Summary: We are all rowing through life comfortably ensconced in our own little boat, but Jesus has sent us into the storm and asks us to have extraordinary faith in Him. Student ministry PowerPoint format.

[Walking on the Water – Extraordinary Steps of Faith]

Slide Graphic – Jesus looking at Peter, who is wearing an inner-tube with a duck head

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Matthew 14:22-33

22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but the boat was already a considerable distance[a] from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

[Jesus is Apart From his Disciples]

Slide Graphic – Jesus walking away from shore while the Disciples row off

Slide Text – Matthew 14:22-24

31Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” 32So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

(John 6:31-34)

Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, had just been beheaded at the whim of a spoiled girl. Jesus knew he was the next to die. He had gone up into the mountains to be alone, but had been followed by a large crowd. After a long day of teaching them, he had fed them from the five loaves and two fishes. After they had all eaten, they wanted to crown him King. Instead, he sent them away, and went into the mountains to pray. He even sent the disciples away.

When people want you to do something you know is wrong, usually the best thing to do is leave.

Jesus sent the disciples out in the boat. They were being obedient. Did he know what would happen to them?

Being obedient sometimes means being sent into trouble. The huge kind of trouble only Christ can handle. Whatever other reasons there might be, this is usually an opportunity to grow stronger in faith.

The disciples had been busy all day and must have been very tired. Now Jesus asked them to row across the lake - a trip of a little over six miles. With 12 disciples in the boat, it should have taken less than two hours to get there. We know they left before nightfall, because Jesus was “alone” when evening came, which, in Gallilee in early spring, would have been about 7PM. Mark 6:47 says that when evening came, the disciples were already in the middle of the lake.

Some people have commented that I tend to draw Jesus pretty “buff.” Think about most pictures of Jesus, other than those portraying Him on the cross. Most often He is depicted as a pale, scrawny guy – perhaps holding a lamb or child in His lap, as if He wasn’t strong enough to pick them up in His arms. I don’t know where that came from – it is not Biblical. Jesus was raised as a Carpenter. As Don told us on the retreat, Jewish men usually entered their careers full time around fifteen. Jesus’ ministry did not start until he was about thirty. Until this time, he cut down trees, hauled them into town, split them into planks, planed and sawed them into boards, and built things, all with the strength of his hands. He was almost certainly in great shape.

[Jesus is Aware of His Disciples]

Slide graphic – Jesus praying on mountaintop, with thought-balloon showing the disciples rowing in the storm

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Larry Sims

commented on Dec 22, 2006

This is a wonderful sermon. I am deployed in Kuwait and it is a joy to be able to read a sermon. Thanks for all you do for the Lord. SSGT Larry Sims Ali Al Salem Airbase Kuwait

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