Summary: Maybe there was a time in your life when you were walking on water on a regular basis – a time when your heart was much like Peter’s: “command me. Tell me to come to you.” Or perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve got out of the boat – but the Lord is pa
Opening illustration: You may have heard the story about a man who gets too close to the edge of the Grand Canyon, looses his balance, and slips over the edge. Just before falling 1000 feet, he grabs on to a root sticking out from the edge. "Help me!" He hollers. "Is there anyone up there? Help me! Save me! Is there anyone up there?"
A voice answers, "I am the Lord. I can save you. Do you believe in me? Do you really want me to help you?" "O, yes, Lord, I believe in you, more than you’ll ever know. Please help me."
"OK," the Lord says. "I’ll save you. Now, let go."
"Just let go of that root you’re holding on to, and I’ll save you. You just have to trust me."
The man pauses a moment, and then shouts out, "Is there anyone else up there?!"
Introduction: Herod, having heard the fame of Christ, supposes him to be John the Baptist, risen from the dead. A circumstantial account of the beheading of John the Baptist. Five thousand men, besides women and children, fed with five loaves and two fishes. The disciples take ship, and Jesus stays behind, and goes privately into a mountain to pray. A violent storm arises, by which the lives of the disciples are endangered. In their extremity, Jesus appears to them, walking upon the water. Peter, at the command of his Master, leaves the ship, and walks on the water to meet Christ. They both enter the ship, and the storm ceases. They come into the land of Gennesaret, and he heals many diseased people. And all these people now want Him to be King.
Not quite the drama we see in our reading but close to it. Let’s remember what was going on here. The disciples had just spent a day feeding 5,000 men (no telling how many women and children there were), and then had collected up all the uneaten food. And then Jesus tells the disciples to get in the boat and go to the other side. The Greek says that He strongly urged them to get into the boat and go to the other side. And the next thing you know, along comes a storm.
What does it take to be a water walker?
1. Facing the storm ~ faith builder (v. 24):
Tossed with waves - Grievously agitated, plunged under the waves, frequently covered with them; the waves often breaking over the vessel. The wind came rushing down from the mountains, and in attempting to make land at Bethsaida, where the Lord had directed, it was in their faces.
When you are serving God, and trying to be obedient to Christ, you will have to face storms. I’m not talking about physical storms that are common in nature, but the storms of trials and difficulty. Even sitting here today, you may be going through a storm. Maybe it’s money problems, or problems in a relationship. You might be having family problems, or problems at your job or school. We all have storms in life. Anyone who tells you Christianity is smooth sailing doesn’t understand what the Bible teaches about serving the Lord.
Remember, the disciples were in a storm because they were trying to be obedient to Christ. Now that’s not the only reason storms come in the lives of believers. Remember Jonah? He had to go through a storm for correction, but on this occasion, for the disciples, this wasn’t a corrective storm because they were doing what Jesus had commanded them to do. Verse 22 says “Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side” And they did, or at least they tried to. And six hours later they had not made much progress. So remember first of all, obedient water walkers will face storms.
Application: In life the wind is often contrary. There are times when we are up against it, and when life is a desperate struggle with ourselves, with our circumstances, with our temptations, with our sorrows, with our decisions. At such a time no man has to struggle alone, for Jesus comes to him across the storm of life, with hand stretched out to save, and with his calm clear voice bidding us to be of good courage, and not to be afraid. It does not matter how we take this incident; it is in any event far more than the story of what Jesus once did in a storm in far off-Palestine; it is the sign and symbol of what He always does for His people, when the wind is contrary, and when we are in danger of being overwhelmed by the storms of life.
2. Recognize God’s presence in the storm (v. 25 - 27):