Summary: Learning to walk by faith with the Lord
If you are going to walk on water you have to get out of the boat
Text: Matthew 14:22-33
It had been a long and tiresome day. We are told that as Jesus and the disciples were coming to shore they were met by a crowd of people. They were looking for Jesus. They had brought their sick and lame to be healed. All day long Jesus healed and taught them the ways of God. Then he performed one of the most amazing miracles in scripture. From two fish and five barley loaves he fed in excess of 10,000 people. This was incredible. This miracle defies all natural law.
Finally Jesus needed to spend some time with his father. So he sent the disciples away and he sent the crowd away. Into the boat went the disciples and into the hills went Jesus. Jesus promised he would meet up with them but not how.
The disciples left Jesus back on the other side of the lake for some peace and quiet and began making their way by boat across the lake. In the early hours of the morning, far out on the lake, they were in deep trouble. A fierce storm had arisen and their boat was tossed about by the waves and facing a head wind. We can assume that they must have been battling the storm for quite a few hours and must have been getting very weary. They were at the mercy of the wind and the waves. Imagine the churning water, the huge waves as they crashed over the boat, the powerful head wind and the disciples in the middle of it all, staining every muscle as they tried to row against it. What an image of chaos, terror, hopelessness, and powerlessness!
Then coming across the turbulent water they see a figure walking towards them across the stormy waters with the wind tearing at his clothes and the white caps lapping at his feet. This would make the bravest hearts cringe. These seasoned fishermen had seen many things out there on the lake, but they had never seen anything like this. There was only one possible explanation. No human can walk on water. "It’s a ghost!" they immediately thought.
Above the wind they hear a voice: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid!’ It’s Jesus. Jesus had left the quiet of his hillside retreat and came across the turbulent lake to aid the threatened disciples. At the point when they thought that there was nothing left for them but a watery grave, Jesus came to the rescue. At the point when they were desperate and powerless Jesus comes to rescue them from certain shipwreck. He gives them a renewed hope and a sense that there really isn’t anything to be afraid of. Jesus is there with his calming words: "It is I. Don’t be afraid!"
Do you know what the two most common used words in the Bible are? “Fear not”. 366 times in the Bible God says, “Fear not”. One for every day of the week and oh yea one even for leap year.
This is what Jesus says to the disciples but this is what he says to us in storm of life. When the waves seem to be knocking against us. When we are so focused on the storm that we are paralyzed with fear.
But Peter went a step further. He heard the call of Christ. Yet Peter understood something that the others didn’t, “It is better to be with Jesus in the storm than to stay in the safety of the boat”.
So he calls out to Jesus, “master if it is you tell me to come”. Jesus says, “ Come”.
So Peter takes one leg and hoists it over the side and then the next leg is over and he is on the water. For a moment in time it is Jesus and Peter on water. It is just Master and servant.
Now we all know what happened next and sometimes we focus on Peter’s failure so much that we miss his achievement. Yes Peter achieved something. He had an experience that no other disciple experienced. He walked water. For the rest of his life he will be called a water walker.
But you know we all are called to be water walker. We are all called to get out of the boat. Oh the boat is safety. The boat is security. The boat is comfortable. It is not much challenge to stay in the boat. If you get out of the boat there is a big chance that you are going to sink. I will tell you that now. But if you don’t get out of the boat. If you don’t lose what is holding you back from doing what God is calling you to do you will never know what it is like to walk by faith in Christ and to walk on water.