Summary: God is always there to help us in our time of need.
The Master’s Touch
Matt 14: 30-32
Any person truly touched by the hand of Jesus is ever the same again. A little girl on a city bus approached a grouchy, dirty, old woman. “Are you a gwanma? I got a gwanma. I wuv gwanmas.” There was a change made in the countenance of the old woman at the touch of the child’s hand.
No greater change can be made in a person than when Jesus touches him. The leper in Matt 8 “If You will touch me…” The maniac of Gadara-lived in the tombs until Jesus came his way, touched him and left him clothed and in his right mind. A cripple met Jesus, was touched and went on his way leaping and praising God. The widow of Nain wept as she followed the coffin of her only son to the cemetery. They passed Jesus who touched the boy’s hand and restored his life.
Jesus is still touching and changing people even today when men are saying God is dead. God lives in the hearts and lives of all who are touched by the hand of the Master. When you are touched by Jesus things change.
One of God’s common commands is “Fear not.” There are approximately 366 “fear not” verses in the Bible. That figures out to about one for each day of the year, including leap year! For many people fear doesn’t seem like the most serious problem or vice in the world. No one ever receives discipline for being afraid. Fear has never made the list of the seven deadly sins. So why does God tell us to stop being afraid so much? Could it be that the reason is that fear causes us to lose our faith and commitment to God, thereby stopping whatever spiritual progress gained? When we lose our faith and commitment to God we stop doing what He wants us to do with our lives. It was fear that caused the Israelites to murmur and rebel in the wilderness. It was fear that caused 11 of the 12 spies who were sent to investigate the Promised Land to testify that they could not take the land. It was fear that turned away the rich young ruler; fear that caused Peter to deny the Lord; and fear that caused the very people Jesus came to save to cry out “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.” Fear is serious business in the spiritual world.
Fear is paralyzing. Fear creeps into our lives by a dozen different doors. Fear of failure. Fear of heights. Fear of crowds. Fear of disease. Fear of rejection. Fear of unemployment. Fear of what others are saying about you. Fear of moving away. Fear of height or depth or distance or death. Fear of being yourself. Fear of buying. Fear of selling. Fear of financial reversal. Fear of war. Fear of the dark. Fear of being alone. Fear poisons our inner peace. It’s a bully that attacks without warning. It’s a bully that relies on scare tactics and surprise attacks. It is always looking for a vulnerable moment and once fear finds it, it strikes quickly to transform spiritual muscle into mush. Fear is serious business in the spiritual world. Matthew 14 is a story about fear, but it is also about faith. There are a couple of lessons we can draw from this text.
I. THE LORD’S HAND IS A HELPING HAND
A. When Jesus said to Peter, "Come," Peter entered the classic struggle between faith and fear. His faith said, “Jump, Peter, go out to Jesus.” But his fear said, “No, Peter, stay in the boat.” And bless his heart, Peter chose faith over fear and that was when he found himself walking on the water with Jesus.
1. But his fear struck again. He saw the wind and the waves, and he became afraid. He lost his faith, his sense of confidence vanished, and he began to sink not only in the sea, but also in his own anxiety and worry.
2. Thanks be to God that his faith came back to life. He cried out to Jesus, Lord, save me! He could have tried to swim back to the boat, after all he was a man of the sea, but he didn’t. Peter lifted up his heart up to Jesus for help, and by his faith he got that help.
3. Scripture tells us that Jesus immediately reached out His hand and caught him. The Savior did not make Peter tread water for a while. He did not allow the waves to swallow him up nor any harm to come to him. Jesus rescued him at the moment he cried out.
B. We are a lot like Peter. As much as we would rather be more like Paul, we are not. We often find ourselves in situations where fear has quenched our faith. Our intentions were good, our actions were bold, but fear found a way to distract us. But, when that happens it is then time we should apply more faith, just as did Peter.