"A Walk to Remember"- Matthew 14:22-36

Core Practice: Giving Away My Faith - I give away my faith to fulfill God's purposes.

Ephesians 6:19, 20 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

"I give away my faith to fulfill God's purposes" means "I walk it" and "I talk it"–my faith that is.  People who "walk it" but don't explain their way of life are seen as enigmas at best and fanatics at worst. People who "talk it" but don't live up to their words are seen as hypocrites. Neither is very flattering. I give away my faith to fulfill God's purposes means "I tell other people about Jesus" and "I live so that others might see Christ in me."

Introduction:  There is a twofold concern for Jesus in this passage: to be in the presence of His Father, and to be present with His disciples in their time of need.

Scripture: Matthew 14:22-36 22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I.  Do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” 34 And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick 36 and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

The Message of this Passage:  Having dismissed the multitude, Jesus sent the disciples away by boat. Not sure what the disciples were thinking or how they would meet up with Jesus again, but it’s obvious by the text that they didn’t expect what happened next. On their departure He went up on the mountain slope to pray. As evening arrived He was alone with God in prayer, while the disciples in the boat were caught in a storm and driven with the wind. However, Jesus didn’t act at once, but continued in prayer until the predawn hours. He came to them on the 4th watch of the night. Having no clue it was actually Jesus coming to them in their need, the disciples cried out in fear. And it was into that fear that Jesus spoke. It is I; do not be afraid.” Seeing Jesus, Peter, cries out, “Lord, if it is You command me to come to You!” And Jesus said, “Come.” Peter had his answer, and now it was a question of faith! It was Peter’s move next. All that Peter had upon which to act was the word “come.” This is the ultimate test of faith, to move on Jesus’ word alone. And Peter stepped over the side of the boat to go to Jesus. Faith focuses its attention solely on the Master who says “Come.” We know what happens next, but after that Jesus and Peter get back into the boat and the wind ceased and the waves became calm.  Witnessing to the reality of the event that had just happened, the disciples fell before Him in worship, exclaiming, “Truly You are the Son of God”. The confession by the disciples was a step toward the great confession made later by Peter, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt.16:16 kjv).

Answering Interpretive Questions:

  • Define trust? Define fear? How do you see both of these words in the story?

  • What will help you remember to keep your faith focused on Jesus and your eyes off your fears?

  • Jesus “made” his disciples get in the boat. What does it say about Jesus that he led them into the storm?

  • How do you feel knowing that God may lead you into a storm?

  • What are some things that God has taught you during a storm that he couldn’t teach you any other way?

  • What truth do you learn about God in this story?

  • What truth do you learn about yourself after reading this story?

  • What will you DO in response to this scripture? Specifically, how will you apply this passage to your life this week?

  • How is making time to spend with the Father a discipline we ought to make happen in our lives?

In the Bible we find 365 commands from God not to be afraid. These are not empty, wishful- thinking commands; they are backed by the power, character and love of God.

The world sees committed Christians and churches, but very little activity that can only be explained in terms of God’s activity.

Grant SchweisthalMatthew