Jesus in our trials and tribulations is inviting us to step out of the boat...
Those big Naval frigates, destroyers, submarines, and aircraft carriers have always amazed me, and I love it when I have an opportunity to take a tour on one.
You know those big Naval vessels are not made for safe harbors, they’re made to be out on the Open Sea; and that is also true of us, as Jesus’ disciples.
We’re not made for safe harbors either, and if we’re going to be used of the Lord we have to learn to cast our faith out into the deep, because that’s where Jesus is.
This means we have to learn to take a risk and face our fears, and not let them paralyze us, or cause us to run in the opposite direction.
God tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7,
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of POWER and of LOVE and of a SOUND MIND.”
God is always about trying to give us experiential knowledge, learned from experience, instead of just head knowledge.
All too often, as we read the Bible, we’re reading about the Miracles that happened long ago and we believe in them, but we have never actually experienced them in our own lives.
In the same way you can’t learn to swim just by reading a book, eventually you have to take a risk, conquer your fears, and jump into the deep end of the pool.
Christianity is not a spectator sport, it requires our participation; and so eventually we have to get off of our butts, get out in the field, and learn how to play the game.
Quite often the trials and tribulations we face in life are but a test, where Jesus is testing the mettle of our faith, in order to give us this experiential knowledge, and to make us stronger.
Walking on the Water
22-23 As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people.
With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.
24-26 Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves.
At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water.
They were scared to death. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.
27 But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
28 Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”
29-30 He said, “Come ahead.”
Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”
31 Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”
32-33 The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down.
The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, “This is it! You are God’s Son for sure!”
Here’s the backstory:
This event happened right after Jesus had miraculously multiplied the five loaves of bread and two fish in order to feed over 5,000 people.
Here in these next several verses, we see Jesus demonstrating His power over the laws of nature, first when He fed the five thousand and then when He walked on the water.
After feeding the 5,000, Jesus sent His disciples on ahead in the boat while He went up into the mountain alone to pray, where He stayed until late in the evening.
Seeking solitude was an important priority for Jesus (see also 14:13).
He made room in His busy schedule to be alone with the Father.
Spending time with God in prayer nurtures a vital relationship with Him and equips us to meet life’s challenges and struggles.
We need to each develop the discipline of spending time alone with God, and when you do, don’t do all the talking.
Take time to keep silent and listen for what God has to say.
Jesus probably intended the feeding of the five thousand to be primarily a lesson in faith for His disciples.
Here, on the heels of the first lesson of the day comes the second lesson.
God always appreciates our baby steps of faith, but as we grow He expects more than baby steps.
The disciples had demonstrated no confidence in Jesus’ ability to feed the crowd, but at least Peter began to show the first flicker of true faith.
With much yet to learn, the disciples came closer than ever to an understanding of who Jesus was (14:33).
The feeding of the 5000 assured the disciples that they were following One who could abundantly provide for their needs. Now they learn that this One can also protect and empower them as well.
In verse 28, Peter was not putting Jesus to the test, something we are told not to do (4:7).
Instead, he was the only one in the boat to react in faith.
When Jesus told Peter to “Come on” and jump out of the boat, that was the only invitation he needed.
Peter didn’t have to be told twice. It’s not every day that you walk on water through waves that are taller than you are…
His spontaneous request led him to experience an unusual demonstration of God’s power.
The first few steps go well. But a few strides out onto the water, and he forgets to look to the One who got him there in the first place, and down he plunges.
Peter then started to sink because he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the strong wind and high waves around him.
[Note that on the Sea of Galilee the waves have been known to reach heights of 20 ft and higher]
His faith wavered when he realized how vulnerable he was.
The message is clear. As long as Jesus is one of many options, He is no option.
As long as you can carry your burdens alone, you don’t need a burden bearer.
As long as your situation brings you no grief, you will receive no comfort.
And as long as you can take Him or leave Him, you might as well leave Him, because He won’t be taken half-heartedly.
We might not walk on water, but we do walk through tough situations.
If we focus on the wind and waves of difficult circumstances around us without looking to Jesus for help, we, too, may despair and sink.
To maintain our faith when situations are difficult, we need to focus on Jesus’ power rather than on our own inadequacies.
Although we start out with good intentions, sometimes our faith falters.
This doesn’t necessarily mean we have failed.
When Peter’s faith faltered, he reached out to Jesus, the only one who could help.
He was afraid, but he still cried out to Jesus.
When fear piles up against you in waves, causing you to doubt whether Jesus is near or willing to help you, remember that He is always with you and is the only One who knows how to help you.
Monday, May 16
From Faith to Faith
STEP OUT OF THE BOAT
by Kenneth Copeland
“And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water…”
— Matthew 14:28-29
It’s easy to be so afraid of making a mistake that you never get around to stepping out on faith.
You can spend all your time wondering, Is this faith? Or is it presumption?
What if I exercise my faith for something and find out later I’ve missed God’s will?
Don’t worry. God can handle any mistake you can make.
I know because I’ve made plenty of them.
When I did, I’d just go to the Lord and He’d tell me, Stay on the Word, son.
Together we’ll overcome this thing. And we always did.
If you act on the Word out of the sincerity of your heart and you steadfastly stay with the Word, Jesus will never let you down…no matter how many dumb mistakes you make.
He proved that the night Peter jumped out of the boat in the middle of the lake.
Have you ever stopped to think about that incident?
Peter hadn’t been praying or seeking God’s will before he did that. On impulse he just blurted out, “Lord, if it’s You, bid me come.”
What was Jesus supposed to say?
He couldn’t very well say, “It’s not Me.”
I suppose He could have said, “Wait a minute now. You don’t have the faith to get out here. You’d better stay in that boat or you’re going to drown for sure.”
But He didn’t say that to Peter—and He won’t say it to you.
If you want to get out and walk by faith, He’ll get out there with you and pick you up when you start sinking.
He’ll walk you back to the boat if He has to.
It’s better to risk being presumptuous than to waste your life in the boat of unbelief!
If you have to, just dive into the water and say, “God, help me!”
Don’t let fear keep you from taking that step of faith. Come on, get out of the boat today!
Scripture Reading: Matthew 14:22-33
Come join the Adventure!