Jesus, there, even when it doesn’t seem that way, peace | Matthew 14:22-35 (January 27th)

Vs. 24 “...they were buffeted by the wind…” or, the wind was opposed to them

● Struggle and strain

● Tired and discouraged

● Their strength, we can be sure, was sapped - it’s the fourth watch of the night

● Mark 5:48 says “...He saw they were in serious trouble…”

It is that of the world… it is opposed to us, the children of God, it buffets to the point of exhaustion and discouragement and there are times that we find ourselves in what seems like “serious trouble”

And, it’s never at a good time...

Vs. 25 “...during the the fourth watch of the night…” 3-6am

Jesus sees and goes out to them

Long day, longer night…the disciples had just returned from their own missionary journey, Jesus had just heard of John’s death and had taken to mourn Matt 14:13 "He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place" as He sailed the crowds gathered to meet Him, “when Jesus landed and saw the large crowd, He had compassion on them and healed their sick”

and as evening approached, the disciples came to Him and said… it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away…”

He and the disciples fed them all…

After all of this, Jesus sent the disciples “ahead of Him to the other side” while He dismissed the crowds

Vs. 26 They were terrified… “ is a ghost!”

Mark 6:51-52 says that “the disciples did not understand about the loaves and fish”

  • What was to understand?

  • Jesus’ “compassion” for people (Mark 6)

  • Jesus’ power and provision

  • Jesus’ love and comfort

But, this wasn’t Jesus’ first demonstration of power…

Sometimes, it takes many times, for us to get it, to see, experience, and trust, to experience more, to trust more, that we finally entrust ourselves, to Him

Mostly, they were still misunderstanding Jesus’ intentions…

John 6:14-15 tells us “After the people saw the sign JEsus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by Himself”

How might we know that this is the point of misunderstanding? Even after His resurrection, before being given the Spirit, they still did not understand:

Acts 1:6 “so when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, ‘ Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” NLT

● Mark 4; 5; 6 Jesus had…

○ Commanded the seas and they obeyed

○ Driven out demons

○ Healed without even knowing it

○ Raised the dead

○ Sent them out with power, and, they experienced that power “that even the demons obeyed us!!”

○ Fed 5,000, really 18,000 thousand people, and the disciples were part of that, too!!

Do we believe God for who He is? Will we trust Him to do what He promises? How do we know God? He IS devoted to us… and yet we doubt. And, He knows this and sees and comes and calls and beckons and receives and saves… anyway

● Jesus’ approach is

○ Missed - they did not expect Him to arrive in this manner

○ Mistaken, misunderstood, and misinterpreted - what they believed about God determined how they saw Jesus - and so it does not appear to be Him

● Could it be that Jesus’ appearing in the midst of our circumstance may not occur in the way we expect Him to appear?

○ They knew He was going to meet them there

○ They expected Him

○ They trusted this to be so and would have assumed His being there

○ But they missed it, anyway

Just like us:

● We know that He will meet us

● We expect Him to do so

● We trust this to be so and assume His being there

● Can it be though, that when it seems as though he is far from us, or even when He does “arrive”, it is not in the way we anticipated, and so we are “terrified”, and He is

○ Missed

○ Mistaken, misunderstood, and misinterpreted

○ 11 men froze

○ 1 man stepped out

Vs. 27 Jesus immediately said them “Take courage! Is it I. Don’t be afraid.” (Joshua 1)

● Jesus immediately identifies Himself

● Assures the disciples of His presence

● Calls them to courage, not based on their own abilities, but His being Him to them.

● Tells them there is no reason to fear, to be afraid.

So, we put Jesus to the test, and He, seems to be ok with that…He’s doesn’t seem to be threatened, or angry, or felt put upon, but in fact, He complies…

We should see that sometimes His compliance to our assertions can mean our own humiliation… and in that, growth in humility - which is not such a bad thing, as only the humble see God

Vs. 28-29 Peter and the waves… “...Lord, if it is , tell me to come to you on the water…”, in essence “prove it, show me”. Jesus replied “Come”

● He has Jesus before, He knew Jesus and watched Him work miracles in the lives of others

● Confident and focused, Peter challenges Jesus, and when called, goes out to Him…

● Peter sees and experiences Jesus’ power - that he had seen, but not understood - it had always been for someone else… but this, this is him!

Vs. 30 “But when Peter saw the wind… he was afraid, beginning to sink, he cried out ’Lord, save me!’”

● Distracted by the winds, having taken His eyes of Jesus, his courageous wains and he is afraid and begins to sink (Phil 4:4-8 “The Lord is near, be anxious about nothing”)

● Peter is reminded of his utter weakness and now is, and now, overwhelmed by his circumstances, he calls out

Vs. 31 “immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’”

● Jesus uses this moment as an opportunity to reveal Himself, that in Peter’s weakness, Jesus shows Himself, strong (2Cor 12:9-10)

● Peter humiliated/humbled, calls out, Jesus responds… as Peter finds himself in peril Jesus’ proves Himself

○ Faithful

○ Able

○ Devoted

● Peter and the disciples grow a little more in trust and let Him in

○ John 6:21 “then they were willing to let Him into the boat…”

Vs. 32-33 “And when He climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped Him, say ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’”

● When Jesus moves…

○ Truth, replaces lies

○ Clarity, replaces illusions

○ Relief, replaces dread

○ Peace, replaces tumult

○ Gratefulness, replaces despair

○ Trust, replaces doubt

○ Entrusting, replaces self-preservation

○ Reverent awe, replaces being afraid

○ Worship, drawing close, replaces reluctance, holding at a distance (Isa 29:13; Heb 10:1; 21-23)

Jesus, there, even when it doesn’t seem that way, peace… Matthew 14:22-35

And so it is so often with us… Jesus sends out, to go ahead of Him… it is not that He wasn’t , isn’t there, and won’t be there, He was, He is, and we can trust, that He will be.

Jesus, in sending them on ahead of Him is Implying that He will meet us there, Jesus knows the way, and we must trust Him – even if we didn’t hear Him say “I will be there”

  • Do we get that?

  • That every time we go out, Jesus lets us go ahead of Him…

  • Trust is not trust until it is put to the test

  • He did not say “I will see you there”, He just sent them “ahead of Him”, implying, “I will meet you there… this is important, because it becomes a matter of faith, to know, that if we go, He will be there – whether we hear it, or not.

  • So, we are then to “Go… make disciples… “ and trust in faith that He will meet us there

In the midst of life, Jesus lets us go ahead… and we can be confident that…

Jesus sees

Jesus comes to us in the waves, but not always...

  • How we imagine

  • Doing what we imagine

  • The way we imagine fact, sometimes, though His appearance may be to us startling, scary, even frightening

Sometimes we challenge Jesus to prove who He is and ask something of Him that will challenge us in a way, stretch us in a way, that we might not realize will place us even deeper into our circumstance. And this may be because we can only see Jesus in the deepest seas… and He knows that… And then, even there, seeing Him, feeling His effect, we look around and see the wind and panic, and lose sight, and now… Sometimes, wanting to be rescued, wanting relief, we move in faith, but maybe, without

  • Wisdom

  • Fully established trust

  • We might get ahead of ourselves…

Jesus calls and beckons, “come to me…”, trust me…

And He lets us come. Does not let us sink, does not give up on us, neither is He angry with us, but He does chasten us as to challenge us to trust Him more and not doubt

Peter did exert a certain amount of faith and trust, enough, to entrust his welfare to Jesus… but

  • Our attention can be drawn away

  • We are easily distracted

  • We are easily shaken

  • We are easily filled with fear and doubt

But, even if we do doubt… Jesus, knows all of this and so, remains, and not just… sees, comes, meets, and calls, but, knowing what we are made of, is patient, tolerant, kind, and there. In a very real way, Jesus is there. Jesus’ devotion to Peter is not affected by Peter’s doubt, but in fact, He responds with kindness (Rom 2). It is not that Jesus is rewarding doubt, but assuring Peter in the midst of doubt. Trust is built over time as Jesus demonstrates His devotion to us, His tending to us in spite of any opposition