Sermon ~ 9th Sunday after Pentecost

Matthew 14:22-34

At that time, Jesus made the disciples get into 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 into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was many furlongs distant from the land, beaten by the waves; for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately he spoke to them, saying “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.”

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they entered the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret.

I think by far this is one of my most favorite passages of the Gospel. I have many favorites but I think this story hits the nail right on the head with our relationship with Jesus.

If we really think about it, we can see ourselves in this story. We have all had times in our life when life is going to fast. We cannot cope, the waves are crashing over the side and the boat is about to sink. It is at those times that we should cry out to God, Lord save me! I mean we should be calling out to Him at all times, but it is at the bad times in our life that we cry out to him the most.
Jesus was not in the boat with his disciples at the time of the storm so they were afraid. If he had been with them would they have been afraid? I don’t think so.

Jesus comes to them walking on the water during the fourth watch of the night. This is an important fact of the story. The forth watch was just before dawn. They had been dealing with this storm all night long, tossing and crashing and feeling afraid for their very life. And they see him coming. All should be well when we see Jesus coming to help us right?

Well this was not to be the case. Peter questions what he sees and asks that if it is indeed Jesus that he should go out and walk to Him. Jesus said it was Him, but Peter did not believe.

Jesus comes to us all the time and do we ask the question is it really you? Do we recognize Him?

Peter says if it is you, tell me to get out of the boat and I will come to you, so He did, and we all know what happens next. Peter sees the waves, hears the thunder, and starts to sink. He got away from the boat and he began to sink. Jesus rebukes Him and tells him he has little faith, not at that moment, but at the first moment of his doubt before he got out of the boat.

Jesus said it was Him, and he did not believe Him. Peter did not completely recognize Jesus and this was his lack of faith. It has happened to all of us, and will continue to happen to all of us. The answer to every question for us is Jesus and the problems we have come from a lack of faith that He will help us and guide us. We can do it ourselves we do not need any help at all. We have all said this!

We are at peace when Jesus is with us. Let me re phrase that, we are at peace when we Let Jesus dwell with us. Jesus is with us, and if He is present with us then all should be well with us.

In this story Peter shows us how to do it wrong, this is why I love Peter. When Jesus told them it was He they should have calmed down because they should have known that all would be well. We need to believe that Jesus is always present to us and thus we should always strive to be happy with His presence.

I often think of the poem footprints in the sand. We all know the story. Sometimes there are two sets of prints and sometimes there is only one. The poet asks why he was left alone, and the response is those were the times I was carrying you.

Our life is not easy. Some of our lives are harder and have been harder than others. Some of us bear our burdens very quiet and others not so quiet. Being a Christian is not easy, being a Christian in this day and age when being a Christian is almost a crime is certainly not easy. But it’s not supposed to be. Jesus tells us to take up our cross and follow Him. In other words, this is not going to be easy if you choose to follow but the journey will be worth it in the end.

I believe that when we struggle the most in our lives it is because we do not recognize the fact that Jesus is there. Maybe we have a lack of faith, and I can tell you there have been some dark times in my life when I felt all alone. Maybe we over think things or the immensity of our sin gets in the way of thinking how could Jesus dwell with me? And that makes it worse, we fall deeper and deeper into despair and like Peter we start to sink.

But my friends, Jesus is there holding out His hand to help pull us up out of the water and dry us off. Jesus is there to calm the winds and silence the thunder in our lives. Jesus is there to carry us then the load gets to heavy for us to carry on our own. Jesus is there all the time, all we need to do is recognize Him.

Peter would learn this fact the hard way and eventually his faith grew and he became one of the greatest of the Disciples. But this took time it did not happen overnight. Peter, being Peter, would make the same mistakes over and over again. We see it in the Gospels. We will continue as well to make these mistakes. There will be times when we say is it you Lord?

Later on in His life, Peter was transformed and he became a holy person and he recognized the Lord in everything. He went to his death without any fear because he saw the Lord even in his death.

We are in the boat, the boat of our lives. Sometimes things are calm and we like sailing around in the nice weather. Then things start to get dark and the seas begin to rise things get difficult and it becomes hard to see Jesus on the boat with us.

Jesus is aware of all that we need at all times. The big problem for us is we don’t always see this.

Let is pray that our faith be increased and that we recognize Jesus in the boat with us and that all will be well. And pray for one another.

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