Posted by on Aug 10, 2020 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Walking Out in Faith

Dear Lord….We sometimes do not know what to do in your world. We hear your voice challenging and encouraging us, but we are not always confident that we can do the job you ask us to do. Forgive us for this doubt, Lord. Thank you for loving us, never abandoning us, and always teaching and leading us.

Our text for this Sunday is from Matthew 14:22-33. This text comes immediately after the feeding of the many people gathered by the Sea of Galilee that we considered last week. Remember that the crowd numbered that of a city….and had just been fed by Jesus and the disciples.

We read that Jesus “immediately made the disciples get into the boat”. Now, Jesus was not with them. Why do you think He did this? One writer said that this response is explained in John 6:15. John was one of the disciples who was with Jesus and in that verse, we read, “When Jesus realized that “they” were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.” The people were excited by the miracles as they had seen Jesus healing the sick and feeding all of the people, they wanted Him to be king, which would have begun a revolution against Roman rule. This possibility of the people flocking to Jesus would also have put the disciples in danger.

Also, Jesus was still needing to be alone to talk with His Father…and mourn the death of John the Baptist. We can only imagine how the disciples felt when they were to go alone in the boat while Jesus went to the mountain.

We find that the disciples were on the Sea of Galilee. This wasn’t a lake. This was the sea…where the winds are often hard to forecast or depend on. The boat had been swept from the coast by the wind and the waves…as the wind was against them. We, too, often face experiences that appear to be “against” us…that oppose us. How did you maneuver through that? Did it strengthen you?

The gospel writer states that this event happened “early in the morning”. This would have been between 3AM and 6AM…when Jesus began walking toward the sea and the boat with the disciples. It may have been close to 6AM…as it was light enough for the disciples to see Jesus as he stood on the shore. However, they didn’t recognize Jesus and thought it was a ghost and were afraid.

Jesus called to them and said they should not be afraid as he said, “It is I.” (This was another of his “I AM” statements to reveal to all who Jesus was.) In fact, when God spoke to Moses in the burning bush, he said, “It is I.” This is a statement that is made to affirm the fact that Jesus is the Messiah and that God was the one helping the Israelites. That statement was to be a calming statement for the disciples…assuring them that Jesus was with them and knew what they were facing.

Peter, being his normal impetuous self, wanted proof that it was Jesus and asked that Jesus command him to walk on the water, if, in fact, the person really was Jesus. Jesus told Peter to
“come”. Jesus was walking on the sea….not on water in a river or a lake. The sea could have swallowed Jesus up in an instant. This indicates not only his power but also the assurance that Peter would be safe in keeping his eyes fixed on Jesus. So… Peter got out of the boat and began walking on the sea.

However, Peter took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink. Fear took over. Jesus saved Peter so he didn’t drown. Jesus didn’t say, “Well, why did you bother to come?” He said, “O you of little faith…why did you doubt?” It was a gentle rebuke…and then Jesus held out his hand to Peter to bring him up from the water.

We find another miracle that as soon as Jesus entered the boat, the wind subsided. The power of the sea had been overcome by the power of Jesus…and the boat was moved to shore.

What is very interesting, is that the disciples are now saying, “Truly you ARE the Son of God.” They are recognizing at long last who Jesus REALLY is…because they had questioned his power earlier in Matthew when Jesus calmed another storm. The disciples have grown in their understanding and faith of this man who called them to serve others. They know Jesus the Son of God and fully accept him as divine. This was growth that they needed to be able to minister to the people. Their faith is beginning to mature.

We see an example that the followers of Jesus can do remarkable things as long as they do not doubt and rely on Jesus.

When have you experienced this? I know we all have. Jesus makes it possible for us to do things for people…great or small. Our humanity often causes us to doubt that we can do the job and depending on whether we keep our eyes on Jesus and the knowledge he is always with us or whether we begin to rely on only ourselves, will bring the duty to either a successful end or a feeling we are sinking.

Right now, it may feel like we are walking on a sea…not sure how things will end. Jesus is holding out his hand to us…saying, “trust me…I will keep you safe and bring you to the successful conclusion.” We may stumble at times…but Jesus will bring us through. Let us continue to move through these times with faith in Jesus and his ability to bring us through it….not in fear for what might be?

This story tells us that Jesus shows us what He wants us to do and reassures us that Jesus is always with us. He is calling to us to carry out His work here on earth, no matter what is going on. Is that a way for us to get through this time in our lives? We will stumble. We will doubt. But, we also remember that if we keep our eyes on Christ, we will make it through whatever we face in our lives. Let us life in faith…not fear!


August 2020


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