Eyes on Christ (Part 4)

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Matthew 14:22-33 NIV

Heavenly Father, please speak to us today. Help us be hearers of the word as well as doers of the word. In Jesus name we pray ~ Amen

There is so much in this passage – so many things to learn and think on. But today our priority is to learn to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Seek Him first. Look past the storms and troubles of this world, look past our fears and anxiety, look past anything trying to distract you, look past even the things that are good gifts from the father – Look at Jesus and don’t be distracted.

Yesterday we discussed the fear the disciples experienced and their inability to recognize Christ. We also addressed verses to help us with our fear and are encouraged to get to know Jesus better – so when He moves over our land we shall recognize Him, even if He is doing a new thing. Today, we should pick up where we left off…
Didn’t I tell you there is A LOT in this passage??? I can do this until Christmas, but let’s see if instead, I finish up today.

There are a few people in the Bible I can really relate to and others who I wish I was more like.  I wish I was more like Elijah, I think I am more like Peter in his early years of following Jesus. Both of them were very zealous and powerful men of God. Elijah did it with grace and maturity and Peter in his early years stumbled all over his own zealousness. I’m sure it was embarrassing for him sometimes.
I wonder if that is why Mark left out the part about Peter walking on water.  Mark was told these things from Peter directly – maybe Peter left it out because he was embarrassed that Jesus said he had little faith when He stepped so far out in faith – so much further than any one the other disciples! None of them wanted to jump overboard in a storm to walk on water. Let’s take a closer look:

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:27-31 NIV

In the defense of the other disciples – there was a storm and their adrenaline was high from doing what needed to be done to stay alive, they were getting tired, then they get freaked out and overwhelmed with fear. Their hearts must have been racing, blood pressure must have been high, and they were still processing what was going on. And Peter is jumping over and trying to walk on water too!  I can imagine, he was half way overboard when he asked for permission and already had his feet wet when Jesus responds.

And Jesus – understanding Peter so well – must have shrugged His shoulders and thought: ok, I guess we are doing this now.

Seriously – Jesus was coming out to them because they were already in trouble thinking he would just calm the sea and rescue then and these guys keep doing their own thing!
Do you remember when “any which way” books were popular? You’d read a chapter and at the end of the chapter you could choose what would happen next. If “a” then you’d turn to that chapter (it would tell you what page) and if “b” you would turn to that chapter. Well, the disciples seems to think it was an “any which way” book some times and things did not always seem to go according to Jesus’s plan. But in His grace He let them have these little side adventures.

And here we have Peter walking on water. Many of us know this one well, he looked at Jesus and was able to walk on water and when he was distracted by the storm, he became fearful and started to sink. 
Obvious lessons here:
1. KEEP YOUR EYES ON JESUS! Not the storm.
2. Fear brings doubt and diminishes faith.

Here we are in the midst of a political storm, a sociological storm, a health care storm, and an economic storm.  Yes our storm is metaphorical, but it is not much different as well grow tired working to do everything we can to stay afloat during these times. we now see and recognize Jesus and He is our savior. And as long as we keep our eyes fixed on him, He will keep us safe.

The Bible says seek ye first, God. We each need to seek him. Seek – we do not have him literally in front of us like Peter did. We must read the Bible, study it, and learn it. We must pray – diligently. We must seek out strong spirit filled leaders. We must seek God in order to keep our eyes fixed on him.

And when we get distracted by the storm and the cares of this world, we let in fear – fear is terribly destructive because if causes doubt and destroys faith.  And so we pray: Lord I believe; help my unbelief.  (Mark 9:24)

And one final note:

“And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.” Matthew 14:32 NIV

In the book of Mark (which is NOT 100% chronological) but earlier in the book than this story – the disciples saw Jesus rebuke the storm so the boat could have easier sailing.

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:39-41 NIV

They saw multiple examples of Jesus calming storms yet each time it was like a brand new thing! It makes me feel less bad that God seems to have to repeat himself to me a few times until I start to listen.
But all this does make you wonder – Remember at the beginning of all this, Jesus went away to pray? And he knew the disciples were in trouble?  He could have just calmed the storm from where He was praying and then kept on praying. But that particular day, He said I am going to do a new thing. They need to know me in the new things as well in the way I have taught them.

God can calm the storms we are in the midst of as well.  I do not believe He is going to this time – I think this time we need to look for Him walking in the storm, let Him on our boat and make it calm for just us. We need to keep our eyes on Him. Look past the storms. Stay focused.

Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

~Grace be with you ~ Love one another ~
~Thank you for reading ~ Be healthy and blessed ~
~ Watch and Pray ~

**If you want to have a relationship with Jesus, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**

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