Summary: The Christian life is supposed to be an adventure in which we walk by faith and step into the unknown. But we can't do that if our lack of faith keeps us in the boat.
A. Once there was a tourist who was taking a tour of biblical sites, when he came to a beach on the Sea of Galilee, he saw a boat and a sign advertising, “FREE BOAT RIDE TO THE EXACT PLACE WHERE JESUS AND PETER WALKED ON WATER!!!”
1. He boarded the boat and enjoyed the ride to the middle of the lake where the boat captain stopped the boat and announced that this was the spot where they had walked on the water.
2. After spending a few minutes at that spot, the tourist said to the boat captain, “Ok, I’ve seen enough, I’m ready to back to shore.”
3. The boat captain pointing to the sign, said, “The boat ride to the exact place where Jesus and Peter walked on the water was free, but the ride back to shore is not free, it will cost you $50 for the ride back to shore.”
4. The tourist, shocked by the charge, exclaimed, “No wonder Peter got out and walked!”
B. Today, as we continue our sermon series on the life of Peter that we are calling “The Touch of the Master’s Hand,” we are going to examine this moment in Peter’s life when he walked on the water.
1. We all know that he didn’t walk on the water because the boat captain was going to charge him too much for the trip back to shore.
2. But why did he walk on the water? And, how did he walk on the water?
3. And most importantly, what did he learn from the experience and what can we learn from it?
C. Interestingly enough, Matthew’s is the only Gospel that tells the story of Peter walking on the water.
1. The Gospels of Mark and John both tell the story of Jesus walking on the water, but neither of them mention Peter’s stroll.
2. All of the Gospels record what happened right before this incident.
D. Let’s give a little bit of background for the story.
1. Just before this story, John the Bapizer, Jesus’ cousin, had been beheaded by King Herod.
2. When Jesus heard about it, He tried to get away from the crowds, but they followed Him.
3. Jesus had compassion on the crowds and healed their sick and fed them – the Bible tells us there were 5000 men, not counting women and children, so the crowd may have been 10 to 15 thousand strong.
4. Amazed by all that Jesus had done and was doing, the crowd wanted to make him their king.
a. They wanted Jesus to be their great political hero.
b. They believed that the Messiah would come and do what Moses had done, bring them bread from heaven and free them from bondage.
c. But Jesus knew better and had better plans.
I. The Story
A. Let’s pick up the story in Matthew 14: 22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. (Mt. 14:22-23a)
1. Here we see Jesus spending time in prayer, just like we witnessed Him doing last week.
2. Jesus loved to pray and Jesus needed to pray – and somehow we think we can get by without it!
B. So the disciples did what Jesus had told them to do – they got in a boat and began to cross the lake, but then things took a turn for the worse.
1. The Bible says: When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night… (Mt. 14:23b-25a)
2. The Sea of Galilee was notorious for how quickly the storms could come and go.
3. But the storm that the disciples found themselves in would not subside.
4. From the way the Bible describes things, it looks like the storm hit around 8 PM (evening), but it continued until the 4th watch of the night which occurred between 3 AM and 6 AM.
5. So the disciples had been struggling against the wind and the rain for 8 or 9 exhausting hours and were still stuck in the middle of the lake, drenched, weary, chilled to the bone, and wondering if they would make it to shore alive.
6. Before we move on in the story, let’s camp here for a moment and consider a few important truths about the storms in our lives.
a. Let’s start with this question: Were the disciples “in the will of God, or out of the will of God” when they encountered this storm?