Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

22. Cultivating Christ Like Character, Faith – Part 2

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Matthew 14:22-33

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[a] 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![b] 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[c] 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.

After Jesus calls and commands second we see that:

  1. He prays.

Verse 23 tells us that the next thing Jesus did was to pray. I think He prayed for two reasons. First, He was facing the same temptation He encountered with Satan in the wilderness when He was tempted to use His miraculous power to gain followers. So, He called on His Father and reaffirmed His mission and marching orders. Second, I believe He pray for his disciples, because even after experiencing His miracles they were still in danger of missing the whole point. He also knew the storm they were sailing into. Hebrews 7:25 reminds us that Jesus is still interceding for His followers today: “He always lives to intercede for them.” Jesus knows the trials and temptations facing you, he knows all about the tempest that is trying to toss you around so that you will be tempted to throw in the towel. So, He is interceding for you so that you don’t flounder in your faith. When it feels like Jesus isn’t doing anything faith reminds us that he is interceding on our behalf. Third:

  1. He cares.

Verse 24 describes the boat being several miles from shore as it was buffeted by the wind and waves. The Greek word here literally means that they were “tormented” by the waves. This storm was so bad that the disciples, many of whom were professional sailors, were not only fearful but were fighting for their lives. Now Mark 6:48 gives us a powerful glimpse not only into the deity of Christ but also into His care for His sheep. It says Jesus “saw the disciples straining at the oars because the wind was against them.” It’s here that we have to face a difficult fact, it was Jesus who commanded them to climb into the boat and sent them out into the storm. Now we may be tempted to complain and ask what kind of a Savior sends His sheep into a storm, but let me ask you if He had left them on the shore would they have survived the pounding storm of popularity and pride? Or would they have floundered and fallen away? Sometimes we get angry with the Almighty and we wonder why He would let us go through these severe storms. But if He had left us were we were at we would have been swallowed up and like the disciples we would have drowned on dry ground. We may not like the sea storms that Jesus sends us into and we may be tempted to think that we would be safe on the shore, but sometimes the deadliest storms are where we think we are the safest. There are at least two kinds of storms that you will face as a Christian in this life.

  • Storms of correction. Like Jonah, sometimes the storms of life are meant to get our attention and call our rebellious heart to repentance.
  • Storms of perfection. Like the disciples, God allows these types of storms to build our character and to cause us to deepen our dependence upon Him so that we can flourish in faithfulness. If you let Him, God will use the storms to strengthen your faith. Look there are only 2 outcomes either storms will strengthen, or they will shatter your faith. Fourthly:
  1. He Comes.

Jesus did not just send, pray and care from a distance. He didn’t just watch He waded in and notice that He wader in on top of the water! Now we need to note here that while Jesus came to the rescue he also waited a while, He came at 3:00 a.m. and the disciples had gotten into the boat that evening probably around 6:00 p.m. So, some time had transpired, Jesus let them struggle, John tells us that they had rowed three or four miles against the storm. But do you notice when Jesus came, in their darkest hour. No matter how hard it gets don’t lose hope. Now here is the sad reality, when Jesus does show up they freak out and fall apart, they respond with worry instead of worship. Instead of seeing Him as the Savior they saw Him as a spirit. They assume He was a ghost, but here is my question, had they seen a ghost before, no but they have seen Jesus the miracle maker. So why go to what doesn’t make sense because that’s what fear does it causes you to focus on the foolish instead of faith. It causes you to freak out and act all crazy instead of focusing on Christ and being courageous. One of the problems with the church today is its full of foolish crazy Christians who are constantly freaking out, why because we are walking by fear instead of faith. Now it’s true that the disciples had never see a man walking on the water, but they had just witnessed Jesus miraculously feeding 5000 men with a few fish. That’s just like us Jesus does a major miracle in our lives and a few hours later we are freaking out and we are back to walking by fear. Look fear will always limit the Lord in your life. They should have known it was Jesus, but they were so filled with fear that they lost focus. Not only did Jesus intercede and pray for them but He cares, and He comes to their rescue. If you are in the going through a storm right now are you focusing on His care or focusing on the chaos?

 

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