Summary: Jesus teaches us a lesson of dependence upon Him from the storm on the Sea of Galilee.
INTRO: There is a great lesson to be learned in this passage. Many have scoffed at this account, refusing to believe that God can walk on water. If man can fly through the air surely God can walk on the water! I have no problem believing the miracle (if you believe in God you have no problem with miracles).
The great Bible expositor G. Campbell Morgan once said, “Every parable that Jesus told was a miracle of instruction and every miracle that Jesus did was a parable for our instruction.”
There is a key word in verse 22 that is very important to our understanding of the story. It is the word “constrained.” The NIV and NASB word is MADE. Jesus forced His disciples into that boat. Now, the Jesus that could walk on the water surely knew that a storm was brewing. I would not hesitate to say that He ordered the storm. Then He ordered His disciples into the boat. Why would He do that? Because He wanted to teach them, and us, a lesson. Jesus teaches differently. He gives the test first and then the lesson. Notice three things in this passage of Scripture:
I. THE EXTREMITY OF MAN (vv. 24-25).
The first thing that grabs our attention about this account is the problem of the storm that these men faced. Notice some things about their predicament.
A. The Distance From the Shore - (v. 24) - It was “in the midst of the sea.” They were halfway from either shore it was just as far back from where they came as to where they were headed.
B. The Direction of the Wind - (v. 24) - It was “contrary.” The wind was against them. I believe that the wind and waves here represent circumstances that arise in our lives. Many times the circumstances are not favorable but are contrary to our accomplishing what we know to be the Will of God. It is important to note here that the most sensible thing to do in this situation would be to “tack” (Zig-zag in the wind). But they were being obedient to the command of the Lord Jesus who had told them to go to the other side.
C. The Darkness of the Night - (v. 25) - it was “the fourth watch” that is 3 o’clock in the morning. The darkest part of the night was upon them. They were in perplexity (confused) and right in the middle of a problem. Some of you find yourselves right where these disciples were.
ILLUS: I heard about a mason, a bricklayer who applied for workmen’s compensation because he had been injured on his job.
D. The Delusion of Despair - they did not recognize Jesus when He came. They thought He was a ghost. Many times we get so caught up in our problems that we do not realize that the Lord is coming toward us all the time. These men had allowed their despair to delude them to the point that they could have missed their deliverance!
II. THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD (vv. 26-27).
Here we have the performance of the Savior in this story. The KJV says (v. 27) that Jesus said, “it is I.” But the Greek reads EGO EIMI that translates: “I AM.” This is extremely important. What was Jesus saying to them and to us by this word. It was three things:
A. A Declaration of Deity - in Exodus 3 when Moses met God at the burning bush he was told the name of God. God said “tell them I AM THAT I AM HAS SENT YOU.” Jesus was telling these men, “I AM the Lord and everything in this universe is subject to me!” There are those today who do not believe the miracles of the Bible, and hoping to provide explanation for their heresy, will piously exclaim, “God never works contrary to the Laws of Nature.”
Let me ask you something, what are the Laws of Nature? I submit to you that there is no such thing. There are only the Laws of a Sovereign God! The “Laws of Nature” is a term that unbelievers have made up to explain the workings of Almighty God.
That brings up the question, “Does God ever break His own Laws?” The answer is no! But He may impose a higher law. Some will say that that is a cop out. I don’t think so. Man does the same thing.
ILLUS: of gravity and aerodynamics (A plane defies the laws of gravity and flies because of this principle).
B. A Proclamation of Presence - not “I was or I will be” but I AM. Jesus is with us right now.
ILLUS: of black preacher who was preaching on the 23rd Psalm but stopped with “THE LORD IS” and said, “the Lord always has been is and the Lord always will be is.” That might not be good grammar but it is good theology. Is means right now.