Summary: Sadly, many ’boat people’ in the church will never step out in faith and see what God can do thru them, but all can look to Jesus during storms and learn how to rise above. Link included to formatted text, audio, and PowerPoint Template.
Water Walking 101
This is the second storm we’ve come to in our Matthew study. The first was in chapter 8 when Jesus was asleep in the boat and the disciples woke Him up crying, “Master, we perish!” That message was called “The Storm Before the Calm.”
At least Jesus was present in that storm, but this time He’s nowhere to be found. His presence is not apparent. And we all go thru storms where it seems God is not in it, and cannot be reached. What do you do then?
1. Jesus has allowed this storm to be.
v. 22 “Constrained” is a strong word which means to compel or to drive. The disciples wanted to stay where they were after the great miracle of the loaves and fishes they had just been a part of, but Jesus made them leave.
Joke—Boy Scout was late for troop meeting. When questioned about his tardiness he explained that he was doing his good deed for the day. “I spent a good while helping an old lady across the street.” His scoutmaster replied, “why would that take so long?” “She didn’t want to cross the street!”
Jesus constrained them to go, knowing their course would intersect a great storm. We know now that had they stayed they would have been tempted to ride His coattails and never leave His side. We are all attracted to power…but Jesus wanted the disciples to be able to stand on their own, even without His presence. He proved He could walk on water, but wanted to show them they could do the same thru faith. The point is that sometimes God will send us into a storm of testing, and at the same time He is delivering us from a storm of temptation. He may be sparing you from something worse you could not foresee.
You see, God is more concerned with our spiritual growth than our personal comfort. He loves us just as we are, but He loves us too much to leave us that way. He sees down the road and He is molding us in His image step by step. In the first storm He was present, in the second storm He proved to be there, but they couldn’t see Him at first. Peter learned to look to Jesus, even when he couldn’t see Him!
Jesus knew that down the road Peter would one day be crucified upside down, and John will be boiled in a cauldron of oil, James will be beheaded in Jerusalem, Luke will hang from an olive tree in Greece, Mark will be dragged to death in the streets of Alexandria, and so on. So Jesus takes them all thru a gradual process of bigger and bigger storms along their journey.
The disciples may have been scared to death, but in the end they realized they went thru this storm not because they were out of God’s will, but because they were IN His will.
Some storms are for correction as in the case of Jonah.
Some are for perfection such as in this storm.
The first assurance we have in the storm is that Jesus has allowed this storm to be. The second assurance…
2. Jesus is praying for me.
When I am in the place of peril, Jesus is in the place of prayer.
v. 23-24 What a contrast between their two locations. The Gospel of Mark says that Jesus could see them toiling in rowing. He’s on this mountain overlooking the Sea of Galilee and He can see the storm and the disciples in it. They can’t see Jesus, but He can see them. And the Bible says that Jesus ever liveth to make intercession for us. He isn’t surprised by what comes upon us…He’s there watching and praying for us!
Ill.—A little boy got in trouble and his mother disciplined him. He was mad at his mom for this. At bedtime he knelt with his mother by his bedside and asked God to bless daddy, sissy, and bubby, his dog, cat, fish, and friends, but not his mother. At the end of the prayer he smirked at his mom and said, “I guess you noticed you weren’t in it!”
The good news for us tonite is that no matter what we’ve done against Him, Jesus is praying, and we’re in His prayer!
Assurance #1 is that Jesus allowed this storm to be. Assurance #2 is that Jesus is praying for me…
3. Jesus will come to me in His own time.
v. 25-27 The 4th watch of the night is between 3 AM and dawn. It’s the darkest part of the night. Liberals say the disciples actually saw Jesus walking on the shore, and like a mirage they imagined He was walking on the water. But the Bible says they were in the midst of the sea, which would be miles from the shore, in the darkest part of the night. I wish the liberals would spend the time they spend concocting such nonsense in prayer instead, or in church!