From: Su Min
Subject: walk on water
Thursday 7th Nov 1996
Marvel at the way God has created the elements, molecules, atoms and the electrons, and the way He created the people who invented and maintain the computer network that links us together. Chance happening from protoplasm boiling in the primordial soup? I do not believe so. The "natural" order of things is chaos, decay and destruction. The structure of the universe speaks of perfect order, wonderful generation and marvellous creation. So marvel at God the Creator.
TEXTThe text for today is Matthew_14:25-33_(also Mark_6:48-52,_John_6:16-24)
CONTEXTJesus has just finished feeding the multitude, a crowd of about five thousand men, with women and children besides. The disciples brought to Him all they had, five loaves and two fish, and he took their meagre supply and multiplied it and used them to feed the multitude.
After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, "Surely this is The Prophet who is to come into the world". Jesus, knowing that they intended to come to make him king by force, withdrew again into the hill by himself (John_6:14-15). Jesus dismissed the crowds and dismissed the disciples and sought the solitude of the mountain for a time of prayer.
OUT IN ROUGH WATERSWhen evening came, His disciples went down to the lake where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark and Jesus had not yet joined them (John_6:16-17)
When evening came, Jesus was alone in the hills, praying, but the boat was already a considerable distance from the land, buffeted by the waves, because the wind was against it (Matthew_14:24)
A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. (John_6:18) He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.
JESUS APPROACHES (WALKS ON WATER)When they had rowed 25 or 30 stadia (5-6 kilometre) they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; they were terrified (John_6:19)
During the fourth watch of the night (between 3 am and 6 am) Jesus went to them, walking on the water (Matthew_14:25)
About the fourth watch of the night He went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass them. (Mark_6:48).
JESUS RE-ASSURESWhen the disciples saw Him walking on the lake they were terrified. "It's a ghost" they said, and cried out in fear (Matthew_14:26)
But when they saw Him walking on the lake they thought He was a ghost. They cried out because they all saw Him and were terrified. Immediately, He spoke to them and said, “Take courage. It is I. Don't be afraid " (Mark_6:14-51)
But Jesus immediately said to them "Take courage, it is I, Don't be afraid" (Matthew_14:27)
But he said to them, “It is I; don't be afraid". (John_6:20)
PETER'S RESPONSE"Lord, if it is You, “Peter replied, "Tell me to come to You on the water" (Matthew_14:28)
"Come" He said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat and walked on the water to Jesus (Matthew_15:29)
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me" (Matthew_14:30)
Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. "You of little faith, “ He said, “Why did you doubt?" (Matthew_14:31)
RECOGNISING DEITY: WORSHIPPING THE LORDAnd when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. (Matthew_14:32)
Then those who were in the boat worshipped Him saying "Truly You are the Son of God." (Matthew_14:35)
Then He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves: their hearts were hardened. (Mark_6:51-52)
Then they were willing to take Him into the boat and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading (John_6:21)
A) OUT IN ROUGH WATERSIt seems to me that this passage also prompts us that there will be times when we feel we are out alone at sea, at a considerable distance from the land, buffeted by the waves, tossing on rough waters, straining at the oars, because the strong winds of circumstance are against us.
With Christ in the vessel we can smile at the storm. Yes. But this time, the disciples think that they are alone. Vulnerable. Left to the elements. Wind-tossed and storm-swept. But Jesus knew their problems and fears. Up on the hillside He saw and watched. He knew that the disciples were not making headway in the gusty waters. And He came to meet them at their very point of need.
Out in rough waters? Are things going rough for you? Does the tide seem against you? You try so hard but are not making any headway? You get pushed around? Your efforts do not seem to be taking you anywhere? Disheartened? Discouraged?
Take heart, my friend. You are not as alone as you think you may be. Jesus knows your every problem. He has been through such storms before. He watches from His place on the throne in heaven, seated at the right hand of God. He watches and He sees every moment, every movement. And He loves you. He cares for you. Jesus knows what you are going through, every step of the way. What a Mighty God we serve!
B) JESUS APPROACHES (WALKS ON WATER)In their hour of distress, Jesus came to succour and support. They were out at sea. He was up on the hill. But Our Lord comes to them across the sea, walking on the water. A miracle, yes. Not a miracle just to amuse and astound. But a miracle with a spiritual dimension, with an eternal lesson.
Just as Jesus overcame physical barriers to meet the disciples in the midst of heavy seas, so too does Jesus come, over troubled waters, to meet us in our hour of trial. Surrounded exam problems? by money problems? job problems? troubled relationships? a spouse that does not understand you? a parent that has abandoned you? a child that will not talk to you?
Anger, bitterness, rage, loneliness, fear and confusion swirl in your inner being. Wind-tossed and storm- swept, indeed. In your moments of anguish, call out to the Lord, because He is watching, and ever ready to come to your side: He who walked on the water, establishing that He is Master over the elements, He who rose from the grave and lives forever, establishing that He is Victor over sin and death, He will come to you over the vast expanse of time and space, over the gulf that separates heaven and earth. He will walk over the troubled water to come to you in your time of need.
C) JESUS RE-ASSURESWhat is the response as Jesus approaches? Some mocked. "He is only a carpenter." Some were afraid. They thought he was a ghost. They cried out because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately, He spoke to them and said, “Take courage. It is I. Don't be afraid "
Jesus calls out to reassure.
And the disciples hear his voice and are reassured.
"I am the good shepherd: I know my sheep and my sheep know me" (John_10:14)
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." (John_10:27)
Words of reassurance indeed.
What is your response when you meet Jesus? Disbelief? Rejection? Fear? Or have you come to know Him as a Personal Friend, accept Him as Saviour and Lord, follow Him as Good Shepherd?
"I am the good shepherd: I know my sheep and my sheep know me." "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." Are you within the fold, dear friend? Will you follow Jesus? Then hear Jesus as he speaks to you in your time of trial: "Take courage. It is I. Don't be afraid "
D) PETER'S RESPONSEImpetuous Peter's response is recorded only in Matthew. Peter, want to believe it is Jesus but not quite sure, wanting to walk on water to meet his Master, if it is Jesus, says "Lord, if it is You, tell me to come to You on the water." Peter is sure that no ghostly apparition will have such power. Only His Master can.
"Come" Jesus says, recognising the faith that Peter has, despite the wariness in identifying shadowy figure that walks on the water. The voice is familiar enough.
Then Peter got down out of the boat and walked on the water to Jesus. By faith, Peter was also able to transcend the laws of nature. Miracle indeed.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried Out, “Lord, save me".
Peter's faith wavered when he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the trouble instead.
Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. "You of little faith, “ He Said, “Why did you doubt?"
It seems to me that a great lesson encapsulated in this text: We are to run with perseverance the race marked out before us. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews_12:1b,2).
Focus not on the troubles that surround you: they are of things temporal: but look beyond them, to an eternal plane.
Look to Jesus, and be comforted.
Look to Jesus and draw strength.
Look to Jesus, and come to the throne of grace.
And even as we stumble: even as we begin to sink, all we need to do is call upon the Lord, and he will stretch out His hand to help us. What a Mighty God we serve.
E) RECOGNISING DEITY: WORSHIPPING THE LORDThen those who were in the boat worshipped Him saying "Truly You are the Son of God."
Then He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves: their hearts were hardened.
Then they were willing to take him into the boat and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading
The miracle of five loaves and two fish had not had its impact on the disciples. They missed the point. They did not see God's hand at work amongst them. Perhaps they were so used to the extra ordinary happening while Jesus was around that they did not perceive that the miracle was indeed a manifestation of the power of the Son of God.
But now, the man who could walk on water and still the storm came across the lake and climbed into the boat with them. To complete the miracle, the boat immediately reaches the shore. The disciples are moved with reverence and awe.
They worshipped Him saying "Truly, You are the Son of God."
And you beloved, what is your response to this carpenter?
He who will walk on water to meet you at your very point of need?
He who died to pay the price for your sins?
He who rose to sit at the right hand of God,
there to rule for ever and ever?
He who IS Son of God?
He who IS the Good Shepherd?
Will you not worship Him?
Will you not yield your life to Him?
Truly, He IS the Son of God.
Truly you are All Mighty
You who created heaven and earth, and all that is within it,
you who created us in your image,
You who continued to love us although we have gone astray.
You are Mighty God, Everlasting God, and we worship you.
Today we thank you for the lesson.
We thank you that you watch over each one of us personally, even through the storms of our life.
We thank you that you will walk on water to come to your side.
We thank you for showing us that we need to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith:
In the name of The King of Kings and Lord of Lords,
Our Master, Our Saviour, The Risen Christ: JESUS.
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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