Summary: Jesus and Peter walk on water. You have heard numerous sermons on this event. Is there more to be learned?
The event that changed the world.
How many times over the years have you heard a sermon about Jesus and Peter walking on the water? 2-3-4-More? You would think by now that I would have learned all that I could have learned about this. But is just not the case. I was helping my prayer partner study for a sermon he was to preach on this passage when he said something that just opened my eyes. I thought about it for days. This one point made me realize that I too must preach this message.
I am not going to preach the same message he preached, I will cover a few of the same things. Because we studied together I am not sure what points the Lord revealed to him and what I received. When I reach the point he made that so intrigued me, I will mention it.
I want to set the stage for what occurred before this passage so that you will have it all in context. It was a long hard day for Jesus and the disciples. Jesus had been teaching in the morning. About midday Jesus was informed that John the Baptist had been killed.
Jesus tried to get away to morn and pray, but the crowds would not leave him alone. He taught and healed until evening. Then he fed 5000 men plus women and children. As evening drew near our story begins.
Here are a few pictures of the Sea of Galilee just so you can get an idea. The Sea of Galilee is 14 miles long and 3-7miles wide 150 feet at it’s deepest. Now for a guy from Colorado this is a huge body of water. Before I went to Israel I thought Sloan Lake was big. I never saw the ocean until I went to Israel. Its location makes for frequent storms. It is 700 feet below sea level and is surrounded by hills as high as 2000 feet. The wind whips through those high hills, the shallow depth allows for big waves to form. Today this body of water is in danger of dying. It is fed by a small stream and salt water springs that flow through the sea floor. So much water is drawn off for irrigation that it is in danger of turning brackish because of the salt springs.
So look at the screen here so you can see what is happening. They are in Bethsaida and intend to go to Capernaum. This is a trip of about 4 miles, a one hour boat ride. I assume that they could walk
But I am sure going by boat is faster and easier.
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.
V 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came he was there alone, 24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from the land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
He made them get into the boat. It was Jesus desire that they be in the boat. The disciples were right where Jesus wanted them.
Peter, James, Andrew and John are experienced fishers and boatmen. These types of storms were not uncommon for them. The disciples are not in apparent danger. This is not a dangerous storm, unlike the one previously in Mat 8:23when the disciples had to wake Jesus to calm things down. Why are the disciples in this situation? Why are they out in a storm? Because they were being obedient to the Lord. If we believe that Jesus knows all things, he must have known that he was sending them out in a storm. Yet he still sent them. They were in this storm because they were being obedient to Christ. There is a lesson for us here. Being obedient to Christ does not protect us from the storms of life. Storms affect the obedient and disobedient alike. Living in a fallen world means we will all face the storms of life. If you are a child of Christ, Jesus will watch over you when those storms hit.
Mark chapter 6:45-53 tells of the same event we are talking about here. Mark includes a detail not mentioned in this account.
Mark 6:48 He saw the disciples straining against the oars, because the wind was against them.
The disciples were on the boat and Jesus was on the hillside praying and yet, he was still watching over them. The disciples are precious to Jesus. They may not realize it but, Jesus was not going to let the disciples face a storm alone.
People are precious beyond explanation. My wife is precious to me, my daughter is precious, and life is precious. We are precious to God.