Summary: What Peter’s experience teaches us about faith in God.
If You Want to Walk on Water…
Beartown Road Alliance Church
Sunday, August 13th, 2006
The passage that we’re looking at this morning follows two very significant events in the book of Matthew. The first, in the beginning of chapter 14 is the death of John the Baptist. Herod had him killed and when news reaches Jesus, he withdraws by boat for some solitude. This was a man that Jesus loved greatly, this was His cousin. Even more than the family bond, this was the one that God had sent to point the way to Christ as the Messiah. Jesus was fully man and I’m sure that this was a tough time for Him and He needed to be alone. When he lands on shore, the crowds are there again. Instead of telling them he was tired and needed some time, it says that he had compassion on them and that he healed their sick. He spent all day with them and when evening came, the disciples wanted Him to send the people home to get some food.
Jesus used this to teach the disciples a lesson. He told them that they should feed the people. And then he took five loaves and two fish and fed 5,000 men and who knows how many women and children with them. And when they were done, the disciples collected 12 baskets of leftovers! It was tough to skip over this passage, there are so many great points to be made in this miracle. Jesus providing for the people in abundance. Jesus providing the power but letting the disciples do the ministering, just like he uses His Church today. An amazing miracle with no natural or logical explanation.
And it’s at the tail end of this miracle that we pick up in Matthew.
Read Matthew 14:22-33
Like the passage before it, this is one that we can pull a lot of truth from. I have heard messages about the storms of life, I’ve heard messages that focus on Christ sending them into the storm to teach them a lesson, I’ve heard messages on Christ’s response to their fear, literally telling them, “I AM, is here.” The same name God used with Moses and the deep meaning contained in that name. All of those are great and if we had 6 weeks I’d do a sermon on each aspect. But for where we are as a ministry, I wanted to focus on Peter. I want to focus on what it was that pushed Him out of the boat and then why it was that he nearly drowned. I love the passion and impulsiveness of Peter that we see over and over again in the gospels. Here in this passage, he teaches us the basics of faith. Not just, yes, I believe in God, faith, but jump out of the boat in a storm and try to walk on water faith.
There are three aspects to this kind of faith that we can see in this passage. The first:
Taking that leap of faith that allows God to accomplish the impossible in our lives, begins with Desire. Look at Peter’s reaction when he sees Christ. When he realizes that he’s in the boat and Jesus is out there, in the water, Peter’s desire, despite the obvious physical limitations, was to be with Jesus. He wanted to be out there with Christ, he wanted to be in His presence, to do what He was doing, to follow Him even into the impossible. Faith, that circumstance changing, life changing, seeing God move faith, begins with an intense desire to be with Jesus where He is.
Watching Alex and Becky this summer has brought back a lot of memories for me. I told Marsha this week that Alex is like a Ninja. I bet you didn’t know that! Ninjas are known for their ability to disappear, in movies someone is talking to a ninja and they turn for a moment and when they turn back, the ninja is gone. That describes Alex. As soon as his responsibilities are done, he disappears. This week, we finished worship team practice and I turned to say something to Gary and when I turned back, he had vanished. If I rush to the window quickly enough I can just catch his tail lights as his car speeds towards Becky’s house. Alex has a desire to be where Becky is. I remember those days. Now, I still have a great desire to be with my wife, to follow her and to be wherever she is, but it’s nothing compared to when we were dating. I didn’t care what we were doing, I didn’t care where we were going, as long as I was with her, if she called and said come over, I was on her doorstep before she hung up the phone. I watched her sew, I went to volleyball games, I even went to a ballet! If she was there, so was I.