Summary: ....you need to get out of the boat
Mt 14: 22-33: If you want to walk on water, you better get out of the boat!
I would like to focus on two particular verses from our Gospel reading today.
They occur in the middle of the story of Jesus walking on the water.
The disciples have run into a storm on the middle of the Lake of Galilee – and Jesus comes out to them – walking of the water.
Peter sees Jesus and asks him if he can come out join him. And Jesus replies:
Then Peter got out of the boat, walked on water and came towards Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink.”
When people preach on this passage - the story of Jesus walking on the water - they almost always seem to focus on Peter’s lack of faith.
But I think Peter gets a bad press on this.
I’d like to look on Peter’s actions in a more positive light.
I know of ONLY two people who have walked on water – and one of them was Peter.
2. Peter’s Experience of Walking on the Water
When I think about it - what amazes me was that Peter had faith to get out of the boat IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!
I know I wouldn’t have. I’d have wanted to stay in the boat
NONE of the other disciples joined Peter on the Lake!. So where did it all go wrong
I believe it was when Peter took his eyes off Christ and looked at what was going on around him – and he suddenly realised his predicament.
And it was only when he looked to Christ that he was safe.
4. Are we prepared to get out of the boat?
Carol gave me a book the other day by John Ortberg with the wonderfully intriguing title:
“If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat”
When Christ calls us to get out of our comfortable boat – what do we do?
Do we follow in the footsteps of the great apostle St. Peter – or do we remain, like the other eleven in the boat.
Because we will only do great things for God when we get out of the security of the BOAT.
God doesn’t just call the Good and the Great in the Church to get out of the boat and join him on the water.
He calls you and me too!
You don’t have to be anyone special for Jesus to call you to come out of the boat.
Story: Let me share with you one of the times that God has called me to step out of the boat and metaphorically walk on water.
It was in 1989, when God gave us a vision for an English Charismatic Church in Basle, Switzerland.
All our Christian friends told us that we were crazy – they were all sure that it definitely wasn’t God’s will.
They all had reasons why it would NOT work.
Except Johannes Czwalina the pastor of the 800-1000 strong Alban Arbeit – at that time the largest church in the city.
He was excited by our vision and invited us to share it in church in Elizabethan Kirche at the next evening service.
At the end of that service, a young man came up to me and stuck three verses – written on a “Post it” - on my guitar.
He told me that God had given him these three verses for me
The first was Isaiah 43:19:
"See I am doing a new thing. Can you not see it? I will cause rivers to flow in the desert"
The second was John 6:38
"You will reap where you did not sow"
And the last one was Ex. 14:14:
"The Lord will fight for you when you are silent".
How true each verse was with hindsight!
We had to step out of the boat to do the will of God.
Many of my Christian friends turned against me – and Maddy and I were ostracised for it.
We made mistakes – we got the initial direction wrong – but God soon corrected us becasue the right vision was that the church was called to reach out to the refugees, passing through Basle .
That’s why I always say – I’ll make mistakes!
The church started in 1989 and is still going strong today with about 50-80 attending church each Sunday morning.
We were in the unique position of having more Muslims and Hindus than Christians attending church on Sunday. Tell me any other church that does that!!
In one year we counted up that people from 53 different nationalities passed through the Church and a number made a Christian commitment.