Matthew 14:22-32 When Jesus sends you into the storm

The disciples were more than likely hesitant to leave Jesus but the force of the words written demonstrates that Jesus made them get into the boat and go. They were in God’s will and yet faced troubles that led to exhaustion and fear.

Evil and Suffering are some of the major factors why people leave God or say there is no God. We all face challenges every day and these things God has allowed for us to experience for His purposes.

For the skeptic the things that go wrong are reasons to believe why thier is no God. They say on one hand that if God allows one person to die in a plane crash and another to live that is immoral of course these are the same people who choose to abort a baby who say that they have the right to choose and that it is their moral right.

If you’re an Atheist then there is no good or evil, just what exist, because everything is a cosmic accident.

If you believe in Karma then you welcome pain and suffering because it brings you to a place where you can reach Nirvana

In only spirituality do people not want suffering (Athletics and Academics we suffer)

Although the idea of pain and suffering for the skeptic is something I have addressed and will continue to address down the road, the passages today deal with a topic that many do not discuss. God allowing His people to suffer

Many Christians have been taught a false teaching that if you live by faith and do God’s will then you will only experience God’s blessings and outpouring of gifts. I do not know if I was taught that or somehow just believed it, but after I became a Christian it seemed that God abandoned me at times. As a non-Christian I did not care about suffering because I knew God was not on my side and He was probably using those things to punish me for my wrongdoings.

The Bible never teaches a life without pain or sorrow. (John 16:33) We live in a fallen world that sin has corrupted and with that corruption we all suffer. No man is an island to themselves and when one makes a bad decision there are always more that have to suffer the consequences of their decisions. If we believe that God is love than part of that love is allowing others to choose to not to love. Because He has given us a choice to not choose Him then He has also given us the choice to do things that He considers evil.

1)   God’s Will does not always mean smooth sailing

2 Corinthians 1:8-11 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers,[b] of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

The Boat was a considerable way off

Most of the time they would have stayed a mile or two off of shore while traveling around the lake and not across it but the storm took them out in the middle where they could not escape the storm.

Mark 6:47-48 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night[g] he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them,

These were experienced fishermen who were struggling to keep the boat headed in the right direction. With all their knowledge and all of their experience at sailing they were struggling to survive.

Battered, Beaten or Painfully: the Greek word means to be tortured or in great distress

Some scholars even see the storm as being demonic or at least demonic in nature.  Life is difficult at times and it is in those times that many think God has abandoned them.

They were rowing because the winds were so strong that the sails were no good to them at this point. They were at sea about 9 hours and would have been tired from being up plus the bad weather would have drained all their energy. For them this trip was torture and could not be over soon enough.

2)   We have to choose Faith over Fear

Saw Jesus walking on the sea

They thought Jesus was a ghost which would not have been a Jewish thought but a gentile one. The Gentiles believed that the waters had spirits that lived in them. When they were at their wits end and they saw something they never experienced before fear took over and they screamed out in fear.

When you do not understand what is going on fear kicks in. Fear can freeze you or motivate you but which one it does for you is up to you.

“The lesson for the disciples is the lesson for us; There is no reason of God’s people to fear. There is no reason for anxiety, no matter how hopeless and threatening our problems seem to be. Life is often stormy and painful, often threatening and frightening. Some believers suffer more e than others, but all suffer at some time and in some way. In spite of that, the storm is never so severe, the night never so black, and the boat never so frail that we risk danger beyond our Fathers care.” John MacArthur

 If you read the Book of Acts you see the apostle Paul face all sorts of hardship and pain and yet it was him who kept encouraging those He was with to take courage despite the dire situations they were in. (See Acts 27)

Critics

Critics of the Bible say that Jesus did not walk across the water and there have been several explanations of why they think this is.

They were close to shore and Jesus was walking on shore not the water.

The disciples imagined it because they were exhausted and tired. People in groups do not hallucinate about the same things exactly how everyone else saw it. If it was a disciple like Peter imagining it the others would not have verified his story. Or if Jesus would not have been there then they would have written that they saw a ghost not a ghost saying that it was Jesus.  Since the gentiles believed the waters are haunted  the disciples could have said that and that would have given them more credibility with the people than saying Jesus walked on water. Also would Peter have stepped out of the boat toward an unidentified Ghost?

There was ice on top of the Lake that Jesus was walking on which was proposed by an Florida State University professor. Although an uncommon occurrence he believes it could have happened around the time that Jesus was on earth. To his credit he does not try and say anything about whether or not Jesus walked on water, but only trying to explain it. Of course even on ice with rough waves it would have been impossible for Jesus to stay on the ice.

If you really do not want to say Jesus is God you have to debunk His miracles but by doing so then you will be saying nothing in History is real. Historical Writings attest to Jesus being a miracle worker and if He could heal the blind, mute, the lame and bring people back from the dead then walking on water is not unbelievable.

One of the things you have to always remember is that the Disciples never doubted or changed their stories about Jesus even when tortured and killed for believing in Him.

He meant to pass them By (Mark 6:48)

I do not know if Jesus thought they were fine and were doing well without Him but the description the Bible gives is one of  Jesus strolling along the wave tops. If the disciples would not have cried out in fear Jesus would have just met them on the other side.

Take courage it is I do not be afraid

The storm did not cease at this point even though Jesus was with them. Our courage does not come from our abilities but in trusting in the one who sent us.

3)   Steps of faith are more difficult in the storms of life

If it is you Command me to come

Peter’s confidence came from spending time with Jesus not in his own abilities.Not the circumstances the impossibility or even fear itself could hold him back once he was called by Jesus.

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.

Our issues always start when we rely on our own understanding instead of Gods.

He wanted to be with Jesus

Peters comfort should have come from the boat and what he knew instead he stepped out into the unknown because that is where Jesus was. Remember it is a lie that is sung on Christian radio that God will not give you more than you can handle. Peter could not handle walking on water it was way more than anything he could do.

God will bring us to the end of ourselves so that we learn to trust Him in a whole new way.

He had faith to get out of the boat but then he did what all of us tend to do and that is look at the circumstances and doubt.  Peter was not testing Jesus by asking to go on the water. He was only asking for permission to go where He was going. Do not test God by going on presumption that if you step out then He will save you. Always wait to hear His voice calling you then you can have the confidence that no matter what happens He is in control.

Lord Save me

Peter probably fully clothed knew He was in trouble and he would not be able to keep his head above water in the midst of the storm.  In his cry for help Jesus was there to lift him up and bring him back to safety. Weak faith is better than no faith and Peter sometimes gets ridiculed for failing but at least he stepped out of the boat.

There is no task that God will call you, that at times you will focus more on the circumstances more than the call of God.

Remember when Jesus asked the disciples to feed the 5000 men plus their families they saw the largeness of the crowd but not the largeness of Jesus. Peter saw the largeness of the waves when He took his eyes off Jesus.

4)   The Storms will end

When they got into the boat the wind stopped.

The storm stopped because it fulfilled its purpose. The way it is written was as if everything went calm quickly.

1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self[d] is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

 

The Bible Series on Television said, “For Abraham it was a series of Faith and Test. “

This short journey we call life here on earth will not compare to the majesty and Glory of God for eternity.  One day every tear will be wiped away and all the pain will be no more but for now we know that God allows these things for His purpose and His plan. Not because He hates us but because it is through pain that you grow and learn.

5)   Storms allow you to know God in a whole new way

You are certainly God’s Son

For whatever reason all the other miracles did not have the impact that this one had. The other miracles especially the feeding of the 5000 brought pleasure because it looked as though Jesus was going to establish His kingdom. They had already been in a storm that Jesus calmed but this storm brought a whole new perspective about who Jesus is.

We understand pain causes good  because we say things like,”No Pain No Gain”.

God’s Will does not always mean smooth sailing

We have to choose Faith over Fear

Steps of faith are more difficult in the storms of life

The Storms will end

Storms allow you to know God in a whole new way

 

Verses for Encouragement

What about in the meantime? While we are enduring the storms of life? I would encourage you to find a passage of scripture that you can hang on to. One that is for you that you continually look to as you ride out the storms in your life.

Hebrews 10:35-36 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

Matthew 6:31-34 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Psalm 139:8-10 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.

Hebrews 4:13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Psalm 77 4- 19 You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. 5 I consider the days of old, the years long ago. 6 I said,[a] “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.” Then my spirit made a diligent search: 7 “Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? 8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah 10 Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”[b] 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. 12 I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. 13 Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? 14 You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. 15 You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah 16 When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled. 17 The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side. 18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. 19 Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.[c]

Matthew 10:29-31Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?[h] And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 3

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