Summary: The storms of life can come up quickly and unexpectedly, but our greatest comfort is knowing that the Lord Jesus not only sees our struggles, but He has the power to bring peace in the midst of the storm.
Power and Peace in the Storm
I. The Problem with Misplaced Enthusiasm (vs. 15)
II. The Plan for the Master’s Disciples (vss. 16-18)
a. Obey the Lord in every detail, even when it may seem insignificant.
The other two Gospel accounts tell us that Jesus “made the disciples get into the boat” (Mark 6:45; Matt. 14:22) and go ahead of Him to Capernaum. He didn’t tell them why, neither did they know what lay ahead for them in the fourth watch of the night. The Master certainly knew these things, but he chose not to reveal it to them. They were faithful to the Lord’s instructions.
Obedience is one of the greatest indicators that a person has been truly born again. Even in the Great Commission, Jesus tells us the goal of making disciples: “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” If someone is not intent on learning what Jesus has commanded, in order to observe His commandments in their life, they are not a genuine believer. If we are not teaching them to observe His commandments, then we are not truly fulfilling the Great Commission, no matter how many “decisions” or “professions of faith” or “baptisms” we see in our ministry.
b. Persevere in the midst of hardship.
John tells us that these disciples “rowed about three or four miles” in spite of the high seas and the strong wind. Matthew records that the little ship was “battered by the waves” as they sailed against the wind toward the place Jesus had instructed them to go. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Mark writes that the Lord saw His disciples “straining at the oars.”
The struggles of real life are often a great place to test the measure of our perseverance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s one thing to keep a straight course when the seas are as smooth as glass, but it’s quite another to press toward the mark when life’s storms are raging all around us.
c. Trust that the Lord not only sees your situation, but He has perfectly planned it for His glory and your good. (Isaiah 46:10-11)
III. The Peace for Faithful Followers of Christ (19-21)
a. When Jesus came to the disciples, they were dealing with the storm in the best way they knew (v. 19a).
When storms come our way, we must deal with them in a level-headed fashion. We should not over-spiritualize the situation, becoming guilty of “analysis paralysis,” but take immediate action using our life experiences (which the Lord has graciously allowed for perhaps this very reason) and whatever biblical principles may apply to the given situation. It’s okay to act, even when you’re not sure it’s the best approach or even the most spiritual reaction.
b. They reacted with fear at the appearance of Jesus walking upon the water (v. 19b)
Our God is so awesome and powerful that you may be surprised and shocked when He shows up to deliver you. That’s okay, too. If Jesus ever repeated this miracle of walking on the water, I’m sure the disciples reacted a little differently than they did this time. Of course, we’re not living in Palestine during the earthly ministry of Jesus, so you’re not going to see anything like this in the flesh; however, God’s omnipresence and omnipotence is unchanged. You don’t have to see God in the flesh to know that He can and does make His presence known to us.
c. Jesus reveals Himself to them and tells them to take courage (v. 20).
We have the living, active and powerful Word of God in our hands. It is called the Bible. It contains everything we need for life and godliness.
d. When Jesus was received by the disciples, the storm and their journey miraculously ended (v. 21).