Matthew 14v22-33 - Come!
Telling the same story in his Gospel account, John records the reason why Jesus retreated to spend some time alone and why the disciples were sent into the boat. This reason is that the crowd wanted to crown Jesus as a physical king. Jesus didn't want this to happen and so withdrew with the disciples went back into the boat. This experience of the disciples in the storm can be an encouragement to us when we go through the storms of life. We all go through storms and troubles. When we find ourselves in these storms, we can rest on 4 assurances about Jesus if we are Christians and following Him.
By faith - He is praying for us
This entire scene is a dramatic picture of the church and the Lord today. God's people are on the sea, in the midst of a storm. Yet Jesus Christ is in heaven, making intercessions for us - (Romans 8v34). He saw the disciples and knew their troubles (Mk 6v48), just as He knows our troubles and needs now. He feels the burdens and cares we have and knows what we are going through (Hebrews 4v14-16). Jesus was praying for the disciples that their faith would not fail. If you knew Jesus was in the next room, praying for you, would it not give you new courage to endure any troubles you have and follow Him? Of course you would. He is in heaven now, praying for you and me - in our needs, our fears and He is in control.
By faith - He will come to us
Often we feel Jesus has deserted us as we are going through hard times. In the Psalms, David often complained that God was far away and unconcerned. Yet he knew God would ultimately rescue him. Even the apostle Paul got into a situation so difficult he felt "burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life" 2 Corinthians 1v8
Jesus always comes to us in the storms. He may not come in the time we think He should come, because He knows when we need Him most. He waited until the ship was as far away from land as possible, in the darkest hours of the night, so that all human hope was gone. He was testing the disciples' faith.
Why did Jesus walk on water? To show the disciples that the very thing they feared was merely a walkway for him to come to them.
Why did they not recognize him? They did not recognize him, because they were not looking for Him. Had they been waiting and watching in faith, they would have recognized him immediately. Instead they jumped to conclusions that it was a ‘ghost'. Fear and faith, living together causes doubt, and doubt is double mindedness that blinds our eyes to the Lord.
By faith - He will help us to grow
This was the whole purpose of the storm, to help the disciples grow in their faith. After all, Jesus would one day leave them, and they would face many storms in their ministry. They had to learn to trust Him even though he would not be there with them, and even though it looked like He didn't care.
Now here comes our bit about Peter. He gets a bit of a raw deal a lot of the time, and is generally criticised for sinking. Lets honour him though for demonstrating his faith - he did walk on water remember. He dared to be different. Anybody can sit in a boat and watch, but not our Peter. He went for it. Why did he sink? Because fear arose, he looked at the stormy weather instead of at Jesus. Jesus asked him after rescuing him, "Why are you in 2 minds? Did I not say, look to me? We must also give peter credit for asking Jesus to save him and perhaps this is what he was thinking of when he later wrote in his letter "for the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers". This all helped Peter to grow in the knowledge of the Lord
By faith, He will see us through
Jesus said come, Peter went with him and together they walked to the ship. This must have encouraged the other disciples as well as Peter. When they saw the power of Jesus, they worshipped him. So whatever temporal troubles we have, Jesus will see us through to the end, for His praise and glory.
By faith, Jesus is praying for us. By faith, Jesus will come to us. By faith, Jesus will help us grow in spiritual maturity. By faith, Jesus will see us through difficult times. Conclusion
If you are a Christian already, continue to focus on Him. He cares for you, just as he did for those disciples in the boat. By faith, Jesus is praying for us. By faith, Jesus will come to us. By faith, Jesus will help us grow in spiritual maturity. By faith, Jesus will see us through difficult times.
If you don't already have faith in Jesus, please consider Him. If you want to turn to God there is no need for delay. He is ready and willing to take you as His own right now. You only have to ask Him to forgive you and to give you help on the journey ahead. It is a partnership between God and yourself. In other words, it is a dynamic relationship and not a dormant religion. The act of deciding to change course in mid-life, is what is called conversion, or deciding to be a Christian. When you place your faith in Jesus, becoming utterly dependent upon Him, you turn to God. You don't need to do or change anything to become a follower of Jesus!
However once you have made that decision, you leave behind your spiritual isolation and rebellion against Him. As you live each day, becoming more involved with Jesus day by day, you will find yourself changing. You will stop doing those things that separated you from Him. You will find yourself doing things that please Jesus and develop your relationship with Him. How do you develop this relationship? Sin, or what alienates you from God, controls your rebellion against Him in your attitudes and your activities. God asks that you accept his guidance and management of your life. His point of view and His strength become your point of view and your source of strength. You turn your mind, will and heart to Him for all you do.
If you want to become a Christian there are three simple steps to follow. Firstly, admit that you have done wrong against God and His ways. Secondly, believe and trust in Jesus. Call on Him, receive, trust, obey and worship Him, recognizing Him for who He is and what He has done. Lastly, confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Once sin has been confessed, and Jesus is believed in and trusted as Saviour, then you are a Christian. Now you are ready as Peter writes in the Bible, "to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18).
If you want to become a Christian, right now, then please say this prayer after me...
God, I know that I am separated from you. I am truly sorry for all the things I have done against you. Please forgive me as you have promised to do. I acknowledge that your Son, Jesus Christ, died for the things I have done wrong. I now believe in Him and invite Jesus to be my personal Lord and Saviour, so that I can live with Him forever. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer or a prayer like it, and would now call yourself a Christian, welcome into the family. Welcome to the family of God. God has chosen you; Jesus has paid for you and He has put His mark within you through His Spirit. (Ephesians 1:1-13). Please do leave a comment or email me so we can help you with your next steps.