Matthew 14: 23-33
I have heard sermons preached on these verses from Matthew. It seems to be a message on faith and how we as Christians should put all of our trust in the Lord. Peter’s faith was tested when he took the step out of the boat and began walking on the water. As long as he had his eyes on the Lord he could walk towards Jesus, but when he looked away and focused on the storm around him, instead of Jesus, he began to sink. This is a true message for us in our Christian walk, but is this the only message from these verses?
According to the Bible, this is about the fifteenth miracle the disciples witnessed Jesus perform. At this point, they still had nearly twenty-two more to see and Jesus was gradually revealing more of Himself to them. As you look back on the previous miracles, you know that Jesus was a miracle worker that healed sicknesses in people’s lives and provided for people‘s needs. The disciples realized that Jesus was a physician and a provider. I imagine they were comfortable with that.
These disciples were in a boat on the sea a few miles from the shore. Jesus was on dry land on a mountain praying by Himself. These disciples did not have Jesus with them at this time. While they were in the boat, a storm was brewing. The winds were blowing strong and their boat was being tossed around. A couple of these guys were fisherman and knew about storms on the water, so I don’t think they were scared of it and I’m sure they knew how to handle the boat. The fear came when they saw Jesus coming toward them on the water. They didn’t realize it was Him. They thought He was a ghost! This was something they hadn’t seen Him do before! This was something new to them. Peter was the only one that stepped out on faith. I believe he looked back on all that Jesus had done and was willing to see what Jesus could do in this new environment on the sea. I think Peter wanted to experience this new power that Jesus wanted to reveal to them. He wanted to know more about His Lord. So, he took a walk on the water!
As long as he focused his mind and thoughts on Jesus, he was able to get closer to Him. But, when he started looking around and began getting distracted with his surroundings, he would sink.
There is a lesson in all of this. Being a Christian to me is about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s not about a religious experience. Religion is made up of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ and ceremonial routines. This separates us from the relationship that Jesus would like to have with us.
Who is Jesus to you? What do you know about Him? Is He just the character you read about in the Bible stories or the man depicted in the low budget movies you see around Christmas time? The real question is how much would you like to know about Him?
Being ‘in the boat’ could represent our Christianity. We could continue to remain comfortable where we are and never experience everything Jesus has to offer. Or we could step outside of the ‘religion box’ and walk on the water towards a closer relationship with our Lord.
You may think every time you face a ‘storm’ that it’s just a test of faith to see if you trust Jesus to see you through. It could be Jesus trying to reveal Himself to you by showing you who He is during the ‘storm‘.
Step out of the boat and walk closer to Him. You may learn something new.
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