Summary: Following Jesus is not easy, it's not impossible, but it is a challenge. Taking Jesus with you in your boat gives you the Master of the Sea and Storm
* The life’s lessons which can be found from this one text are enormous. We could spend a month’s worth of message on this one passage and, quite likely, never repeat ourselves. The messages could be “Jesus calming your storm”, “Is Jesus in your boat?” “The Power of the Master” or even “Who is this man?” Other pastors have titled this text, “The Storms of Life”, “The Perfect Storm”, “When you think you’re going under” and even “The other side of the lake.” It was serve each of us well – to linger over this passage of scripture & see its truth.
* Of all the messages I have read and heard on this text I have not found one which sees this as simply ‘following Jesus and the challenges that brings.’
* Today we are big on challenges. Every time we turn around, there is a new challenge on TV. (I.E. The Amazing Race, The Biggest Loser, Fear Factor, & Survivor – but the list goes on)
* Clearly, there is no greater challenge than the “Challenge of Following Jesus.” Why? Because following Jesus goes against the tide of popular & public opinion. Following Jesus requires more courage & fortitude than anything else. You choose to follow Christ & your friends may ridicule you, your family may disown you, and our country may soon persecute you. To follow Jesus is not simply to attend worship, it is to live like He lived, to honor God in all you do (word & deed), and to hand over the control of your life (I.E. schedule, hobbies, money) to Him.
* In every sense of the word, it challenges us. Some say ‘it’s easy’ – but it’s not. Some say, ‘it’s impossible’, but it’s not. Some say (by how they live), ‘it’s irrelevant’, but it’s not. I say (offer) – “It’s a challenge.” To follow requires both energy as well as effort, and at times, even sweat and blood.
* We can make jokes about following our sports team. Last year was a difficult year for me because the Saints had such a dismal year. (There were a few college teams who were in the same boat – and for those college teams who “WON” – I remember when you were crying.)
* Whoever or whatever it is that you follow says a great deal about you. I ask you now; in the matter of life-death-heaven & hell, who are following? Before you answer too quickly, please remember that Jesus said that you can tell who or what you are following by where you place your personal treasure. So if you take an honest look at the most prized place of your life, who or what is it? Let’s take a look at this story & learn about following Jesus.
1) THE TRIP – Most of us enjoy trip (maybe too much). I could have called this a ‘trek’ because following Jesus is not like anything else in your life. Generally, we like to be in control (I.E. our destination, direction, driving, route, & stops) However, to follow Jesus is to give HIM control.
a) The Call – V35 – Jesus simply said, “Let’s go to the other side.” The essence of Jesus’ call is to ‘go.’ This is not a call just for vocational ministers to take their family to an unfamiliar place & try to fit in & fulfill the King’s mission, it is a call to ‘all’ believers move their thinking in line with Him. It is a call to do what He did, share the gospel. There is no call to sit and soak, but always to stand & serve. We are call to go. This is written in what we call the “Great Commission.” However, the Great Commission of “Going & Making Disciples” has, to the 21st Century Americanized church, seemingly become “The Great Suggestion” because we are too busy, too committed to other things, & can to sure that Jesus didn’t mean ‘me’ when He said, “Go.”
* But Jesus didn’t stop with the call to ‘go,’ He said, “Let’s go to the other side.” Think about ‘The other side.’ Why does Jesus call us to ‘go?’ He calls us to leave our comfort to go to a place we may not know and do the things which make us uncomfortable. Jesus knows that on ‘The other side’ there are needs which only He can meet. (Chapter 5 will record a demoniac was waiting)
* Jesus calls each one of us to ‘come to Him’ for our soul’s salvation. Peter tells us that our Lord desires no one to be lost, but scripture tells us that many will be lost because when God speaks to their heart – they don’t believe or respond. The first step is to come to Christ. Then He says, “Follow Me.” Following Jesus means going where the need exist. Many times it is to the ‘other side’. He said, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem (home), Judea (area), Samaria (where it is that you don’t want to go), and the end of the earth. He calls you and me. (Wednesdays)