- Dark mornings (v. 25). Verse 25 says that it was the "fourth watch of the night." I did a bit of research, and found that this means it was about 3-6 in the morning. Which brought the classic quote that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning to mind. But….but wait….it’s beyond dark at 3 in the morning. Yet, the darkness that you see at 3 a.m. does not change the fact that a new day is underway. Though it may appear to be dark, the morning has come, so joy is here…in the dark. Do you have joy….in the dark? Notice that I didn’t ask you if you felt it, because sometimes, we have things that we don’t recognize and don’t “feel”. I don’t believe that joy is a feeling, it’s a mindset. It’s a decision to choose hope and God's best. So despite the darkness, and despite the surrounding storm at 3 a.m., there’s joy here. So, one more time: do you have joy in the dark? Can you praise God….at the “3 a.m.” points in your life because though it may not look like morning, you recognize that your joy has arrived? While y’all ponder on that, I’m going to “schlide” to the next point (once again…class lol).
- First Impressions (v. 26). When Jesus appears to the disciples, they get scared, and literally say “it’s a ghost!” They didn’t expect it to be Jesus….in the middle of the night…in the middle of a storm…coming to say hi. He’d already sent them to their next destination, and stayed back to pray. Maybe they figured that it couldn’t have been Jesus, because they thought that if He hadn’t come yet, He’s not coming with us. Don’t we do that? Don’t we put our own deadlines, and boxes on who God is, and what all He can do? Then, when He refuses to be our genie, we just assume that He’s not going to move on our behalf at all. We claim that “delayed does not mean denied” in church, but those delays weigh on us a bit when we’re out on our boats by ourselves. Those delays surely seem like denials when we aren’t just dealing with a few sprinkles, but total tsunamis in our lives. Yet, even in those moments, Jesus will fight the storm to get to us, show us what He’s placed inside of us, and calm the storm (by simply stepping into our space). I find it very interesting that the disciples expected the figure that they saw to be a ghost, a figment of the past, before they expected it to be the Son of Man that they had seen hours before the storm. Yooooooo!!! We do that TOOOOO! How many times have you expected something to fail simply because it didn’t work out well before, despite God encouraging you to try it one more time? How many times have you expected history to repeat itself more than you expected the all powerful God to do something different in the future? How…many…times? We often criticize these disciples for not immediately knowing that Jesus was in the storm, and not recognizing His face, but in doing such, we criticize ourselves. The day that you trust God to do something new, and walk in it, is the day that He will truly blow your mind. We’ve got to do away with the limits that we attempt to place on a limitless God. If He did it before, He can do it again; but, if He did it before, He can also improve it for your good.
- Testing the Teacher (v. 28). The one thing I’ve always like about Peter is the fact that he’s so…normal (lol). I feel like everybody can relate to Peter in some way. People that are protectors and those that like to fight can probably relate to him cutting off the ear of the soldier that tried to take Jesus to His crucifixion. People that want to be loyal, but struggle under pressure (like being killed for saying you know somebody that doesn’t have the best public opinion) can probably relate to him denying Jesus three times while He was on the cross. People like me, who trust God to the best of their abilities….but always need confirmation, can relate to the side of Peter that we see in verse 28. At this point, Jesus has announced that He’s the figure that the disciples see, and here’s good ol Peter, testing the voice to see if He can trust it. He asks Jesus to command him to come out to where Jesus is. It’s a classic “so I know it’s real” move, but it tells us quite about Peter’s faith, and what He believes Jesus can do. By submitting this request, Peter shows everybody that he believes that Jesus can sustain him out there in the midst of the storm, because as we will later see, the man cannot swim in a storm. Peter may have had a boundary set for the powers of Jesus, but he was willing to expand those boundaries…in the middle of a storm. It also shows us that Peter was willing to ‘do the most’…just to get to Jesus. What are you willing to do to get to Jesus? Are you willing to step outside of your little boat? Are you willing to step beyond your lovely comfort zone? Are you willing to go through what appears to be failure…for His glory? Peter eventually fell, but from the account I see, he was the only one that tried. I don’t know about you, but I would rather try & fail than to sit in the boat wondering what could’ve happened if I dared to walk on water. (2 more..stick w/ me)
- 2 Kings; 1 Throne (v. 29). Faith sustained Peter on the water, which could be why Jesus said he didn’t have much of it, because Peter looked down, and his common sense kicked in….and he almost died because of it. Let’s all realize that Peter wasn’t walking on the pond that you see at your neighborhood park on a sunny day. While he was walking, the waves were beating against his legs…but he didn’t fall because of the force of the waves. The wind was blowing in various directions around him…but he didn’t fall because of the wind. It’s dark, so Peter cannot see Jesus, he just knows to follow the voice that told him to step outside of what He knew. What was abusing the boat and throwing it around in the sea didn’t affect Peter at all…until he let go of his faith. None of Peter's external circumstances caused him to fall; it was his internal circumstances that almost killed him. It wasn’t until Peter looked down, and realized that there’s no earthly way that he could (or should) be walking on water that he began to sink. I’ve learned that true faith must defy ‘common sense’. Faith can’t always consider the failures of the past, because it believes that you serve a God that holds your future. Whatever you do, and whatever you’re going through, don’t let fear take faith’s throne. Only one of them can reign over your mind at a time, and you’ve got to decide who’s “king” today. Now, Jesus came and saved Peter once he began to sink. I believe that shows us that doubt can’t stop Jesus from saving you, but it can distort your recognition that He’s had you the entire time. Peter saw that the wind was out of control, and his focus shifted from the Savior to the storm. Then, once the storm almost killed him, he shifts back to the Savior, and is saved. Stay focused on the Savior! Don’t let the storm convince you that God brought you into the middle of the sea to watch you drown. You’ve been through enough to kill you. The fact that you’re still here, regardless of the storm that may surround you, is proof that God has not done all that He needs to do through you.
- Watching You Walk (v. 33). So by the time we get to verse 33, Peter has been bold, terrified, and rescued. The other disciples have seen him walk on water, drown, and get saved from his very death. Because they’ve seen God’s power at work in Peter’s life, they recognize that Jesus truly is the Son of God, and began to worship Him for themselves. Simply because they observed the miracle, and because they watched Peter suffer and triumph under God’s grace, they drew closer to Jesus. This tells me that people can actually grow closer to God as a result of simply watching you. People can learn about faith, salvation, and strength, through your life. They can learn about who God is, what He can do, and what it means to be a follower of Christ through you. You don’t need a pulpit to be a witness of God’s power. You don’t need a mic to share your story. You only need to be willing to move when God says move, and to say what He wants you to say when He wants you to say it. By watching you, or interacting with you, people can see the God in a personal way, but only if you actually depend on Him when you start to sink. If people were to look at your life today, would they know that God exists at all? Would they know that He’s important to you? If so, great! I would encourage you to do all that you can to not just live the life, but to help others do the same. If not, give yourself some grace. We’ve all got some growing to do. The important thing is that people see God in your growth. Keep pushing, keep pressing, and keep walking on water. Somebody's watching you, and they need to know that God is real, that He can walk on water, and that He can saved them from their storms.
Background music: Walk on Water - Mali Music (added a live version on the right because...why not lol)
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