Summary: God has called each one of us to do great things. And it all starts when we get out of the boat.
“Get Out of the Boat”
(The Disciples Version of the Story)
It was the next night. They had gathered together as usual. Peter, of course, was running late. A crowd of friends had joined the group for dinner. Then Matthew brought up the story. “Last night Peter made a fool of himself again.” A voice rang out, “What did Peter do this time?” The crowd started laughing. Phillip spoke up, “Well we were all out in the boat when a fierce storm arose. It was about 3:00 o’clock in the morning and we saw what appeared to be a ghost. Then a voice spoke and we realized it was Jesus. He was actually walking on water. It was amazing!” James interrupted and said, “Then Peter opened his big mouth and asked if he could join the Master. He’s always trying to be the Lord’s favorite.” John added, “Yeah, but remember what happened next. Peter got out of the boat and almost immediately started to sink. Of course, Jesus rescued him by reaching out, grabbing his arm and pulling him up. But then he rebuked Peter for his lack of faith.” The other disciples and the group of friends roared with laughter. “Peter messed up again,” one said. Another replied, “He’s always finding a way to fail Jesus.” Then Andrew concluded, “My brother was lucky that Jesus was able to rescue him in the middle of that terrible storm last night. Hopefully he learned his lesson. Maybe next time he’ll stay in the boat with the rest of us.”
…And now the rest of the story…
(Peter’s Version of the Story)
I was on my way to dinner with the other disciples when I ran into an old fishing buddy. I was so excited about what had happened that I had to tell somebody. I started telling him the story: “You’ll never believe what happened last night. I was in a boat with the rest of the guys at about 3:00am. The winds and the waves started to rock the boat back and forth. We were caught in the middle of a terrible storm. Then out of nowhere we saw what appeared to be a ghost. The figure was walking on water. Then we heard his voice. It was the voice of Jesus. He told us not to be afraid. So I said, ‘Master, if it is you, then tell me to come to you on the water.’ He told me to get out of the boat and come. So that’s exactly what I did. Before I knew what was happening I was actually walking on water. It was amazing! Then all of a sudden I realized I was in the middle of a huge storm. I started watching the waves instead of Jesus. Then it happened. I started sinking under the water. Immediately I cried out to the Lord and begged him to rescue me. He reached out his hand and pulled me back up. He asked me why I ever doubted Him and encouraged me to have more faith next time. The other disciples just watched from the boat. I can’t believe they didn’t join me. Sure, I started to sink because of doubt, but at least I can say I’ve walked on water! Maybe they’ll learn from my experience and get out of the boat next time.
The challenge to you is this: Get out of the Boat!
All of you have a choice. You can stay in the boat and criticize those who step out. Or you can get out of the boat and say that you’ve walked on water. The choice is yours!
John the Baptist is beheaded by Herod (Matt. 14:1-12).
Jesus withdrew to a solitary place to mourn (Matt. 14:13).
The crowds followed Jesus and he ministered to them (Matt. 14:13-14).
Jesus miraculously feeds the crowd in the evening (Matt. 14:15-21).
Jesus sends the disciples away and dismisses the crowd (Matt. 14:22).
Jesus withdraws to a remote place to pray alone (Matt. 14:23).
A storm arises on the sea while the disciples are in the boat (Matt. 14:24).
Excuses for staying in the boat:
1. A Complacent Attitude
a. I’m fine where I am. Why do something different?
b. “One Stormy Night…” (see at end of sermon)
2. A Distorted View
a. The task is impossible. I could never do that.
b. “The Richest Place on Earth…” (see at end of sermon)
3. An Overwhelming Fear
a. What if I fail? What if I succeed?
b. "If you have a preconceived idea that you will fail rather than succeed, then you will succeed in failing and fail in succeeding.”
c. Thomas Edison Illustration – “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close to success they were when they gave up.”