Matthew 14:22-31

Matthew 14:22-31

Jesus will sometimes ask very hard things of us. And you know what He's asking of us to accomplish these very hard things? Just a very little bit of faith. He's the One that's going to do it... He's the One that is going to get us across the lake.And then Peter does this amazing thing. In a moment of clarity, he knows to ask, “Lord, if that’s You, if it’s really You, tell me to come to You, because if it’s really You, then I know I can accomplish this,” and he steps out of the boat, and he walks on the water. This is the amazing thing: that Peter, at that moment, had enough faith. His eyes were on Jesus enough that he actually accomplished walking on the water, but that was very short-lived. And when I look at Peter, and I look at Peter’s faith, and I look at what it took for him to actually step out of that boat in the first place, I see a lot of us. There are a lot of Christians in society who, just like Peter, are men and women who really love the Lord, and they have faith, but they have just very short moments of faith. And you know what, I would be willing to step out of the boat. That would be exciting! But I also have had the experience of seeing the wind and the waves around me. Life begins to hurl itself at me. You know, it’s amazing how quickly we can take our eyes off of the One that is causing us to stand firm on top of an object that is not solid. When we are standing on our faith, and that’s what Peter was standing on. He wasn’t just standing on the water. He was standing on faith. It’s amazing how quickly that faith can disappear from under your feet. He took his eyes off of the One that builds faith in us, and he sank, and then he cries out to the Lord, “Save me!…”

One of the things I believe that Jesus is dealing with in His disciples, one of the things I believe that Jesus deals with us every day as His disciples, is fear. If you stop and look at your life, you’ll realize very quickly how much fear dictates your next move… Fear is a great motivating factor in our lives. It dictates to us our response to many things… We’re afraid of rejection. We’re afraid of being hurt. We’re afraid of what it might cost us. But fear is what motivates us. And here, Jesus walks right past all the fear, not affected by it… But He has to give [the disciples] the instruction, “Take courage. Don’t be afraid…”

I think so often, just like the disciple, we struggle with hard hearts… Jesus may ask things of us. Jesus will ask things of us, and Jesus will ask sometimes very hard things of us. And you know what He’s asking of us to accomplish these very hard things? Just a very little bit of faith. He’s the One that’s going to do it. He’s the One that is going to feed the crowds when we’re struggling to know what we’re supposed to feed them. He’s the One that is going to get us across the lake. But rather than putting their oars down and crying out, “Hey, Jesus! We’re struggling here! Time to come to our aid!” Three o’clock in the morning and they’re still struggling with the oars trying to row across this lake, and rather than understanding that Jesus had this ability to come to them, when they see Him walking on the lake, the first thing they do is assume the worst. Do we not do the same, after all that God has done in our lives? We’ve seen miracles. I guarantee you, every one of us in this room have seen miracles. But yet, when something bad begins to happen around us and the waves are tossing us about, what do we do? We assume the worst. We start crying out, “Oh, God! What have I done wrong? Why are You punishing me?” We start looking at all of the bad things. Well, it’s because we have hard hearts. You know what? All of us have experienced the feeding that Jesus gives. He has poured the blessing out on us. And you know what? If He can do one miracle, He can do all the miracles. We just have to believe that He can, and we’re very much like Peter in that sometimes we’re even bold enough to step out of the boat for a minute, but we are so easily distracted because of the hardness of our hearts, that when we start looking at the trouble, we take our eyes off of the One that got us out of the boat in the first place. The One Who challenges us to make that step of faith in the first place. We take our eyes off of Him, and we begin to sink, and then we have to cry out to Him all over again…

Sometimes we’re asked to go beyond ourselves when we want to stop, when we want to mourn, when we want to have some self pity, and God says, “No. Now’s not the time,” and He asks us to step beyond ourself and have a little faith in Him. But guess what? If we fail to see the truth of the challenge that He’s bringing to us, He’s just going to bring us another challenge… So often we struggle against the trial that’s put in front of us, rather than turning around and saying, “You know, Jesus, I can’t accomplish this, but You can.” This is the whole point, I believe, of the story…

The more we spend time with God the Father, the more we spend time in prayer, the more we understand God’s heart, the more we’re going to be able to accomplish those things that He asks us to do, and the more we’re going to know what it is that He wants us to do. I think we struggle far too much as believers. We struggle against the oars. We struggle against knowing how we’re going to feed the people. We struggle against even wanting to feed the people, and we fight with God, and we argue with God, and we allow for our hearts to become hard. Most of us do not see the miracles when they’re happening around us, not because they’re not happening, but because our hearts are hard and our eyes are closed, and we don’t want to see them. We don’t want to be a part of them, because we have an idea of how things are supposed to happen…

Sometimes, no matter how hard you row, you’re not going to make headway. The only way to make headway is for the storm to stop, and the only way for the storm to stop is for Jesus to crawl into the boat with you. For you to understand, what it was that He wanted you to learn in the first place…

And we don’t have to worry any more. We can face all of the challenges of life, no matter how little we have to accomplish it with or how bad the storm is, we can accomplish it if we’ll just invite Jesus to be a part and trust that He knows what He’s doing.

Pastor Dave Elkins