Summary: An updated message on how to step out by faith and walk on water. Preached during a back to school Sunday.
Note: for my reference I used John Ortberg's book Becoming a Water Walker
If you are going to walk on water you have to get out of the boat
Theme: Understanding the importance of walking on water and exercising our faith. Preached at a Back to School Sunday about transitioning and trusting God.
Text: Matthew 14:22-33
Matthew 14:22-33 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. (23) And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. (24) But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. (25) Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. (26) And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. (27) But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." (28) And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." (29) So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. (30) But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" (31) And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" (32) And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. (33) Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God."
It had been a long and tiresome day. We are told that as Jesus and the disciples were coming to shore they were met by a crowd of people. They were looking for Jesus. They had brought their sick and lame to be healed. All day long Jesus healed and taught them the ways of God. Then he performed one of the most amazing miracles in scripture. From two fish and five barley loaves he fed in excess of 10,000 people. This was incredible. This miracle defies all natural law.
Finally Jesus needed to spend some time with his father. So he sent the disciples away and he sent the crowd away. Into the boat went the disciples and into the hills went Jesus. Jesus promised he would meet up with them but not how.
The disciples left Jesus back on the other side of the lake for some peace and quiet and began making their way by boat across the lake. In the early hours of the morning, far out on the lake, they were in deep trouble. A fierce storm had arisen and their boat was tossed about by the waves and facing a head wind. We can assume that they must have been battling the storm for quite a few hours and must have been getting very weary. They were at the mercy of the wind and the waves. Imagine the churning water, the huge waves as they crashed over the boat, the powerful head wind and the disciples in the middle of it all, staining every muscle as they tried to row against it. What an image of chaos, terror, hopelessness, and powerlessness!
Then coming across the turbulent water they see a figure walking towards them across the stormy waters with the wind tearing at his clothes and the white caps lapping at his feet. This would make the bravest hearts cringe. These seasoned fishermen had seen many things out there on the lake, but they had never seen anything like this. There was only one possible explanation. No human can walk on water. "It’s a ghost!" they immediately thought.
Above the wind they hear a voice: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid!’ It's Jesus. Jesus had left the quiet of his hillside retreat and came across the turbulent lake to aid the threatened disciples. At the point when they thought that there was nothing left for them but a watery grave, Jesus came to the rescue. At the point when they were desperate and powerless Jesus comes to rescue them from certain shipwreck. He gives them a renewed hope and a sense that there really isn't anything to be afraid of. Jesus is there with his calming words: "It is I. Don't be afraid!"
Do you know what the two most common used words in the Bible are? “Fear not”. 366 times in the Bible God says, “Fear not”. One for every day of the week and oh yea one even for leap year.