“And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 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, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.” (Matthew 14:22-32)
The disciples were on a ship during a storm in the middle of the night. Sometime between 3:00 and 6:00 a.m., they see Someone walking on the sea. They’re scared and think that they’re seeing a ghost. Jesus, however, assures them that it’s Him. Peter then gives the Lord a challenge. If it’s really Jesus, then He should bid Peter to come out and walk on the water, too.
The other disciples may have been surprised at Peter’s request, but the Lord apparently took no offense. He invited Peter to walk on water, and Peter did. In fact, Peter did fine until he took his eyes off Jesus and put them onto the storm: “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid.” His faith in the Lord wavered, and he started to sink. Jesus caught him, chastised him for lack of faith, and the two of them entered the ship. Then the wind ceased.
This story has great lessons. Jesus sent His followers into a ship knowing they were headed into a storm. When it hits, He’s with them, even though they don’t realize it at first. Here’s Lesson 1: if you’ve received Jesus as Saviour, He’s always with you. He said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). He’s there even in your storm, your time of trouble: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). In fact, He may allow trouble in your life to remind you of your need for Him: “In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord” (Psalm 77:2). If things are going well, you may neglect your Bible and prayer, but when trouble comes, you may find yourself reading God’s Word and praying more intensely—like you mean business. Isn’t that how it should be, anyway?
With Jesus’ help, Peter did what he couldn’t do on his own. So here’s Lesson 2: When you know Jesus as Saviour, He’ll help you do what you can’t do on your own. Don’t think you can’t live for Christ as a cop. You can’t do it on your own, but with Jesus’ help, you can. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (boldface added). Troubles, trials and “boisterous winds” will come, but they’re not too hard for the Lord to help you through. Keep your focus on Him and trust in Him, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finished of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). The same God the Son who saved you will give you the grace and strength you need to get through trials and live for Him.
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Brian Miller 3/27/2017
Cleveland Baptist Church | 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 | 216.671.2822