- Sermon Notes
Lord of the Storm
The events we studied last week are important for us to review in order to understand the lessons God has for us in our study today. In the early part of chapter 14, we read that Jesus had just been informed about the death of John the Baptist. Having heard that tragic news, He wanted to withdraw from there to a lonely place with his disciples.
They got into a boat and crossed over the Sea of Galilee, but when they arrived at the other side, a large crowd of people was there wanting and needing to receive from Him. Apparently, they had seen their boat crossing the sea and ran around the north end of the sea to find him. Jesus saw they were like sheep without a shepherd so he ministered, taught them, and healed them.
Later in the day the disciples came to him telling him that He should send people away so they could buy food. But instead He answered, "They do not need to go away, you give them something to eat." What great lessons there were for us in that story. The disciples only could see what they lacked, but Jesus then took five loaves and two fish offered by a little boy and fed the crowd of 5,000 plus women and children.
That's where we pick up our story today, beginning in verse 22. This is also a famous event in the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus. This is when Jesus walked on the sea, and as we'll see, Peter did as well.
I'm convinced this story is to demonstrate to the disciples that He was truly the Son of God, but also to demonstrate that He is Lord of the storm. These are lessons we need for our lives as well.
I. In This Life there will be Many Storms
- In verse 22 it says that He made the disciples get into the boat. It might be more accurate to say, "He compelled them to get into the boat." That's a much stronger word.
- I can imagine the disciples wouldn't want to leave Jesus there alone, so Jesus had to compel them. Maybe this was another time when the disciples were trying to give Jesus advice, we don't know for sure, but whatever happened, Jesus had to compel them.
- From the account in the gospel of John, we read that Jesus also sent the multitudes away because they were intending to take Him by force to make Him king.
- Jesus did come to establish a kingdom, but a spiritual one. The Jews, of course, were looking for someone to lead a revolt against Rome, but Jesus knew this was because He provided bread. He spoke of their motives in John 6:26.
John 6:26, Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal."
- Jesus has something much more important to accomplish than overthrowing Rome, because His kingdom will endure forever and the souls of men are more important than the movement of nations.
- So the scene has been set, the disciples had been sent out in a boat to face a storm. This is not their first storm, they've already been through storms 101, now there will be greater lessons.
A. Jesus prayed; we should also pray
- Verse 23 says that after Jesus sent the multitudes away, He went up to the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was alone.
- Jesus is our example and you see the importance of Jesus spending time alone with His Father. If Jesus prayed, should we not also pray?
- No doubt the disciples saw the relationship Jesus had with His Father and saw that prayer was an intimate aspect of that relationship. In fact, at one point they said, "Teach us to pray."
- What was it he prayed? We don't really know. But there are several scriptures that do give us insight into other prayers of Jesus.
Romans 8:34, Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
Hebrews 7:25, Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
- In the Gospel of Mark we read that Jesus saw them toiling, straining at the oars, for the wind was against them.
- Jesus knew they were in Storms 102 and I'm convinced that He would have been praying for them. It's an encouragement to know that Jesus is praying for you when you’re going through a storm.
Illus - In the last days before Jesus was arrested, he warned Peter that he was about to go through a terrible storm, but then added that He had prayed for him.
Luke 22:31, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."
B. Some lessons can only be learned in storms
- There can be little doubt that Jesus sent them into the storm. He knew what they would encounter, and how He would answer.
- There is a doctrine that says that if you have strong enough faith, everything will go great in your life, you will always prosper, and you'll never be sick, etc.
- Some will even go so far as to accuse others who are going through a storm, "The reason you’re suffering is because you have a lack of faith."
- But this isn't what Jesus promised; this is earth, not heaven. In fact, Jesus said there would be storms in this life and to prepare for them.
John 16:33, "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
Luke 6:47-48, Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built."
- Someone might say, "It's difficult being in the will of God if it means we may be in a storm." But you know what's more difficult than being in the will of God? It’s being out of the will of God.
- There are some lessons that can only be learned in a storm! God gives us truths and the principles of His Word, but when we actually live them, we learn them in a completely different way.
- At the end of this storm, the disciples looked at Him and said, "You are certainly God's Son!"
- That's the first time they made such a declaration. They were learning something about who Christ was and that He was stronger than any storm.
II. Lessons for Going Through a Storm
- I'm convinced this storm was a significant part of their growing in faith and trusting in Him.
- What they learned here would keep them through every other storm in their lives.
- And we need to learn how to go through storms ourselves. These things were written for our example and instruction to increase our faith as well as theirs.
A. Be faithful to what God asked you to do
- The disciples were headed west, but the storm had blown in off of the Mediterranean and so their boat was being battered and tossed about.
- Then it tells us that Jesus came to them in the fourth watch of the night, walking on the sea. This would have been between 3 and 6 in the night. That means they were pulling on those oars for 9 to 12 hours.
- Logic would say, "Cut and run. Turn around and let the storm take you wherever it will."
- But Jesus, who had just fed more than 10,000 people, had given them a direction to go ahead of him to the other side. You have to give them credit for being faithful to what Jesus said to do.
1 Corinthians 4:2, In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.
- When it comes to storms one of the things I know for certain is that God blesses faithfulness.
Illus – When Job had been through one storm after another, finally, his wife said to him, no doubt in exasperation…
Job 2:9-10, Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!" But he said to her “… Shall we indeed accept good from God and not adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
B. Give fear an answer
- When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were frightened, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear.
- I think we can all understand their fear. No one had written the New Testament yet so they didn’t know how this was going to come out.
- Immediately, Jesus spoke to their fear by literally saying, "I am; do not be afraid."
- Fear is really born out of the question; “what if.”
- What if I lose my job, what if I lose my house, what if I lose my health, what if my spouse leaves me, what if I can't pay my bills, what's going to happen?
- Jesus gave their fear an answer by saying, "I am; do not be afraid." As we know, "I am" is the name of God. It literally means, all that I am I will be to you. What a great answer to fear.
- We also need to give fear an answer and it goes like this, "No matter what happens in my life, God will be with me. He'll never leave me, nor forsake me, and even if the very worst should come – death - even then He will not leave me.”
Illus - When I was younger, I took up scuba diving. One day a friend and I decided to go spearfishing in Puget Sound, but a storm arose just as we were getting into the water…
Hebrews 13:5-6, for He Himself has said, "I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you," so that we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?"
Isaiah 41:10, "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
2 Timothy 1:7, For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
C. Storms strengthen faith
- In verse 28, Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to you on the water." And Jesus said, "Come!"
- And the amazing thing is that Peter did!
- There's actually an important lesson found in that small little word, "if." In the Greek it means "since" or "because." In other words, Peter is saying, "because it's you, allow me to come to you.” He's not saying, "if it really is you then prove it.”
- This is also an important aspect of faith. We don’t command God to prove who He is. God is the one who gave the command; yes we have authority, but only under his authority.
- Seeing the wind, Peter became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord save me!”
- Jesus reached out his hand and took hold of Peter and then said, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" Now if Peter had little faith, what did the other disciples have?
- The whole event would strengthen Peter's faith, however, and no doubt all the disciples as well.
- The great application here is to fix your eyes on Jesus, not on the storm, and not on yourself.
- Jesus got into the boat, the wind stopped, and those in the boat worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly God's Son!" Now they know something about God in their hearts they didn't know before and that's a key to faith. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ."
- When God says, "I give you my Word," He's not just giving some words printed on paper, He's giving you His promise, His heart, His life.
Hebrews 10:23, Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
Matthew 14:22-34 NASB