Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

13 Obedience –Are you on board or over board – Part 2

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Matthew 14:20-33

20 They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. 21 About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children! 22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. 23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. 24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” 27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” 28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” 29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. 31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” 32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.

Twice in this passage we see Jesus calling His disciples to obedience. The first involves a call to get into the boat and the second to:

  • Get out of the boat

At first the disciple’s perception of Jesus was panic, because instead of seeing the picture painted against the backdrop of belief it was filtered through fear. It was only after Jesus called to them and calmed their hearts that their fear was replaced by faith. We might argue that they had never seen someone walking on water in the midst of a storm and so their fears were valid, but hadn’t they just witnessed the miracle of Jesus feeding the masses? I mean if Jesus could feed multitudes with a measly meal of five loaves and two fish, which is not physically possible, then what would prevent Him from having power over the sea or for that matter over any situation? Why do we limit the Lord? Why when we witness His power do we minimize His miracles by living like they only pertain to that particular place and time? Today we are just like the disciples, who after experiencing God’s incredible power over the impossible, default to doubt instead of trust His power during our next trying time. His miracles may move us to marvel but do they move us toward building a foundation of faith? The next time you experience uncertainty are you going to rest and rely on the foundation of faith or default to doubt and fear? The tragedy for many modern Christians is that we fail to transcribe His truth. If God did the impossible and defied the laws of physics with the miracle of feeding the masses, then why couldn’t He walk on water? It is hear that Peter calls to Jesus asking Him to call Peter to come to Him. Peter is not challenging Jesus he is stating a powerful truth. That unless Jesus is doing the calling we can’t accomplish the impossible, Peter wasn’t tempting Jesus he was trusting Him. The first time that Jesus called Peter to come to Him, to leave His boat and follow, it required a step of faith but one we need to remember that was taken on the heels of another mighty miracle. After fishing all night and coming up short it was Jesus that did the impossible and filled his nets to overflowing. As Peter recalls the power of God in his past it causes him to pursue God in the present in spite of the problems, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” Jesus first words didn’t calm the storm they calmed their straying hearts, “But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” You may long for God to change your situation but it may be your sight that needs changed, because many of us are more focused on the storms than on the Savior. Are you going to focus on the severity of the storm or the strength the Savior? Stop letting the chaos consume you and just listen to His call. Jesus replied in verse 29, “Yes, come, so Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.” When Peter listen to the Lord’s call it gave him the courage to climb out the boat. Today instead of responding to the call of Christ many of us are clinging to the comfort of our boat. In the storm we are tempted to put our security in the stuff, but safety and security are not found in our ships they are found in the Savior. Jesus told his disciples to get into the boat not to depend on it; there is a difference between getting into the boat and it becoming our god. You see the boat was only a tool to transfer them to the other side not for them to put their trust in. So Peter asked Jesus to call him to come, that means he was willing to respond, today are we really willing to follow through on what we pray? Do we really mean what we say? We ask God to strengthen our faith but is that what we really want or what we know we should say? What are you calling on Jesus for, is it for the courage to come to Him regardless of the challenges, or is it for Him to calm your circumstances? It was in the midst of the storm that Peter calls out to Christ, despite the difficulty and the darkness he is determined to do life with the Lord. How desperate are you for Jesus? In order to leave the boat and come to Christ Peter had to be willing to let go. What are you holding onto that is preventing you from journeying to Jesus? Many of us are only willing to respond to Christ’s call to come when its calm, we say, Lord when it’s safe I will serve, when it’s comfortable I will come. But Peter doesn’t wait for the water to calm before he comes to Christ. He simply responds to Jesus and does something that to many seems reckless, he steps out of the safety of the boat and into the storm. But Peter knows that relying on Jesus is never reckless. Christ’s call is a call to courage in spite of your current circumstances. Reckless obedience is following the Master no matter what, no matter where you are, who you’re with, or what you’re doing. Reckless obedience doesn’t focus on the cost; it simply focuses on following Christ. Peter knew that only Jesus could call Him to walk on the waves, that only Jesus could give him success over the storm. At some point we will all come to the crossroad, respond to His call or choose what seems comfortable. What will you choose to heed, the call of Christ, to get out of the boat, or clinging to what is comfortable and missing not just the miracle but the Master. Reckless obedience is willing to abandon the safety of the ship and step out in faith to follow the call of Christ. What about you have you made a decision to follow despite the danger? How much do you really trust God at this point in your life? Enough to obey His call even in the chaos? Enough to surrender the safety of your ship for the simple call of the Savior? Security is found in the Savior not in the silencing of your storm. What if you stop looking simply for a change in your circumstances and started listening for His call? What would it look like for you to let go and really listen to the Lord?

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