- Pastor Jacob Marchitell
Jesus walks on water
Walking on water is one of Jesus' most well known miracles. But is there more to the story than just Him being able to do that? From Aug. 9th 2020
Sunday Aug 9th
After Service next Sunday, we will be ordering some pizza, and having a “clean up” day.
The building has been empty and accumulating dust and cobwebs for a few months, so were going to bribe all of you with pizza to spend an hour or so after service next week to get our beautiful Church looking nice.
With everything going on, the quarantine, the virus, the political unrest, and everything else that life is throwing at us, we have been kind of silent about our policy for mask wearing; so, here ya go.
We, meaning the Board and I, have decided to follow the stat guidelines and suggest that everyone wear a mask at all times...unless you can social distance. So when you're entering and exiting the building, hanging out before and after Service, all the kids in Sunday School, so on and so forth.---- Unless you can practice safe social distancing.
Once you're in your pew, feel free to take them off, that’s why we have the dividers set up.
But please make sure you wear one when you come in, when you leave, and when you're hanging out socializing----or at least make sure you can remain 6ft away from one another.
We as Christians are in a unique position where God instructs us to obey the government, until the instructions of the government contradict Scripture…..and last time I read through the Bible, I didnt see anything in there about our rights to wear or not wear a mask.
At the heart of this issue, however, is something deeper. Will we jump at the first opportunity to be rebellious?
If someone is uncomfortable with or without themselves wearing a mask, or being around someone else wearing or not wearing a mask...we as followers of God must remember that we are called to lay our rights down and love other people.
People who wear masks arent cowards or living in fear-----unless they are, and thats between them and God.
People who don’t wear a mask, arent insensitive rebellious jerks----unless they are, and thats between them and God.
Obey God, obey the government, and put other people’s rights before your own.
So starting next Sunday, were asking that everyone wear a mask until they get to their pew, or if they can maintain the 6ft of social distancing.
Reminder about Sermon Series
We are talking about the miracles of Christ
Weve been talking about what they are
Their immediate physical reactions
Along with their deeper spiritual meanings
And im hoping that everyone is looking forward to the conclusion of the series where we talk about if miracles exist today, along with an interesting activity that Jesus places in the category along with miracles..
So...get your hopes up.
Today were going to be talking about one of Jesus’ miracles that might be one of His most well known.
It comes to us in Matthew, Mark & John
Jesus walks on water
Now because of how famous and well known this miracle is, there have been a million different Sermons on it.
Im sure some of you here this morning have heard these Sermons.
About the faith of Peter, who actually got out of the boat, whereas the other guys stayed behind.
How even though he failed and doubted and Jesus called him someone of little faith, he still had more faith than the others who stayed behind.
Or the sermons that say we need to keep our eyes on God if we dont want to sink
How we will all go through rough patches in our life, but as long as we keep our eyes on God and not the wind and waves, that we’ll be ok…..and even when we take our eyes off of Him, He’ll reach down and pull us up.
Or we can see that when Peter climbed out of the boat, it wasnt a calm sea.
There was wind and waves
There were distractions
There was adversity working against him
Peter went to Jesus not when things were good and smooth and there were no dangers...He went to Jesus when things were rough and scary and dangerous.
One Sermon you may not have heard about this story, is the fact that Peter said the same thing to Jesus that Satan did:
“If you are who you say you are…..prove yourself”
If you havent heard that Sermon, I hat to let you down because you wont be hearing it today.
So today, Im going to hopefully give you all something new to chew and digest.
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
( → → Opening prayer ← ← )
Now, were going to be taking a good look at the context of this story, to try and see all there is to see:
This story takes place right after the feeding of the multitude
If I had planned better and researched more, I suppose I should have given this Sermon right after the one about Him feeding the multitude, but I didnt, so yeah - anyways.
These stories we read in Scripture, arent nice little soundbite fortune cookies that exist without connection to anything else.
These are people’s lives were talking about, and if you know anything about people, the stuff were dealing with on a daily basis, effects other stuff, and God is present through all of it, knowing how it all effects us.
So, in the days before Jesus walks on the water, 2 huge things happen:
Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, is beheaded and has his head paraded around on a dinner platter.
When this happens, Jesus goes to be alone and pray, which we should all do when someone we love dies, but the people of the area follow him and dont leave him alone.
These people that follow Him, and dont leave Him alone----- are the 20,000 people that He feeds with the 5 loaves and two fish
One thing about that story that we didnt talk about, is that at the end of that meal-----the people get so worked up into a political frenzy, the Gospel of John says that they wanted to make Him king by force.
20,000 people wanted to start a revolution against an unjust government, overthrow the rulers they saw as unfair, usurp the authority, kick out the people in charge and set up Jesus as king.
John 6:15 says:
15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
He was having no part of their political agenda.
So after He told them all to go home with their full bellies, and hearts filled with rebellion----
----He sent the disciples across the sea of Galilee on a boat, while again-------
----He went off to spend time in prayer.
So if were going to use Jesus as our example, for our daily life---- then we can look at this story and see that when political craziness rises up----- the first thing we need to do is go be alone and spend time in prayer.
We need to remember that we are not citizens of America, we are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven who happen to be ambassadors and missionaries who are visiting and evangelizing America on an 80year mission.
So now were current.
The disciples are making their way across the sea of Galilee, through the middle of the night, while Jesus is getting some alone time in prayer with God.
Can you imagine the emotions and spirits of the disciples?
John the baptizer was just beheaded 2 days ago
Im sure they have anger and hurt and confusion and fear and a spiritual fire burning in their heart
When someone we love dies at the hands of injustice, or dies for some random unseen cause,
Or when someone dies because the authority figures that govern our society are unjust and immoral
When this happens, we have dozens of thoughts forced into our minds and forced into our thoughts
And it would have been the same for the disciples
When we get so caught up with the injustices of this world, when we are confronted by unfairness, we all want to make things better.
We want justice and results right here and right now
Our thoughts get clouded by the hurt and pain, our emotions are thrown into a blender, and we stop thinking logically
The disciples would have all this going through their mind, when all of sudden----
They witness and partake in, a miracle involving 20,000 people.
The crowd would have been huge!
And its not like they were in a stadium in organized rows and columns
Spread across fields and beneath trees
They would have occupied a space of several football fields
20,000 people all ate bread that was never grown or baked, and fish that never swam
They were eye witnesses of 20,000 people eating till they were so full---that the word used to describe how full they were, can be translated as “gorged”.
These disciples, whose thoughts and feelings and spirits were already tossed around because of the death of John the baptizer….just witnessed and helped distribute miracle food to 20,000 people
Can you picture it?
Their hearts crying from the death of their friend
The injustice of the romans on full display
Fear and hurt and anger swirling around their hearts and minds
Their emotions a whirlwind
Then they see this gigantic super-public miracle
Hungry people are fed
Lost people are guided in the truth
The shepherdless are taught and instructed
Sick people are healed by the thousands
theres love and excitement and joy exploding all over the place
from somewhere in the crowd-----
the idea of making Jesus king ----- by force ---- gets brought up.
The idea spreads
The voices grow louder
Groups of people start banding together
They would be chanting and shouting their political fervor
“The injustice of Rome must fall, and WE must make Jesus our king!”
“Our government has failed and let us down”
“Our current government is unjust, they oppress the poor, hurt the orphan, they force their wicked ways upon the Godly, they have abandoned the good and support the bad”
“Those in office are power hungry tyrants who are unfit to lead”
And like I stated earlier, Jesus was having none of that.
He dispersed the 20,000 people
Sent His disciples away
And went off to be alone and pray
When people rise up against an unfair government...we go to God
When unrest and injustice flow through our society...we go to our heavenly Father
This is the mindset and immediate experience that the disciples have gone through, prior to verse 26,
“When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.”
You see, they were dealing with the death of their friend, and dealing with the political fervor of the multitudes-----and then were dealing with the physical challenge before them of rowing against the wind through the middle of the night until almost sunrise
They were worn down // Tired // Beaten // Sad // Afraid // Confused
They were riled up // Excited // filled with a million thoughts, some good some bad
Imagine rowing against the wind, across an 8mile wide sea---
Through the middle of the night with nothing but the moon for light---
2 days after your friend dies---
And immediately after an attempted political revolution---
Because of alllll this ----- they didnt recognize Jesus
A few chapters earlier they saw Him speak to a storm
Theyve seen him heal the blind, heal the deaf, raise people from the dead
But now, they see Him walking on water and they are afraid thinking He is a ghost
You see, when life comes at you in ways that beat you up----- you can misunderstand who Jesus is.
When a friend or family member dies, and you dont immediately take those feelings before God….you'll end up more lost and afraid than you were to begin with.
When the country you live in becomes ripe with political fervor, when revolution and rebellions begin forming and growing--------and you dont go and spend time alone with God….you'll end up being swept into the fray
When we arent intentional about our relationship with Jesus Christ...we will end up mistaking Him for something else
We end up thinking He is a means to a political end, and anyone opposed to my political side must not be a real Christian----
We end up thinking He is some kind of socialist hippy who just walked around being nice to people and teaching nice lessons
We end up thinking He is a genie to grant our prayers and all we’ll have to do is say the right prayer and give the right amount of money and then the favor of God will rest on me, and now that its not happening I think God hates me
If we are not actively and intentionally going to out heavenly Father in prayer----
And arent actively and intentionally reading our Bibles and asking the questions that our hearts cry out----
If we remain passive in our relationship with God, then the death and the rebellion that is right now flowing through our country------- will wash over us in unending pain and sorrow.
We will struggle---
We will fail---
We will fall---
We will trip, mess up, make mistakes, go down the wrong road
We will think wrongly about Jesus, and then think rightly about the devil and his disgusting plans for us and our life----
Now, I hope that there are 2 questions all of you are asking yourselves right now:
#1 - “Didnt Jesus tell them to go out on to the sea, knowing what was going on in their hearts and minds?”
#2 - “What does this have to do with Jesus walking on water?”
Yes, Jesus sent them out.
If He did it so they wouldnt get caught up in the rebellious nature of the multitude
Or some other reason, doesnt matter.
What matters, is that yes, Jesus sent them out into a situation that was tough.
Being a follower of Jesus Christ is not a butterfly cake walk filled with happiness and an easy life
God will place you in situations where you will have to grow
Where your faith will strengthen
And where your pride will break
If you have the Holy Spirit living within your heart, intertwined with your soul, then every situation you find yourself in was seen by God.
Sometimes, you may be in that place in your life because you listened to your heart and not the Bible
Because you have followed your own thoughts and own idaas and your sin has guided you to a place you hate and you feel stuck and that the love of God may never reach you------
Other times---- however, it is God who sends you there.
So in closing id like to ask all of you, personally:
Which of these applies to you and where you are in your life right now?
Have you wandered off into self reliance and rebellion?
Have you rested on your own strength?
Have you ignored Scripture for so long that even hearing what it says causes your pulse to raise?
Have you found yourself in the middle of the sea----in the middle of the night----fighting for your life? With the pain of your immediate or far past weighing on every decision you make?
Or have you obeyed what Jesus says?
Do you take your hurt and fear to your heavenly Father in prayer?
Do you spend time in Scripture, letting it mold and shape you, even though it’s painful and hard?
Because no matter which situation you are in right now, Jesus walked on the water for you:
“He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake.”
“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.”
No matter where you are in your life----
If your own choices have left you hurt and lost---
If the choices of others that were forced on you, have left you hurt and lost---
If you have tried your best to follow what Scripture teaches even though you trip and mess up---
No matter what---- Jesus fulfills the words of Job 8:9 that says “He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.”
He will walk across hurricanes to be by your side--
You will never be alone---
So answer the God who, during the midst of fear, worry and doubt, says:
““Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Take courage, it is I, dont be afraid”
( → → Closing Prayer ← ← )