Summary: You have to get out of the boat and trust Jesus to lead you in order to do the will of God.
Matthew 14: 22 -33 / Don’t Be Afraid
Intro: A woman was walking down a city street when she heard a voice in her ear say, “STOP!” Startled, she did and a brick fell from the roof above and fell right in front of her. She could have been killed. A few days later, she was again walking on a busy street and she heard the voice again, “STOP!” She did just as a car came whizzing by missing her. The voice had served her lift twice. Curious, she spoke to the voice asking who it was. The voice said she was her guardian angel and sent to keep her safe. Angrily, the woman replied, “Well, where were you the day I got married?” (Illustration from LAWNMOWERS or MOTORCYCLES By Bruce Ball, SermonCentral.com)
I. VS. 22 – “Jesus MADE the disciples get into the boat.” I find the word MADE really interesting. Jesus ordered them into the boat.
A. It obviously was not storming when Jesus ordered the disciples into the boat. Nonetheless, they had to row across the lake which was a lot a work. I can hear the disciples complaining.
B. Why did Jesus send us out here? This is ridiculous! And just what is he doing while we are out here in this storm fighting our way across the sea?
C. I once had a boss who made me calculate the salary budget for 250 employees using a calculator. It was his job; but, he ordered me to do it. I grumbled about it the whole time I worked on it. “Who does he think he is ordering me to do his work?” --- He’s the president of the hospital. He can order you to do anything.
II. Struggling against a storm and the wind, the disciples were frightened. VS. 24 – 26
A. Fear plays a major role in this passage. It is a recurring theme in the story. The phrases, “terrified,” “cried out in fear,” “do not be afraid,” and “became frightened” all occur in just 11 verses.
B. Fear often plays a major role in our lives as well. Perhaps it is fear of getting caught that keeps us from breaking the law. Fear of being fired makes us do the ridiculous things a boss may demand.
C. Even after Jesus called out in VS. 27 “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Fear kept all the disciples but one in the boat.
III. It is I. ego eimi – words not usually used in GK unless there is an emphasis being made.” Knocking at the door at night when you’ve forgotten your keys. “WHO IS IT? IT’S ME!”
A. Jesus comes to reassure the disciples. Christ Jesus is in charge and has not abandoned the disciples, shoving them out to sea to drown. Neither will Christ Jesus abandon us in any endeavor to which we have been called.
B. Peter thinks perhaps it is Jesus. VS, 28 – 30 Christ calls / Peter obeys. Come, walk on the water. Do the seemingly impossible and Peter is successful until he begins to doubt.
C. We may have faith and believe we are called; but, when the wind and waves of the storms of life distract us we, like Peter, doubt and begin to drown. We loose faith and fail to walk in confidence as Christ commands.
Conclu: While Peter was out taking risks, the rest of the disciples, the sensible ones, stayed in the boat. They stayed in their comfort zone. They would rather go down with the ship than trust Christ Jesus to lead them. The others were focusing on the crisis instead of the Christ. VS. 30 – 31. The moment Peter took his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink. If we let fear of failure keep us in the boat, we may be sensible; but we will never accomplish the mission to which Christ Jesus calls us. It takes FAITH not FEAR to accomplish that to which God has called us.