Summary: Even when we follow Christ storms come into our lives..It is in the midst of the storms that the Lord comes to teach, touch, and train each of us.
Through It All
* Have you ever felt like you had a word from God about the direction you should go, the ministry you should do, or an action you should take – only to be hit in the face with a struggle?
* If you have, perhaps you are like me, but pondering the personal issues like: “Did I misunderstand?” “Did I miss God?” or even, “Why does this happen to me?”
* A careful reading of God’s word reveals to us truths about this – that we, as pampered Americans, have difficulty understanding. Sadly, the theology in the “land of the free” seems to have become that “If I follow God, life will be easier.” While we would like it to be that way, it wasn’t for Job, David, Daniel, three Hebrews boys, Peter, Paul, and the rest. Candidly, it seems that God both places and allows difficulty into our lives for the purpose of testing our commitment to Him and maturing our love for Him. (TEXT)
* Remember the context of this passage. At the end of the 13th Chapter Jesus went to His hometown of Nazareth and was unable to do many miracles there because of their ‘unbelief.’ How stunning!
* Next, Jesus received word of the beheading of John the Baptist. This moved Him to the point of trying to get to a remote place to be alone. Yet, the crowd found Him. As He always did Jesus saw the crowds, took compassion, and healed their hurts. By the way, He took a few loaves and fishes and fed 5000. Remember He did this when He really wanted to get away and talked with the Father about the hurt in the death of John.
* So as we approach our text, we see in verse 23, finally, Jesus went to pray. This is another message for another time, but Jesus was committed to prayerful communion with the Heavenly Father – let us learn from Him.
* But now, let’s track the disciples and see how Jesus is simultaneously working in their lives.
1. Jesus calls – I say ‘calls’ because this is what Jesus does, He calls us to go and to do. Verse 22 says, “HE MADE (compel, constrained, insisted on it) His disciples to go to the other side.” Consider this call. What is on the other side? Verse 34 gives us the end of the story. Over there, they were glad He came, they alerted other, brought the needy to Him, and begged Him for help. This was not the only time they went to the other side.
* In Matthew 8, we see the same picture. When they arrived on the other side, they met “Superman”, the Gadarene demonic and cast out the demons. It appears that Jesus’ call is always to the place where ministry is needed. Jesus rarely calls us to a place where ministry is rejected. It does happen, it even happened to Him at Nazareth.
* Where has Jesus called you? To what has He called you?
* It is on the way to fulfill His calling that you may run into a storm, the disciples certainly did. It seems to me that every time they got on the water with Jesus – a storm came up. This may be a life’s lesson for us to learn. Storms in this world are a result of the fall of man, in other words, every storm you face comes from the SIN of man.
* Jesus’ call to us is to come to Him and the Go FOR Him and as we go – we will face the forces of darkness.
2. Jesus comes – The disciples were over a mile from land when the storm came. Think about the mindset of the disciples. In this group were some professional fishermen and this was not the first storm that they had seen. Yet, it appears they were still hard at battling the storm at 3am. It had been a long, hard night, and they were fatigued because the wind was still against them. Have you ever been out on a boat a long way from land and had bad weather to blow in? I have and it is frightening.
* I suggest that Jesus waited until their strength was gone until He came. Why? Because He wanted their FULL ATTENTION. This would be a teachable moment for them. So He shows up – not where anyone expected, not when, and certainly not how. He was walking on the water. This is significant on many levels. First, the worldly side of water walking is this; impossible! Next, He was walking above the very danger which threatened the disciples. If water walking was the norm, then disciples would have had nothing to worry about, even a mile from land. His ability defies everything the disciples knew to be true. Still today, Jesus’ ability defies everything we think we know.