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. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. (Matthew 14:22-33)
The five thousand had just been fed. This is the only miracle listed in all four Gospels. The apostles had observed the power of God over matter. They were about to see His power over nature. They were sent on ahead alone. The Lord did not have much time to teach them all they needed to know. But He used His time well.
The devil was at work trying to defeat God’s purpose. He was trying to, at least, discourage, if not destroy the apostles.
Only Matthew tells us of Peter walking on the water. Matthew, Mark and John tell us of Jesus walking on the water. Luke does not give us anything about these events.
Life can sometimes be as raging as a troubled sea. Surely this was meant to teach them and us to trust in God.
I. THEY WERE TOSSED. v. 24
- Life is like the sea; sometimes calm and other times violent.
- There are the good times and there are the bad times and the times in between.
- Probably the most dangerous times spiritually are the times in between.
II. THEY WERE TOILING.
And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. (Mark 6:48)
- We labor and at times it seems we are losing ground.
- They kept on rowing – had they stopped, things probably would have been worse.
- He let them toil almost all night – the fourth watch – between three and six a.m.
- We need to be faithful.
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)
- Jesus told them to go to the other side and they never gave up.
- “Just keep on keeping on.”
III. JESUS CAME TO THEIR RESCUE. v. 25
- They were afraid and discouraged.
- But there was no place to go.
- Many times we become afraid and discouraged, but God says to us, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid”. v. 27;
Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:6-9)
IV. PETER WALKED ON THE WATER. vs. 29-31
- Peter took his eyes off of the Lord and began to sink.
- Jesus lifted him up.
- If we turn to God, He will always help us.
- Paul’s experience; for two weeks the ship he was on was driven back and forth through the sea and was broken up before they could get to shore, but all made it out alive.
And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore.
(Acts 27:15, 40)
- It is hard to make a commitment to God, but it is the most rewarding.