Matt 14:22-33 He Came to Jesus 1/12/2003

  • After the Feeding of the 5000 (John 6:15, Matt 14:22-33)

 

 

 

#1. In a Storm (Matt 14:24, 21:9, Isa 63:3, 48:11)

 

 

  • Without Understanding (Matt 14:25, Ex 14:24, Psalm 77:19)

 

 

  • God's Love For Us (Matt 14:26-27, John 10:4)

 

 

 

#2. Walking On Water (Matt 14:28-29, Isa 43:2)

 

 

  • Forgiven (Matt 14:31)

 

 

  • God's Power Over Us (Luke 10:1,17, Matt 14:32)

 

 

 

#3. Worshipping Jesus (Matt 14:33, Luke 6:46, John 20:21)

 

 

  • Serving Him (Psalm 63:8)

 

 

  • In Doubt and Temptation (II Thess 1:3, Rom 10:17)

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 14:22 (2X). We have here the familiar story of Jesus walking on the water of the Sea of Galilee. This event is important enough to be recorded in Matthew, and in Mark, and in John. Also keep in mind that this event comes immediately after the feeding of 5000 men plus women and children.

  • It was After the Feeding of the 5000 (John 6:15, Matt 14:22-33)

That the multitude wanted to make Jesus their earthly king. We find this information in John 6:15,

John 6:15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

Jesus did not want to be their earthly king. He said to Pilate: "My Kingdom is not of this world". His Kingdom is in the hearts, or souls, of all those who become saved. Let us pick up the reading in Matt

Matthew 14:22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.

Matthew 14:23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

Mat 14:24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.

Matthew 14:25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.

Matthew 14:26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.

Matthew 14:27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

Mat 14:28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

Matthew 14:29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

Matthew 14:30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

Matthew 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

Matthew 14:32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

Matthew 14:33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

What is the gist of this story? Why is it so important? Well, we know that Jesus walked on water. That is no surprise, because Jesus is God. But here we read that Peter also walked on water while he came to Jesus. That is a surprise. That is why this sermon is titled "He Came to Jesus" (2X).

#1. In a Storm (Matt 14:24, 21:9, Isa 63:3, 48:11)

Peter came to Jesus in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. We read in Matt 14:24,

Mat 14:24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.

Actually, this is a very strange story. We can understand that Jesus sent the multitudes away, because in making Jesus their king they would have prevented Jesus to pay for our sins. But Jesus also "constrained" the disciples to leave Him. Why would He do that? Did Jesus not know that they were going to be in a terrible storm where they need Him the most? And where did the wind and the waves come from? Was Satan responsible for that? Did Satan take this opportunity that the disciples were without Jesus, to assault them and to drown them in the Sea of Galilee? No! Not at all! Perhaps you remember in Matthew chapter 8 they were in another storm on the Sea of Galilee. At that time Jesus commanded the wind and the waves, and they were completely still. So, who is in control of the wind and the waves? Jesus is master over the wind and the waves. God is master over the wind and the waves. This storm did not happen by accident. God planned it this way for His own purposes. God planned to teach Peter a lesson during this storm. And God planned to teach US a lesson from this historical event. Was there another occasion when the Jews wanted to make Jesus their earthly king? Absolutely yes! During Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, 5 days before His crucifixion, the Jews shouted: "Hosanna to the Son of David". And was there another occasion when Jesus sent the disciples away and He was all alone with God? Absolutely yes! During His entire atonement the Lord Jesus was alone. The Lord Jesus said in Isa 63:3, "I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with Me". Here in Matt 14:23 when Jesus went up alone into a mountain to pray, (and He probably prayed about His coming crucifixion,) while His disciples were in the midst of the Sea, tossed with waves, that was like the time when Jesus went to the cross and the disciples were absolutely terrified. All their hopes were dashed. Their life had been built around Jesus, and now Jesus was no more. It was as if their life had come to an end. But God had designed it this way. It was necessary that Jesus should leave His flock and go to the cross alone. It was necessary because God says in Isa 48:11, "I will not give My glory unto another". The Lord Jesus Christ had to atone for our sins alone, since He could not share that glory with another person in the universe. What was this glory of the cross? There would not be much glory for any one of us if we would be subjected to a painful death by crucifixion. But the Lord Jesus Christ did not just suffer in His body. He suffered in His Spirit the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, because He suffered in our place the penalty that we would have paid if we would have to pay it ourselves. We say this often, but really:

  • Without Understanding (Matt 14:25, Ex 14:24, Psalm 77:19)

We have no idea how much suffering that is, because we do not understand what a spirit is, and we do not understand what Hell is. But God declared in the Bible that we consist of a body and a soul, also called a spirit. When we came into the world we were born as enemies of God. We were sinners in body and in soul, and we were in bondage to Sin and to Satan. We all deserved to be treated as enemies of God and be plunged into Hell forever, body and soul. But God had mercy on us and God decided to save us from our sins. It meant that Christ would take the guilt of those sins and pay in our place the penalty that had to be paid to satisfy the righteousness of God. Then, at some point in our lifetime, when God gives us a new soul, God also pardons us for those sins because they have already been paid. Even after we were saved in our soul we still live in a body that is inclined to sin. That is why we will never be perfect in this lifetime. But Christ also paid for our future sins. Remember, about 2000 years ago when Christ paid for our sins, they were all future sins.

We read that the Lord Jesus loved His disciples dearly. We read in Matt 14:25,

Matthew 14:25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.

The fourth watch of the night is from about 3 O'clock till about 6 O'clock in the morning. If Jesus loved them that much, why did He wait until the fourth watch of the night? Why did Jesus let the disciples struggle for at least 9 to 12 hours over a distance of at most 5 miles? The key to the answer is in the fourth watch. It was probably in the fourth watch that Christ rose from the grave, because the women went to the tomb when it was still dark. Also, it was in the morning watch that the Lord looked to care for Israel in the Red Sea. About 1500 years earlier the children of Israel escaped out of Egypt. But they were trapped between the Egyptian army on the West and the Red Sea on the East. And then God demonstrated a stupendous picture of salvation. God opened a way through the water of the Red Sea. The children of Israel walked through the midst of the Red Sea on dry ground, the sea being a wall of water on their right hand and on their left. But the Egyptians pursued after them. The Israelites as well as the Egyptians were without understanding. And then we read in Ex 14:24,

Exodus 14:24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,

You know the end of this story. The Egyptian army drowned in the Red Sea. Not one of them escaped. God recalls this event in Psalm 77:19, where we read,

Psalm 77:19 Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.

Here, in this verse, we see God's works in the Red Sea, as well as Christ walking on the Sea of Galilee. Both events in the morning watch are pointing to Christ's Atonement where all God's Elect are rescued from Hell, and all the Reprobate are left in their sins and will all be thrown into Hell. Here we see God's love for His disciples and:

  • God's Love For Us (Matt 14:26-27, John 10:4)

Look first at God's love for these disciples. They did not ask Christ to come. They did not expect Him at all. Perhaps they thought that this was the end of their life. But then we read in Matt 14:26,

Matthew 14:26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.

Matthew 14:27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying: Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

Why did He create this storm for them in the first place? He did that to make them aware of the great need they had for Christ. Then out of His love for them the Lord Jesus Christ came to them to comfort them. He made them aware that they were a very fearful group of disciples. But when He called to them they immediately recognized His voice. They knew His voice as His sheep. Jesus said that He was the Good Shepherd. His sheep will hear His voice. We are reminded of His words in J 10

John 10:4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

Then He said: "Be not afraid". In other words, "Be not afraid of me now that you know it is I. I am not going to hurt you". But we also understand from His words, "Be not afraid of the wind and the waves. They may be noisy and threatening, but as long as I am with you, you have nothing to fear".

Look at God's love for us. Can we see ourselves in this boat with His disciples? If we find within ourselves the faith to believe all that God has said in the Bible, and we find within ourselves a fervent desire to be obedient to God's Word, then we know that we belong to the Elect of God. Then we know that Christ loves us so much that He was willing to suffer for us the equivalent of an eternity in Hell on the cross. But He did not only purchase our souls. He also purchased the whole world, in order that He can control everything around us, so that we will be preserved forever. Therefore Christ also gave us the means to go through this life victoriously. He has the power to help us. This is the basis on which we have to grow in our faith. God's love for us and God's power for us are at our disposal.

Now let us look at ourselves. If we really do not feel loved at all in this life, we cannot do much of anything. We may have the feeling that nobody would love us if they really knew us. Is that not the reason why most of us do not open up to other people? But God knows all about us. How can God love us if He really knows us inside out? He knows our thoughts and our emotions, and He even knows the intents of our heart about matters that we have not even thought about. We are full of sin.

That is where the human heart is apart from Christ. We need someone to love us unconditionally. That person is the Lord Jesus Christ. He loves us unconditionally. That is the central truth of the Bible. Do we believe that? Do we believe that the power of God has taken hold on the circumstances in our life, and He is the one who leads us in these stormy situations? What is His purpose in that? Most people like to have a life that is like a smooth canal, no ripples in the water, no bends or curves in it, straight as an arrow. Most of us would like a marriage like that, totally peaceful and predictable. Then we find out that our life is not all like a straight canal. It is more like a wild river with all kinds of surprises like curves and rapids and waterfalls and dunkings. We want a straight canal and what we get is a wild river, or we get this storm on the Sea of Galilee. Then we become fearful, like Peter, because we cannot control it. Then we say in our heads: "I believe, God is sovereign, God is king. But, Lord, don't give me a wild river, give me a canal". And then we fill up with fears. But actually, this was God's plan to show us that we can be:

#2. Walking On Water (Matt 14:28-29, Isa 43:2). Let us read verses 28 and 29,

Mat 14:28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

Matthew 14:29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

We can see here why God created this storm on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples were in training. This storm taught them who Jesus was and what He could do for them. This storm taught them true humility, and this storm prepared them for future events when they would have to stand up for Jesus.

This was an incredible thing that Jesus allowed Peter to walk on water. But it showed Peter and all of us that God's love for us and God's power for us are at our disposal. We see an example of this walking on water by Peter displayed 50 days after Jesus' resurrection. On the day of Pentecost Peter and the other disciples became so brave that they preached fearlessly about the resurrected Christ, and about 3000 souls became saved on that day. God preserved their lives through the persecution that raged through Jerusalem, and God preserved their lives through the siege of Jerusalem and its subsequent destruction in 70 AD. God's love and power was with them, because this was God's plan.

Now, how does that apply to us? God says to us what He says in Isa 43:2. Just listen as I read:

Isaiah 43:2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (2X)

Does this mean that all Christians will not suffer any physical harm? No! It does not mean that at all! There have been thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of Christians who have been tortured and killed for their faithfulness to Christ all throughout time. But God does not lie! Therefore, Isa 43:2 must not be interpreted physically, but it must apply spiritually. It means that if anyone of us has become saved, has become a child of God, then our soul will be preserved no matter how tough the outward circumstances may appear. Spiritually we too can walk on water because the love of God and the power of God are at our disposal. All of this, of course, is only true if we have been:

  • Forgiven (Matt 14:31)

Peter was forgiven almost immediately. Peter became afraid of the wind and the waves. Was that a sin? Of course that was a sin. If Christ was the one who purchased us and now He owns us, how can we doubt for a moment that He will let us be lost? Such moments of doubt are sinful. But we read

Matthew 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

What was the result of Peter's doubting? When his faith wavered, he began to sink. It was by God's grace that he was allowed to walk on water, and it was by God's grace that he had time enough to cry, "Lord, save me". Christ rebuked Peter immediately. God hates our sin with a passion. Our sins are terrible in His sight. God must punish every sin committed in this universe. And every sin will be punished either on the cross or in Hell. But so great is the mercy of God, so great is the power of the cross, that God is able to declare all the sufferings of Christ as a full satisfaction for all my sins, and for all your sins and for all the sins of every saint who has ever lived on this earth. God gave His Son to suffer and die on a cross to take away the guilt of our sins, to blot them out so that He will never see those sins again. It is only if we have been forgiven that we have the love of God and the power of God at our disposal. It is only if we have been forgiven that we will have an urgent desire to serve Christ, and to use that power like Peter was walking on water. Why did Peter want to come to Jesus? Firstly, it was Peter's affection for Jesus that he wanted to be where Jesus was. Secondly, Peter would not come to Christ without a command from Christ to do so. But when Jesus said, Come, then Peter boldly stepped out of the boat and he came to Jesus. Thirdly, this is an example of Peter's faith that he stepped out on the water when Jesus told him to do so. Peter deliberately stepped out from the safety of the ship, and he stepped into the jaws of death, because this was preparing him for the task he was called to do after Pentecost. And is this not an example to each one of us? Who has been assigned the task to step out into the world to proclaim the Gospel to the jaws of death? Only the Pastor? No! Since Pentecost every saint, every true believer, has been assigned this task of going into all the world and proclaim the Gospel. And we can be assured that:

  • God's Power Will Be Over Us (Luke 10:1,17, Matt 14:32)

Jesus gave an example of it. Let me read to you from the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 10:1,

Luke 10:1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.

Who were these seventy? Were these the 12 Apostles plus 58 others? No! The Bible says, "other seventy", which means other than the twelve Apostles. The twelve were sent out in Luke chapter 9. But in Luke chapter 10 we read that Jesus sent out "other seventy". These other seventy were never again mentioned in the Bible. They were the unknown workers for Jesus. Let us hear what results they had after having the love of God and the power of God at their disposal. We read in Luke 10:17,

Luke 10:17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.

In other words, the prince of the power of the air, Satan, the one who held the whole world in bondage to sin, was unable to stop these seventy from casting out demons from people possessed by them. Even before the cross Satan was subject to Christ. These 70 who were sent out represented us, all the saints in the NT age. And what does it mean to cast out demons? No one is really casting out demons today. Only in charismatic churches are there imposters who claim that they can cast out demons. But the casting out of demons by Jesus and His disciples were all pictures of salvation. When we bring the Gospel to an unsaved person, and that person becomes saved, then by the power of God a demon has been cast out of that person, because that person is no longer in bondage to the Devil. It is as if we are exercising the power of God, but ultimately it is God who does the saving, and God decides who is going to be saved and who will not be saved. On the cross the Lord Jesus Christ paid for the sins of those whom God intended to save, the Elect, and those whom God did not intend to save, the Reprobate, Christ passed them by. Their number is fixed, because we need to remember that Christ did that about 2000 years ago. To that list of saved ones, none can be added, and none can be taken away, because Christ died for sins only once, and His sacrifice must never be repeated. Therefore, if God in all His wisdom decided who will not be saved, we should not be so foolish to insist that Christ must save this one and that one because we desire it to be so. To all our pleading we must add: "Not my will, but Thy will be done". But look at the power of God displayed here for us.

Matthew 14:32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

When Peter and the Lord Jesus had come into the ship, He commanded the wind and the waves for the second time, and they ceased. What was the result? They worshipped Jesus. Who were:

#3. Worshipping Jesus? (Matt 14:33, Luke 6:46, John 20:21).

Peter and the other disciples came to Jesus worshipping Jesus. We read in verse 33,

Matthew 14:33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

What does it mean to worship Jesus, or what does it mean to worship God? Can we discern between true worship and false worship? Yes, there is such a thing as false worship. For example, the Lord Jesus Christ said in Luke 6:46, "Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say"? What did Jesus give us as our primary task here on this earth? After His resurrection, when the time for His stay on earth was short, the Lord Jesus said to His disciples in John 20:21, "As My Father hath sent Me, so send I you". Was this a commandment only to the disciples? Absolutely not! This commandment is given to all the NT saints. Do we want to worship Jesus? Then we must obey His commandments. Worshipping Jesus, and believing on Jesus, and loving Jesus, and obeying His commandments are all facets of the same diamond. We come here on Sundays to worship Him, but do we also have to love Him? Of course! We cannot worship Him unless we love Him. The Lord Jesus said: "If you love Me, keep My commandments". What then shall we do with the commandment "As My Father hath sent Me, so send I you"? This is what we must do: We must proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified to all the world. That is why our worship service on Sundays is centered around the pulpit on which is the Bible. That is why the proclamation of the Gospel is the central message in our Psalms and Hymns, and in the reading of the Law, and in our prayers, and in the sermon, and in the service of the sacraments. That is why the Bible is at the center of our thoughts and our meditations. Do we realize that we must worship the Lord Jesus Christ like His disciples did? They worshipped Him by believing on Him, and by loving Him, and by obeying Him, and by serving Him. They were absolutely:

  • Serving Him (Psalm 63:8)

What does it mean to serve Him? How do we serve the Lord Jesus? Peter came to Jesus serving

Him. What Peter did is what is written in Psalm 63:8,

Psalms 63:8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me (2X).

Peter walked on water. Peter served Christ by being this splendid example for us that we too can walk on water, figuratively speaking, and we too can sink if our faith fails. How do we serve Christ? We serve Him by serving others and loving others. In other words, we serve Him in a ministry. We do not have to care for ourselves. Christ does that already, and He does that better than we can. But we can be of service to others by being the hands, and feet, and mouth of Jesus. Can we do that? We do not have an official degree for being in the ministry, but we have our adoption papers. They are in the Bible. There we find the most wonderful doctrine of Scripture: Our Adoption by God as His children. God has taken us from all the nations, and tribes, and tongues, and peoples of the world; God has taken us, who were the strangers, and the orphans, and the widows, and the enemies of God, and He has made us His own dear sons, and He did that all by His grace, totally free of charge. Now, if that is so, then we must trust the power and the plan of God as He works out our ministry, our purpose in this world. Then we begin to see that we are part of a Kingdom that is moving, and where our life matters, and we want it to count. No matter what we do, it does matter for the business of the Kingdom of Christ. We can be God's servants. None of us is too small for that.

Do we now have the courage, like Peter, to step out in faith and say, "What ministry does God have for me?" What does He want me to do? You can trust that God will give you a ministry. You can move, and you can put your foot out there on the water, and you will see that you can walk on water, spiritually speaking. And even if you sink once in a while, your witness will be altogether God glorifying. How do we get this amount of trust? How do we nourish and grow this kind of trust? Well, it takes a commitment that we believe God at His word, and that we should not worry about it, so that we can grow spiritually, and we can grow in this ministry so that after a while we can see that kind of growth in us. But in the end we must say that it was all a gift from God to keep us afloat in this ministry. Just like Peter walked on water by the power of the Lord Jesus, so when we have received such a ministry, we must say, "By the grace of God I am what I am".

Personally, ten years ago I myself would not have dreamed that I would be a Pastor and that our little church would be known unto the ends of the earth, even in Irkutsk, Siberia.

Let us now return to Peter and His doubting, which caused him to sink. Let us not be too hard on Peter, because we would not do much better. If we would be in Peter's place, we would tremble:

  • In Doubt and Temptation (II Thess 1:3, Rom 10:17)

Peter was afraid and he began to sink. Then he cried out, "Lord, save me". When fears overtake us, where do we focus on? Our focus is on our own weakness, rather than the strength the Lord gives us. The Lord Jesus allowed Peter to sink, because he was a disciple in training. We too are disciples in training, and hopefully we train our kids where our fears and our faith come from.

The Lord Jesus said to Peter in verse 31, and He is saying that also to all of us, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" Did Jesus expect Peter to have a stronger faith? How did we get faith to begin with? God gives it to us. Can we work on our faith so that it gets bigger and stronger? Since that faith is a gift from God, is it possible that WE take a gift from God and make it grow bigger and better? Does the Word of God say that we can do that? Please listen to II Thess 1:3,

2 Thessalonians 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly. (2X).

Yes, our faith may grow exceedingly, but that is up to God. We have to thank God for that. This growth is also a gift from God. Do we have an active part in this growth? Yes, we do. Rom 10:17 says, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God". It is through the reading of the Scriptures that we strengthen our faith. And it is God who gives us the desire to read and meditate on the Word of God. What about our fears in a ministry that we undertake?

When the Word of God said to the disciples, "Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid", does that not mean that we overcome our fears with the Word of God? By reading more and more in the Bible, we strengthen our faith, and this is how we get rid of our fears.

The hymn we are going to sing reflects that we are feeble and frail. We are breakable human beings, and if some of us seem to be towers of strength, it is only because we lean on Jesus. I will read to you all three stanzas of this hymn # 137, and then I will read the refrain.

 

In Doubt and temptation I rest, Lord, in Thee; My hand is in Thy hand, Thou carest for me;

My soul with Thy counsel through life Thou wilt guide, And afterward make me in glory abide.

In glory Thou only my portion shalt be, On earth for none other I long but for Thee;

My flesh and heart falter but God is my stay, The strength of my spirit, my portion for aye.

All they that forsake Thee must perish and die, But near to my Savior most blessed am I;

I make Thee my refuge, my Lord and my God; Thy grace and Thy glory I publish abroad.

And then the refrain:

My God, I will extol Thee and ever bless Thy Name;

Each day will I give thanks to Thee and all Thy praise proclaim.

 

Amen. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.