Summary: God has chosen to limit His work, not according to His resources in Christ Jesus, but according to the availability of His people. Jesus could have walked all the way across the Sea of Galilee, but He chose to use a boat. He will use us for His work, if w
"Jesus Needs a Boat--But Not Really"
Author: Dr. Neal Gray
Passage: Matthew 14:22-33
Purpose: God has chosen to limit His work, not according to His resources in Christ Jesus, but according to the availability of His people. Jesus could have walked all the way across the Sea of Galilee, but He chose to use a boat. He will use us for His work, if we allow Him. "Lord Jesus, here’s my boat--for You."
A group of Nazarene Pastors recently met in San Diego, California to discuss matters of the church. The overwhelming consensus of those pastors was that the #1 concern in the Church of the Nazarene local churches is...
* Lack of Vision in the local church
* Lack of Purpose, and,
* Lack of Direction.
==> Listen, it’s not only church’s that lack purpose and direction. Most people don’t know what is proper, holy, and right to do with their lives. Today’s message should spark within you a purpose and direction for your individual life. That’s my prayer, that’s my hope.
Our Scripture is a familiar story, found in Matthew 14:22-33.
GOD USES THE ORDINARY, BUT HE DOESN’T HAVE TO
Jesus needs to use a boat, but He doesn’t need a boat. Jesus needs the boat, but not really. But He does, even though He doesn’t.
Get the picture? Well, you will soon!
In a similar way, God has chosen to limit His work, not according to His resources in Christ Jesus, but ACCORDING TO OUR AVAILABILITY, OUR FAITHFULNESS, OUR WILLINGNESS. God doesn’t need us in order to do anything necessary to spread the good news of His Son, our Lord Jesus; but then again, He does need us--according to His own plan.
==> God uses ordinary objects and ordinary people to accomplish His will, but He doesn’t have to. But He does! And He is God.
Jesus Comes Up to the Boat
In our Scripture passage, Jesus’ disciples were in the boat. It doesn’t say whose boat it was. The Scripture doesn’t give any idea about the quality of the boat. It might have been a wreck, for all we know.
It was the fourth watch of the night, which simply means it was the dark of the night, a time when YOU AND I NORMALLY WOULD HAVE BEEN ASLEEP! And His disciples are in the boat; but Jesus was not in the boat.
Until...on the water, Jesus comes walking up to the boat! The disciples, seeing Him, were afraid; thinking they were seeing a ghost! Wouldn’t you?
But Jesus tells them to not be afraid. I really like that part! "Be not afraid."
Peter Wants Proof
Of course, Peter was with the group. Characteristic of Peter at that time in His walk with Jesus, he needed more than words to reassure him, "Lord, if it be Thou, bid me to come unto Thee on the water!" The Lord said, "Come!"
Peter stepped out, and guess what? HE WALKED ON WATER! But, he became afraid--which means he lost his faith--and began to sink. Listen to how Jesus chastised Peter: "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"
==> Let me tell you, friends: if it took faith for Peter to believe that he could walk on water; then, friends, I’m afraid that my faith is microscopic compared to his!
Of course, Peter begged for Jesus to "save me." And Jesus did, just as He always takes care of those who love Him.
So Jesus and Peter got into the boat to continue to their destination. Did Jesus need to go into the boat? I tell you, Jesus needed the boat, but He didn’t really. Yet He did need the boat, but not. Again I say, Jesus had need of the boat, and He didn’t.
Jesus Used the Boat Many Times
Jesus often used a boat. He could have walked on the water every time. But He rode in a boat several times to cross over the Sea of Galilee.
On a different occasion, (in Matthew 9:1), Jesus is in the boat returning to Capernaum. Jesus used the boat to go across the Sea. But, He could have just as easily--probably more easily--walked across the water to the other side!
And then again on yet a different time, you will surely remember that, Jesus was in the boat when a great storm disrupted the Sea, bringing fear upon His disciples, until He calmed the wind and water, (cf. Matthew 8:23ff.).
Jesus used the boat to get across the Sea. But He didn’t need the boat. Or, did He? I don’t think that He needed the boat; but He did!
Jesus Used People to Fill the Wine Pots
The thing I want you to hear today is that GOD USES PEOPLE TO DO HIS WORK HERE ON EARTH. Consider another story, this one not about boats but the idea is the same; it’s the story where Jesus turned the water into wine.