25th February 2024

Navigating Life’s Storms with Jesus

Passage: Matthew 14:22-33
Service Type:

Automatically Generated Transcript

A part of the joy of my week each week is to get around to the different Home Groups.
there's quite a number of meetings of our people in homes in different sorts of styles of Home Groups
some with all young people... some with mixtures... where there's adult
not that the young people aren't adults but... well anyway there's different age groups
They are very interesting, and they all have a very good time in my opinion, our church
does very well with its home grips.
One that does meet has been recently going through the Gospel of John and chapter 10,
there was a really interesting discussion that went on about the argument that Jesus
was having with the leaders of the day, the Pharisees as to his identity.
were having a lot of trouble with Jesus' claims. And he claimed to be the good shepherd. He
claimed to be the one that spoke from God. He did it with authority as we've been learning
in the morning surfaces. And, looking at the Beatitudes there, and Jesus, this one, was
somehow not accepted by the Jewish leaders, and they couldn't grasp the fact that when
they challenged Him. Tell us plainly tell us plainly whether you are the Christ or
not and his answer was basically don't my works display when you see the
Father's works turning up through me, when you see I'm doing the works of my
Father, doesn't it show you who I am. My identity with the father. By identity I
I mean that the Father's the Father, and He's the Son.
And, here Jesus says that there's a sense
in which God working through Him shows Him, indeed,
to be not only the Son of God, but also the Christ.
And the word Christ, Christos, it means anointed One,
to be exactly that which Jesus was talking about.
That the One that God, the Father, put His Spirit on
and did His works through.
Jesus talked about, don't believe me for my own sake
even if you disbelieve me,
believe me for the work sake
when you see the works of the Father,
and he'd just been doing some of those
very wonderful miracles,
the healing of a man born blind,
and another miraculous miracle that Jesus did
those two miracles just recent in the conversations
with these Pharisees were speaking from the Father
that He was the one on whom the spirit came.
The dynamic there being demonstrated by Jesus is the picture of heaven
with the Father and the Christ on the earth,
which at least, they might have acknowledged even if they didn't understand him being God,
at least they might acknowledge that he is the Messiah, the Anointed One,
the One that the Father puts his Spirit, and does His works through,
but they find that so hard to take in and to accept.
Now, that which Jesus was resting upon in terms of the theory of what he was saying
is also demonstrated by Jesus in other miracles that he did. In fact, there is
something basically different about when Jesus does miracles then and on earth,
and how Jesus still does miracles, but doing them through us on earth since he's gone back to heaven
and by the Holy Spirit and then not as much as only by the Father or the Son.
When the Holy spirit came Jesus and told his disciples this was going to occur.
If he could go back to heaven he would send the Holy Spirit.
The Holy spirit would speak to them from the exalted Jesus.
The same scenario that pertained to the Father being in heaven
and Jesus on earth and the Father's works being done through Jesus
how Jesus elsewhere explains how he did his miracles on earth and that that is also going
to be the pattern, the procedure that eventually when he goes back to heaven and he sends the
Holy Spirit, we the disciples will do his miracles too.
Anyway, a little of this we can learn from a very famous passage.
If you have been here in the church long enough, you would have heard me preach on one of my
And I'm revisiting that passage now, in Matthew's Gospel.
We looked at the Bible reading of Jesus talking about the New Covenant in Mark's Gospel,
but now in Matthew's Gospel, and in chapter 14 verses 22-23, we have here this event of
which I now talk.
Immediately he made the disciples get into to the boat and go before him to the other
side while he dismissed the crowds.
Notice the little comment there he made the disciples, and the word that is used to express
that action, is Jesus compelled them!
Maybe not physically, but with his words, He held their arms up their backs!
And he made them get into the boat to go to the other side, and in that night's journey
got to meet a triple storm and be afraid of being drowned and killed.
And the very first thing that we recognize here is that in the arrangement Jesus was
setting up for this particular miracle that Matthew records in Matthew 14, in this particular
miracle Jesus is forcing the disciples to go into a storm and almost lose their lives.
And this is a bit of parable for us, the whole setting of this miracle that Jesus does, eventually
when he comes and walks in the water.
The whole setting of this is a big of a picture of how will it be when eventually he goes
back to heaven and he takes his seat in the right hand of the Father and as to him as
granted with his name now the greatest of all names, Jesus, the highest name with the
highest authority.
eventually, Jesus is going to be the One sending His Spirit to come and to help us when we
go through to our storms.
And so this particular episode, this miracle that Jesus does in walking on the water and
helping them out when they are in a terrible fix on the water…
This miracle that Jesus does is in itself a parable of how it is between him now and
heaven and us down here at Earth when sometimes it's within his will that we get
compelled to go through a storm. If you're here tonight, and there's been
something in your life where he's taken you through a storm and you've been
worried about it because somehow you didn't predict it, and somehow you wonder
why if he loves you that much that he puts you through a storm, here's a bit of
an explanation for you that Jesus sometimes does send us into storms but
not because he is going to leave us there unaided.
But he made the disciples coming to the boat and go before him to the other side, while
he dismissed the crowds.
And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went
up on a mountain by himself to pray.
Now the Bible teaches us about the gospel.
It is not only about the Lord Jesus Christ and how he is
God's eternal Son.
Not only that he is the Christ, the one on whom the spirit would be
be anointed to become the King of Israel and anointed to lead in the Kingdom of God.
And he would also finally go to the Cross, give his life there on the Cross, dying for
his sins that we might be forgiven, and then rise again the third day
and after 40 days of showing himself very much alive to his disciples, he speedily ascends
again back to the Father where the Father makes his name to be the name that is above
every name.
And in that scenario the Father and Jesus send the Holy Spirit down.
On the believing Disciples, the day of Pentecost happens, the church is formed and the very
setup in which the church finds itself where sometimes they are sent into storms, individual
Christians find themselves sometimes sent by the will of God, the will of Jesus into
something that you didn't want or expect, but Jesus hasn't left us alone, he gives
Jesus's parable that we might know what he's doing during our storms.
And that's all, I come here tonight to tell you that Jesus wants you to know what he's
doing when you've got something perplexing you at the
Something that you can't explain.
And what maybe you can't explain is that it seems
as though he led you into it.
Why did he lead you, and then you've gotten the storm and will look like the disciples
were is going to be the next victims.
They had a bit of a history there on the Lake Galilee of there being storms suddenly coming
up because of the way the winds came down from the highlands, the hills created a ruckus
on Lake Galilee.
And there were many fishermen who had lost their lives when they
both sank, and rumours
have gone around that their ghosts stalked the waters in the evening on Lake Gallery.
If you saw the ghosts coming, that was because they were coming to fetch you to get drowned
to. That was the rumour. It wasn't exactly accurate, but it's how people's imaginations
go collectively, when there are deaths suddenly.
Well anyway, here we have um the story. As Jesus went up to a mountain by himself to
pray and that's a bit of a physical parable, if you like, of what Jesus' entire ministry
was going to take him after his resurrection, came the ascension, where he went up to the
highest point – to pray.
One of the things that presently Jesus is doing in Heaven.
C. Jesus is praying for you and me.
He is the intercessor.
He had a high priestly ministry by praying on earth.
But that just the beginning of that high priestly ministry
of Jesus.
Allah continued his ministry in Heaven where he would come before the Father day by day
and moment by moment.
What is He praying for is for you and me.
who are his disciples on earth, who need him. And he is praying that he and the Father will
be able by the Holy Spirit to come, and particularly, help us out through those terrible times
in storms that we have. When evening came he was there alone, but the boat, by this
time, was a long way away from land, beaten by the waves. Back then the rowboat, they
didn't know what to do when the wind turned around and was against them. They pulled down
sails. They didn't understand tacking in those days when you can sort of make forward direction
even though the winds contrary. But what they would do is to pull the sails down and just
row hard. If the wind is strong on Lake Galilee at times you look to be getting nowhere in
muscles are aching and your waves are getting higher.
And you're worried about whether or not you are going to perish in that storm, when suddenly
they see what looks to be a ghost.
On the fourth watch of the night, that's the final three hours before, you know, 3 PM,
3 AM down to 6 AM.
It's still dark.
But it'd been a heavy night when they'd been rowing.
The wind was contrary, against them.
And in that fourth watch of the night, Jesus came walking on the sea.
When they saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified because they knew stories of
the ghosts and said, "'It is a ghost!'
They cried out in fear."
Now listen to the next bit please.
But immediately Jesus spoke to them saying — and one of the things that happens to
to you easily.
he spoke to them and so he he spoke to them saying take heart. it is I don't
know whether someone hasn't got someone here tonight and you're in some scene
that you're perplexed about and Jesus is speaking to you from heaven
he's coming by the Holy Spirit's agency to walk on the waters of your life and
and of your storms.
He says take heart.
One of the things we have to do in Christian discipleship is not to be overcome by the
opposition and the things that the devil comes.
His chief task is to somehow frighten you to get you to stop having faith.
His chief task is to make you react.
Very often you can overcome temptations just by not reacting.
Remember Jesus is in charge.
Take heart.
He says It is I.
Can you imagine that hoping for a few seconds, is this really not a ghost?
And then they recognise his voice, you know, Jesus said, my sheep know my voice.
And when it is Jesus that speaks to you.
You recognise his voice if you are his sheep.
It is I. Do not be afraid.
And Peter answered him Lord if it's you command me to come to you on the water.
And he said, Come.
So Peter out of the boat, I love the story line of Peter.
He had a big heart and lots of courage to have a go.
God needs people who are prepared for just to stay sitting in the boat and have a go.
So Peter got out of the boat and he walked on the water and came to Jesus.
Can you imagine that scene, for in that moment it's not only Jesus who is doing the miracle
of walking on the water but it's also Peter.
There are times in our lives that Christians, when God through Christ or the Holy Spirit
sometimes we do not know exactly who is the personage most in the picture.
But you know our one God always acts thru the three persons and they do not leave each
other out, they are immanent in each others activities, as well as having special assignments.
But I want to tell you that when Jesus speaks to you, he is letting you in on the greatest
miracle That he himself did,
when he was here on earth, and he did his miracles
by the anointing of the Spirit from the Father.
And now, as a Christian, he is getting peter—
well, Peter is a Christian, too.
If you want to call him that, he's already believing in
Christ, but the Day of Pentecost has not come yet.
But so here's Peter, and when Peter put that foot
out of that boat—that big heavy laden leg of his
that he had, because he was a strong man
of his feet,
stepped on the water, and felt the surprising sense of him and the water holding him up.
And took a step and took a step and took a step.
He was actually doing what we do as Christians, when God puts us in a position of not knowing
how we're going to live this Christian life.
And as we begin to step out by faith, trusting in his help, that's the secret to the Christian
You suddenly find you're doing the Christian thing.
And you knew that was a lot more than you were capable of.
I want to say, one of the greatest experiences of your life as a Christian is when
you find that the Lord is leading you and giving you the ability to do what you know
you couldn't have done on your own.
The whole of the Christian life is just that.
The apostle Paul said, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
It's not him, but it's Christ who lives in me, he said.
That's how the Christian life is lived.
And the way that you learn that Christian life is actually Jesus sending you out on
to some lake when you didn't want to go.
And the wind being contrary, and you finding that you're really alarmed and then suddenly
He the one who's been praying for you in Heaven sends the Holy Spirit to come to you and to
whisper to you that he's there with you.
And then you get encouraged and your faith, you gather your faith and you begin to step
once you've found out to try to be the Christian, you've found out you couldn't do it on your
So Peter walked in water and he came to Jesus.
What happened to Peter is the same thing
as happens to us.
When he saw the wind he was afraid, he took his eyes no doubt off Jesus.
I suspect he looked around and what did he see crouched in the boat?
but of a row of frightened faces.
The one way to lose a bit of your faith is to look into the experience of all the other
defeated Christians.
They're the ones in the boat who didn't step out like Ead.
But if God calls you to do something that's trusting Jesus don't get put off by other
Christians telling you don't do that, don't do that.
You'll make a mess.
No, they're trying to sort of talk to you as though it's just you.
They don t know that it s Jesus in you, which makes all the difference.
And when he saw the wind he became afraid and beginning to sink s my guess that he looked
at the other faces.
It doesn t actually say that.
But when he was afraid he began to sink, and that s what happens to us.
Or guess is I m not going to ask you all to come out in the open about it.
I wouldn't mind guessing there s probably a good quarter of you sitting, listening to
have been in that this week where you were sinking as you're doing it in your
own strength I'm only guessing when he saw the wind he was afraid
perfect love casts out fear and when you get encouraged about how he lovesом will
help you it casts out fear and beginning to sink he cried out Lord save me
that's not a bad thing to do. Jesus immediately, I love it when the scriptures, use that word
immediately. Jesus immediately. He's not gonna dangle you, just to torture you. He wanted
you to have faith re-evoked in you. Jesus immediately reached out his hand, and he took
hold of him, saying to him, ''O you of little faith!'' Don't think always, that you can blame
God as to whether he gave you enough faith or not. Jesus was telling Peter
off for being a person of little faith. That's why he was thinking, why did you
doubt? Look at those words. Don't believe any explanation that says you only have
the faith he gives you and you have no choice about it. Faith is what he calls
you to have and to seek and to try. Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?
And when they got into the boat the wind ceased, as if those disciples needed
something to show them the power of Jesus. When Jesus gets into your boat,
you don't have to be afraid of the storms. And those on the boat worshiped
him. Which is what happens when Jesus has taken over from your failure. Then you
you worship him, much of the failures of life I know come from me because he has come in
and taken over', saying, they said to Jesus truly, you are the Son of God.
Well, all of that event was a type of Jesus working a physical parable.
The parable is that he's gone to a high place which in our case now is Heaven and he's having
prayer for you and for me and for us. And in his praying for us, if there is some difficulty
that is in our lives, He will come to you, He will come to you, and he will ask you to
put your faith back in Him and trust him. And even if you thought your following is
leading and didn't seem to be working out, He will lead it to work out. Notice it says
as soon as they got into the boat, the wind ceased. In another similar miracle I
think of Jesus walking on the water the boat actually goes immediately to the
other side. I don't know whether that was a telling of this story in other words
or whether that's another occasion but Jesus in the boat the wind ceased the
issue was gone and those in the boat then worship him.
Truly you are the Son of God. Let's pray.
Father, I thank you for the home groups and for how we've been learning of Jesus trying to get those Pharisees
to recognize that the works of the Father are happening through him.
They find that hard to understand.
Maybe it's before Jesus sends the Holy Spirit and they don't have as much help as we have today,
but Father, help us to learn the lesson that his being the Anointed One, the Christ,
is about how he did things in his life as the Father empowered him.
And now that he's gone to Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to us,
When the Comforter comes, He will do all things, lead you in all things.
He will teach you all things.
He'll comfort you.
He'll strengthen you all the promises.
Help us to trust through this physical parable Jesus gave
to the disciples we read of tonight.
Help us to trust,
Now the Jesus who is in Heaven who's praying for us, he's interceding for us
to make the distance to whatever is our other side of the lake.
He's commanded us to do. Help us to do that we pray and to trust in him and to
have faith and thereby then to worship him in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

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