Summary: The crowds followed Jesus into the wilderness without a second thought. Almost like children, they seemed to respond to Jesus in a manner that they truly believed that Wherever Jesus is; He will care for us. Do we feel that way about Jesus?
Remember the back country trip that we read about last week, when Jesus sought solitude after He received word of John the Baptist's arrest.
The crowds followed Jesus into the wilderness without a second thought.
Almost like children, they seemed to respond to Jesus in a manner that they truly believed........ Wherever Jesus is; ...... He will care for us.
Do we feel that way about Jesus?
Wherever we go, if He is there, do we believe ........ do we truly believe that all will be fine.
Would we brave anywhere ....... confident that as long as Jesus is there ....... that we will have everything we need?
Jesus himself did not turn away this crowd or act like they were an intrusion on his journey to find a place of solitude.
Wherever he was, whoever the day brought to him, however great the need; Jesus would meet that need.
Now is that our attitude?
Is that my attitude?
Would I be frustrated by the interruption ....... or be angry at the crowd's intrusion into my planed time to be alone?
Would I be so caught up in my pain over John that I would turn others away?
Or would I say as our Lord said in verse 18, .....Bring them here to me. (Pause)
Jesus sees the crowd, not as an intrusion , but as God the Fathers plan unfolding.
He sees their needs, not as an unconquerable obstacle, but as a potential opportunity for God to reveal His glory. (Long Pause)
When the day was near its end, he sends his disciples to rest; he blesses each person in the crowd and sends them on their way.
Jesus was not superhuman while on earth, he was like us in all ways, yet he was tireless.
His stamina was not due to any physical difference, but it was due to a spiritual difference.
He was tapped into the abundance of God through the Holy Spirit.
That abundance was not solely available to Jesus; ....... it is fully available to us.
We just need to follow our Lord's example: ....... after sending away the crowds Jesus,.......Went up on the mountain by himself; and when it was evening, He was there alone in prayer.
That is how Jesus opened his day ...... and that is how Jesus ended his day in prayer.
That is what made Jesus such a conduit, so available and powerful.
What is our source of power?
What will help us see each day, even every interruption, as a miracle?
Let us do what Jesus did and seek time to be alone with God and enter the Spiritual Realm in prayer (Long Pause).
While Jesus was alone and in prayer where were the disciples?
Remember, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him, while he sent the crowds away.
Now while Jesus is in prayer the boat was a great distance from land, battered by the waves; for the wind was against them. (Pause)
Another translation is that the wind was contrary.
Contrary is a great term for us to understand.
No matter which way the disciples set their sails and no matter how hard they tried, the wind blew the opposite way.
The Scriptures go on to state that the boat itself was battered (ba-sa-ni-zo); a Greek word that means tortured or torn apart.
Why are these two terms important to us?
Matthew wants us to understand the circumstances in which Jesus miraculously appears in our lives; when the wind is contrary and our vessels are tortured.
Matthew who was there and witnessed the event, wants us to know that at those times when we feel most torn apart that we can expect our Lord's miraculous arrival.
In fact, Jesus arrival does not come until the fourth watch.
That's the darkest watch of the morning.
That is when Jesus is wonderfully present; the fourth watch of the darkest storm, when our boat is most tortured. Expect Jesus then!
Do not be afraid to venture into those stormy times when you can be most battered.
Just when you think that your life is at its absolute worst our Savior will be there.
Beloved, He will with all certainty be there. (Pause)
The boat is being tortured and torn apart.
Then disciples see an image coming across the water .....it is a Ghost ........and they began to cry out in fear.
Here is one of Christ's most prominent sayings.
He uses it to heal the sick and the possessed in the Gospel of Matthew, then again to commission the disciples in the Gospel of John. (Pause)
Here these words. Take heart it is I;..... do not be afraid.
Well here comes Peter. You have to love Peter; his successes are always no more than a sentence away from his failures, but his failures take place where others would not dare to be found.