraws to a solitary place, but the crowds follow him. It’s late and the multitude was hungry, so with five loaves and two fish, he fed 5,000 people. Then after he fed the crowd, he sent the disciples away, dismissed the crowd, and went up into the hills, to pray.
But Jesus didn’t just send the disciples away, Christ commanded the disciples to cross the lake, at the exact time that a storm blew in and we find the disciples in the boat, struggling to reach their destination, buffeted by waves. Scared to death I’m sure. And then Jesus "went out to them walking on the lake." The disciples were terrified! It must be a ghost! But it’s not. Jesus identifies himself. Peter, seeing Christ walk on the water wants to draw near to him. So he asks Christ for permission to come to him across the water. Jesus says "Come on" and Peter steps out of the boat and begins to walk across the water. But the wind is howling and the waves are high, and for a brief moment, he takes his eyes off of Jesus and he begins to sink. "Lord, Save me" he cries out. And Jesus reaches out his hand and lifts him up.