- Sermon Notes
Never Lose Sight
Illus. Direct Route.
This morning we are going to continue in Matthew chapter 14:22-33 as the disciples are faced with a violent storm after following Jesus’ orders to cross over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. The storm would not only present a great obstacle in their pursuit of getting to the place Jesus directed them to go but, would take their attention off of His intention and their focus away from seeing Him. Though there was an obstacle of great magnitude, Jesus had an object lesson in the midst of this stormy night…To never lose sight of Him.
Read: Matthew 14:22-33
At this point, it was late in the day (Mt. 14:15), the disciples had just seen a miraculous feeding of 10 to 15,000 people or more with one boys’ lunch
(five small loaves of bread and two small fish). After the miraculous feeding, Jesus gave His disciples the directive to go to the other side of the
Sea of Galilee while He remained alone on a mountainside to pray. Following Jesus’ orders to travel across the Sea of Galilee that night, would ultimately
place them in the middle of a severe storm.Though it was an unexpected storm, at an unexpected time, it would make way for Jesus to move in an unexpected
way as they worked hard to stay on the course and destination He set out for them.
Unexpected storms take many forms in your life and mine as well. They can challenge us to the core: some storms are relational, some financial, some physical, sometimes they are surprising, other times you’ve been expecting it’s rising…Seeing it coming from a distance. Though storms take many forms, there is One whose promises, words, and ways you should never lose sight of.
Just as Jesus had miraculously made a way for the multitude, He would help the disciples in the midst of their storm of great magnitude.
So too, your “storm may be of a different form than anything you have seen before…But I encourage to never lose sight of Jesus.
I. Keep Rowing When the Waves Start Growing
- The crowd was excited after the miracle of multiplied loaves and fish. So much so, that from John 6:15 we understand that the crowd was ready to make Jesus king by force.
- The Jews were looking for someone who would lead a revolt against Rome, who better than the One responsible for this miracle.
- But Jesus got the disciples, as well as the crowd going immediately.
- The term “made,” is defined in the Greek as to: necessitate, constrain, compel by force.
- Jesus sent His disciples onto the Sea of Galilee and ultimately into a storm, as He Himself went to pray.
- The disciples started onto the water sometime before sunset, and when evening came, Jesus was alone, praying on the mountainside.
- From verse 24, we know that by the time evening came, the disciples were already a long distance from land, and their boat was being battered by the waves, with heavy wind against them.
- From John’s account in John 6:19, we know that the disciples had rowed three or four miles against strong wind and in the middle of rough waters.
- From Mark 6:48, we know that this was no laidback row, they were “straining at the oars.”
- And from verse 47, that the boat was in the middle of the lake.
- The fact that they were in the middle of the lake reveals that they had been blown off course.
- In a normal trip across the northern end of the Sea of Galilee, the boat would not have travelled more than a mile or two from shore at any point.
- This storm had carried the boat several miles south, they were in the middle of the lake, with wind that was overwhelming, straining at the oars.
- The word here for straining is defined by torture, pain, toil, torment.
- They continued to row, as the waves began to grow. Their efforts did not seem to be working, as they rowed harder and faster, they were being blown off course and seem headed for disaster.
- During a similar storm, Jesus was with them, they woke Him up and He “rebuked the winds and sea; and it became perfectly calm” (Mt. 8:26).
- But now He was miles away.
- Mark 6:48 also tells us, however, that Jesus saw the disciples as they were straining at the oars, against the wind, fighting for their lives, fighting to stay on course, trying to get to the place they were told to go.
- Jesus was aware. And He is aware when you are straining at the oars and up against the wind as well.
Illus. A little boat cruise.
Psalm 139:1-4, O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
- They kept rowing as the waves started growing. It didn’t seem to be working, as they rowed harder and faster, they were being blown off course and seem headed for disaster.
- Perhaps you are in that place today. “straining at the oars,” no matter how hard you’ve tried it just isn’t working…
- Going against the wind, in the fight of your life, trying to stay on course, trying to get to the place Jesus told you to go, but continually pulled away by the “wind and waves” that consume your days.
- The disciples did not know when or even if Jesus would show up. But they did know where He told them to go.
- And as the wind was blowing away, the disciples were rowing away, with all they had. They had seen Him feed the multitude, and they were faithful to what He told them to do.
- We may not know when, or where, how, or what...But we know Who and have therefore more than enough reason to row to the place He tells us to go, no matter if the waves start to grow.
1 Corinthians 4:1-2, Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
- Watch for Jesus on the water
- The fourth watch was between 3 and 6 in the morning. This means that after starting before sunset, they were straining at the oars for 9 to 12 hours.
- Logic might say to throw in the towel, let the wind blow you wherever it wants to, you’ve been trying and your trying seems to only get you further and further away from where you are wanted to be…
- But the disciples continued fighting hard to get to the place Jesus had directed them to. As they pursued the destination He directed them to, giving all they could to get there, they were in His hands.
Nahum 1:7, The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.!
Psalm 84:11, For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
Romans 8:28, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
- The place of safety is not a favorable circumstance, rather, it is in the pursuit of God’s will.
- He sees you straining, knows the wind is heavy and will likely come to you like He did to the disciples, in an unexpected way, at an unexpected time.
- As Jesus came to the disciples, they did not recognize Him.
- His avenue into their storm was very much different than their expectation…Walking on top of it.
- When they saw Jesus, they initially thought He was a ghost, and then cried out in fear!
- Had they been looking for Jesus, perhaps they would have cried, hallelujah, this is just who we need in the middle of this storm!
- But they weren’t looking for Him and therefore did not recognize Him.
Matthew 14:27, But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
- He gave the exhortation, prior to the revelation. Be of good cheer, then, it is I.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7, Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
- There is not much good cheer in fear, but we know that we can rejoice always, without fear because those in Christ can know He is always near.
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?"
- Fear often wrapped up in “what if questions.”
- Do as Jesus instructed the disciples: “Take courage, be of good cheer, it is I, or literally, I am.”
- You may have heard that “I am,” is the name of God. It means “all that I am I will be to you.”
- Watch for Jesus on the water, be of good cheer, take courage, all that He is, He will be to you!
- Fix your eyes on Him
- Upon knowing it was Jesus, Peter called out asking Jesus to tell him to come.
- Jesus responded to be Peter’s request, “come.”
- Upon Jesus call for Peter to come to Him, he got down out of the boat and walked on water as he headed toward Jesus.
- With his eyes fixed on Jesus and His desire to be with Jesus and seemingly follow His footsteps in the midst of the storm, Peter, full of faith, began walking on water.
- Peter remained above the waves until he took his eyes off of Jesus and instead turned his eyes away from Jesus and focused on the storm.
- As Peter began to sink, he cried out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!”
- Immediately Jesus reached out to Peter and caught him, asking “why did you doubt?”
- Jesus’ question to Peter centered on why Peter allowed the wind and waves to overwhelm his faith….
- The question then in the midst of your storm, the wind you might be facing, the waves that might be crashing, is are you losing sight of Jesus and allowing the wind to overwhelm your faith?
- Is your focus centered on your storm or set on the Savior? Are you looking for Him on the water, do you know that He alone can save when you’re in the midst of the waves?
Mark 4:41, “Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey him!”
Psalm 121:1-2, I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”