Matthew 14: 22-27 Immediately, Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a ghost! And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spake to them saying, Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.
Today, I listened to Pastor Tony preach a sermon on Matthew 14: 22-27. As he read the passage, I thought that I knew this story; after all, I had heard it many times before, and I had heard many sermons on it. But today, I was given a new perspective. These are my notes from the sermon – I hope it touches your heart too.
We all have problems, troubles in life – you don’t need to seek them, they will find you. But they are not bad if you prepare for them.
When you have troubles – what do you do? What is your first thought? What about the ongoing troubles in your life? How do you react/act? Do you wonder “what did I do to to deserve this”? “I must have messed up bad to be punished like this.” “How did it get this bad?” Did this trouble come because I was not in His will? He lets us choose the curse or the blessing.
Troubles are no due to wrongdoings or as a punishment (not always) and the proof of that is in Matthew 14:22-28. The disciples were not in a storm because they were disobedient, but rather because they were obedient and in God’s will. Jesus had sent them onto the lake that night. Sometimes we are in troubles waters because we do what is right. Sometimes doing what is right costs us, lands us in the storm.
The disciples had just witnessed a huge miracle (feeding of thousands with a few fish and a few loaves of bread), but as soon as the storm rose, they forgot what they had been a part of, forgot His teachings, His promises. They became fearful in their circumstances. How much are we like the disciples; our circumstances becoming bigger than our God? God did not give us a spirit of fear, a weak mind – doom us to failure – He gave us Hope in Christ Jesus.
Who has ultimate power? There are times when we are powerless on our own. God is all powerful, awesome in power and mighty indeed. When God doesn’t show up right away, He will show up right in the middle of the troubles. Don’t lose heart. In verse 25, Jesus came to the disciples in the midst of the storm. Sometimes, in the midst of troubles, it is easier to back down – but if we keep the faith, God can show up and do what only He can do.
Jesus came in the fourth watch of the night. A watch is a 3 hours length of time that begins at sunset. The fourth watch is just before down. 1) they had been fighting the storm all night. 2) they were worn out tired – God is at His strongest when we are at our weakest. 3) they were looking for the light (dawn). The disciples were in total darkness looking for the light. Who was the light? Jesus! He was looking out for them. Jesus was on the mountain praying. When we are in troubles, know that Jesus is in a high place praying for us. Keep your eye on the mark (Proverbs 4:25, Phil 3:14) He knows our problems and knows the solution. You may not see His hand, but you can feel His touch.
Don’t back down, don’t be afraid. Fight the good fight. God will be in the midst of your troubles. Psalm 46: God is a very present help in times of trouble.
The disciples in the boat weren’t looking for Jesus. The were so distracted by their troubles, fighting to keep from going under, they weren’t expecting Jesus to rescue them. Possibly they were thinking that if they hadn’t listened to Jesus they would not have been in that trouble. What was their reaction when they did see Jesus? Fear, unbelief? Sometimes we get so distracted and fearful of the troubles we think the answer is just another problem. We need to be open after we cry out to Him, to receive what He has to give.
Am I all about Jesus for Jesus to be all about me? If you reject Him over and over again. You will be in constant turmoil and strife. Only one disciple showed faith that night. The only one who had the faith to get out of the boat knew that he was better off with Jesus during the storm than on the boat without Him.
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