Summary: This message examines the record of Peter walking on water
Tonight, we’re going to be in Matthew 14. The chapter opens with Herod hearing about the works that Jesus has done and wondering if John the Baptist has come back to life.
You know the story. King Herod beheads John the Baptist because he promises to give Herodias’ daughter, after she danced for him, up to half of his kingdom. Now, you have to know that there is more to this story than Herodias’ daughter simply dancing for the king. But that’s for another time. So, she asks for the head of John the Baptist.
After he was beheaded, his disciples came for his body and buried it. Word was sent to Jesus that John, who was his cousin, had been beheaded. Jesus leaves to go to a desert place to be alone but the people follow him. In my minds eye, I can see Jesus’ heart sinking at the news. But He sees the multitude. Scripture says He was moved with compassion and healed the sick.
The story continues with the feeding of the five thousand and after this, we get to verse 22 and that’s where we’re going to pick up the record. I have given this message the title “Don’t be afraid to get out of the boat.” But you could shorten it to “Get Your Feet Wet.”
Well, let’s begin in verse 21.
(21) And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
There could have been as many as 20,000 people that He fed. Most of the men also had families.
(22) And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
(23) And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
Jesus’ priority: I have fed the five thousand men and their families. I wanted to pray before I fed them and I didn’t have a chance to do that. So, now I’m going to send the disciples away so I can get some time with My father.
Spending time with His Father was always a priority for Jesus. If He had not spent time with His Father, He could not have been able to do the things that He did. When we think about His priorities, we have to ask ourselves, “Where are my priorities in relationship to the chief shepherd?”
If Jesus is the chief shepherd, and He is, He is modeling the behavior we’re supposed to follow. So, we can ask the question this way: “Are our priorities Jesus’ priorities?” Begin the transparent person that I am, many times my priorities are not His priorities – yet. If they were, you would see things happening in my life that resemble the things that happened in Jesus’ life.
The important thing is to realize that we have an opportunity to make changes and that opportunity is now. It’s now because God needs for us to change now. For God, waiting to decide tomorrow is late for Him.
If we don’t make the change now to make His priorities out priorities, then how can we bring in the lost? We know that God’s priority is for all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. We know this. If this is not our priority, then we will never fulfill God’s plan for us in this life. It’s not going to happen.
So we see in verse 23 that Jesus made spending time with His Father a priority. Let me show you how God showed this to me.
When I first met my wife, Doris, I wanted to spend every waking minute I with her. When you first fall in love, everything the person does is cute – no matter what it is. It was cute and I loved seeing her do those cute things. So, I wanted to be with her all the time.
This is the same attitude – the same desire – I should have for my Heavenly Father. I should want to be with Him as much as I wanted to be with Doris. That should be my priority. That should be my focus. I ain’t there. Just being honest.
But I’m working on it. At least I know what the goal is! There are so many Christians who don’t know what the goal is. The goal, ladies and gentlemen, is to do whatever you have to do, to rearrange whatever you have to rearrange, so that you can spend time with your Father!
(24) But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
The record in Mark 6 says Jesus saw the disciples toiling away. Now I want to ask you something. Jesus is on the land and God gives Him a vision of what’s going on out at sea. Why would God do that? Why would God let Jesus know what the 12 are going through?