Summary: This message examines the story of Jesus walking on the water and how the disciples reacted in fear because they failed to reciognize that it was Him walking towards them.
We Are Never Alone
The title of my message this morning is “We Are Never Alone.” In 1978, Walter Hawkins released the song “Never Alone” on his Love Alive II album. The song’s message is encouraging as it stresses that no matter what we face we are never alone. Listen to a few of the words: “Never alone, I don't have to worry cause, I'm never alone, He walks besides me, all the way, He guides my footsteps every day, never again will I be insecure anymore, never again, never again.” I am sure that all of us, at some point in our lives, have felt alone, that no one understood our situation or what we were going through. In our minds, we believed that no one had experienced what we were experiencing and that thought alone made us feel even more abandoned. New Light, I want you to know this morning that, just as Walter Hawkins said in his song, we are never alone.
Before we get into the message, I want to remind you of what is recorded in Hebrews 13:5-6. “Make sure your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you’, so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?’” I wanted to share these verses with you at the beginning because, in a way, you will see them in the passages that we’re going to look at this morning. I know the primary theme of the verse is God providing for our needs financially, but the part about Him never deserting or forsaking us – that applies to everything. The Bible is telling us that God, our Father, is always with us – even when we feel He’s not and the question for us is “Do we believe it in our worst times?”
This morning we are going to look at a very familiar story – the story of Jesus walking on water. Yeah, I know that you have heard this story many, many times and you could probably tell it as good as anyone. When I have preached on this before, I have often focused on Peter’s decision to join Jesus on the water. This morning, however, I really want to take a deeper dive (literally) into what the disciples experienced prior to recognizing that it was Jesus who was walking on the water towards them. Remember, the disciples had spent a lot of time with Jesus at this point so their response to seeing “an image” coming towards them was very telling because it shows us that their minds were still focused more on the natural versus the Savior who was with them “always” even when He was not there physically. You see, New Light, the disciples were not alone but they responded to what they saw as if they were.
Our faith as Christians is secure when we recognize and live every day knowing in the very depths of our hearts that God is always with us, even during every storm that we face. It is during our storms that we must remind ourselves that God is right there beside us even when everything around us – the circumstances, the people and most important, our emotions – are doing their best to convince us that He is not. This is what the disciples felt in the first storm they were in with Jesus. In that storm they were on a boat in the middle of the water when a storm suddenly came. That story is found in Mark chapter four and Matthew chapter eight. Jesus was asleep when the storm started tossing the ship and the disciples panicked. New Light, it’s important to understand something here. Some of the disciples were seasoned fishermen. They were accustomed to fishing during bad weather and unanticipated circumstances. So this tells me that what was happening that night was out of the ordinary. It was something that they had never experienced before. In that moment, they were not thinking about the fact that Jesus was right there in the boat with them. No. They thought they were going to die. They did not think about the Son of God being right there in that boat. They thought about dying. What I want you to remember is that during all of their thinking and considerations, it doesn’t seem they ever considered that their lives would be saved because the Master was with them. There is a lesson here New Light. The emotions of the disciples clouded their ability to think clearly. But that is what happens when our emotions take over. In their panicked state the disciples rushed to Jesus and woke Him up. You know the story. Jesus rebuked the wind and the seas by saying, “Peace, be still” and everything became calm. When the disciples witnessed this they were amazed. But Jesus had a question for them. Mark 4:40 says, “And He said unto them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?’” Now this incident happened prior to the story we will be looking at today. Keep this in mind because we will see that it takes some time for true faith to build in our lives and become a rock that doesn’t shift with our circumstances. I want you to think about something. When Jesus asked them why they had no faith, could it be that He asked that because He expected that they should have been able to handle this situation just as He had? Could He have been saying – “You woke me up to handle this for you – you could have done this!” Just chew on that for a while as you think about the authority God has given us through Jesus.