Summary: If you are going to follow Jesus, you must, by faith, be willing to step out of the safety of your comfort zone and "do something religious."


Text: Matthew 14:22-33


1. John Ortberg is an exceptionally talented writer who can catch your attention with his titles.

2. One book was Titled Everyone is Normal Until You Get to Know Them.

3. Another one is Titled, If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve God to Get Out of The Boat.

4. I was so intrigued by the title that I finally Purchased it.

5. He opens the book with a humorous example from his life.

John and his wife decided to take a balloon ride with another couple. Once they got in the air It

became obvious that his wife was terrified. To calm her down he struck up a conversation with

the pilot. He knew his response wasn’t going to help When he began with, 'Dude. It’s like this.'

When He was done with his back story, Johns wife responded,

“You mean to tell me we are a thousand feet up in the air with an unemployed surfer who

started flying hot-air balloons because he got drunk, crashed a pickup, injured his brother, and

has never been in this one before and doesn’t know how to bring it down?” Then the wife of the

other couple looked at me and spoke—the only words either of them were to utter throughout

the entire flight. You’re a pastor. Do something religious. So I took an offering. The great

question at a moment like that is, Can I trust the pilot?" 1

6. That brings us to the story of Peter’s attempt to walk on the water and what we can learn from


7. Let me summarize the main point before we start.

If you are going to follow Jesus, you must, by faith, be willing to step out of the safety of your

comfort zone and "do something religious."


I. The setting

A. Read the text.

Matthew 14:22-33 (ESV)

B. Why did Jesus immediately make the disciple get in the boat?

1- Ortberg, John. If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat (pp. 14-15). Zondervan. Kindle


John 6:15 (ESV)15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force

to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

C. He went onto the mountain alone to pray. How many us would have taken time to pray after doing such a heroic dead as feeding 5,000 people and seeing them want to make you king?

D. It was late, about 3AM They had to take down the sail and rowed against the wind.

E. John says After hours of back breaking work they were only 3 or 4 Miles from shore by 3AM.

Mark 6:48 (ESV) 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them,

F. Who could see his friends 3 or 4 miles away at 3 AM except Jesus?

G. But why was he going to pass by them on the water? It is a double sign of who He is.

1. First, Only God walks on the water.

Job 9:8 (ESV) 8 who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea;

2. Second Passing by is a technical term for divinity

"(“to pass by”) is used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament as a technical

term to refer to a theophany—those defining moments when God made “striking

and temporary appearances in the earthly realm to a select individual or group

for the purpose of communicating a message.”2

Exodus 33:22 (ESV) 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by.

1 Kings 19:11 (ESV) 11 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.

H. What it is all over they will understand this truth.

Matthew 14:33 (ESV) 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

II. Faith and Fear

A. Peter showed us that faith overcomes fear

Matthew 14:25-28 (ESV)

B. Faith is about obedience not foolish risk taking.

2 - ibid (p. 17). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

3. Why does Matthew include this detail? Why doesn’t Peter just plunge into the water? I think it’s for a very important reason. This is not just a story about risk-taking; it is primarily a story about obedience. That means I will have to discern between an authentic call from God and what might simply be a foolish impulse on my part. Courage alone is not enough; it must be accompanied by wisdom and discernment. Matthew is not glorifying risk-taking for its own sake. Jesus is not looking for bungee jumping, hanggliding, day-trading, tornado-chasing Pinto drivers. Water-walking is not something Peter does for recreational purposes. This is not a story about extreme sports. It’s about extreme discipleship. This means that before Peter gets out of the boat, he had better make sure Jesus thinks it’s a good idea. So he asks for clarity, “If it is you, command me. . . .”3

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