Summary: There is much more to the miracle of Jesus walking on the water. It is story of how our lives are determined and directed by God; a story preparing us to meet with him in all eternity.
This sermon was delivered to Holy Trinity in Ayr,
Ayrshire, Scotland on the 13th August 2017
(a Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries).
Psalm 19:14: Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength, and our redeemer. Amen.
Good morning … today’s Gospel reading is very familiar to us all, so familiar in fact that it is one of the most iconic stories of Jesus outside of the crucifixion. … Almost everyone, whether race or religion has heard of this story, and so as always, to give you something new presents a challenge however … I believe I have that something … something different, but before I start I must state that I take these sermons very seriously, and I really worry about their accuracy and how they are received. …
Today’s sermon really pushes the boat out, if you excuse the pun … you may love it, you may hate it, you may disagree with me, … but I feel I have something worthy to pass on, something I hope will touch your hearts, something that may explain why things have went so wrong in our lives, so please bear with me until the end before you judge. As usual, I will be following scriptures throughout.
2 The scene
Today’s story occurred immediately after the miracle of the feeding the 5,000 … verse 21 says, “And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children” … that is a large crowd … and the disciples had just helped Jesus do that with only five loaves and two fishes … so we can conclude that the disciples were on a high … full of adrenaline and excitement … and we do not know how it ends because verse 22 go onto say, “Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds”.
Now we are going to stop right here, do you notice anything wrong with this verse? … I will say it again, “Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side”. … I didn’t see it at first either, but then I remembered that some of these disciples were hardened fishermen … they knew the sea and its moods, and they must have known a storm was brewing … so I have no doubt what-so-ever they would have said this to Jesus, however Jesus “made the disciples get into the boat”. The King James said, “Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship” … that is strong wording, and that is the crux of today’s sermon that Jesus did not ask them, he ordered them to get into the boat and then, he left them to their own devices.
3 Elijah had a similar experience.
Before continuing, let us dive into our Old Testament reading from where we heard Elijah in fear, say to the Lord, “… for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away”. … This verse is really a summary of the situation: … that a group of prophets, preaching the word of God, have been rejected and killed by the Israelites. … They were killed for undertaking God’s word, and now they seek Elijah. … No wonder he is afraid; … and for why? … He was only carrying out the Lord wishes, not and his own.
4 A Sudden Storm will erupt as just that; a sudden storm.
Let us take this a stage further, have you every decided to do something calmly and rationally, something you know to be right and true, … only to find that all of a sudden, you are in the middle of a disaster? … I have, and I do it regularly, and it worries the life out of me. …
So where then did this antagonism arise from? … Suddenly from nowhere a storm has developed in our lives, and is trying to destroy something honourable that we were trying to do. … John 6 verse 18 says, “And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew”, … does that sound familiar? … If it has, you will know that is not pleasant, in fact it can be frightening … and you end up saying … “Why is this happening to me”? … And the disciples must have thought the exact same thing that night … “why did Jesus send us out here … he knew there was a storm coming”? … Jesus has sent his devoted followers, his trusted men, the men who would carry out his mission after his death, into the most dreadful of storms ever on that sea? … Why, it makes no sense?