Foundational verses: Matthew 14: 19-33 KJV
And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to [his] disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children. 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. 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. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth [his] hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
If this is your first e-zine subscription, you have signed up right on time! In fact, I would dare say that this e-zine is setting off something so important, that you need to forward it to everyone on your email list and tell them to opt in. This article is just one of four this month that is going to give you practical steps in "walking on the water".
This instance was one of the few occurrences where all four of the Gospel writers record it. Every one of them records a different aspect that is important for us to examine so that we too can do the seemingly impossible.
In our (very long) foundational text there were quite a few miracles happening within a 24 hour period: thousands of people were fed with only 7 items; Jesus walks on the water; Peter walks on the water; the storms are calmed and the disciples are safe.
There are a few points that I want to bring out from these verses:
Jesus always says what He means and means what He says
If you notice, Jesus told the disciples to get into the boat and go into the other side; not to go and die in the sea. He actually had to "constrain" them to do it. Why would He have to go that far?
These men were fishermen. You see, the Sea of Galilee is only about 4 miles across. When a storm hit the sea, it would come seemingly out of no where over the mountains. They probably knew it was coming and it was going to be bad, so they probably tried to talk Jesus out of it. This storm was so bad that they entered in about sunset and about 2-4am in the morning they had only gone half way! That's about 2 miles in 6-8 hours!
Had they focused on the authority of the Words of Christ, they wouldn't have been so frightened. Earlier His Words fed about 10,000-20,000 people (the Bible records 5,000 men: women and children were not counted in those days). And yet, here these men had a Word from God and focused on what was trying to drown them instead of what Jesus said.
What's our application?
Has God given you some directions that you've tried to talk Him out of? Has He asked You to do the impossible? God will always ask of you something that looks impossible; something that puts you over your head. Otherwise, it's not of God. He will not share His glory with anyone. He wants to work through you. When God works, we call it a miracle! He's given you the keys to miracles: His Word!
Whatever you are going through, God is taking it personally
Jesus was on the mountaintop praying when He saw that the disciples were in trouble. Notice in the verses that Jesus saw that the boat was being tossed with waves, and yet, He did not walk toward them until the 4th watch (I'll explain that in a bit). He then started to walk toward them, but again it wasn't immediately (you'll see why in a moment). In Matthew 25, Jesus tells us what we do to the least of our brothers, we have done to Him. He takes it very personally. Whatever is happening to you, is happening to Him. Why? He is the Head (Who loves you) and we are His body. The disciples failed to recognize Jesus, for they thought He was a ghost and allowed fear to overcome them.
What is our application?
God is always trying to reveal Himself to you. He wants to reveal Himself as Jehovah Rapha (God the Healer); He wants to reveal Himself as Jehovah Jireh (God the Provider); whatever your needs are today He is the Great I AM. Not the Great-I'm-going-to-be. The I AM. I AM what? Anything you need!
The will of God in your life is based on you recognizing and yielding to Who God is. If we focus on the storms instead of Who God is, then we cannot see Him. We cannot draw from that which is not seen.
The "insensitive" answer Jesus gives the disciples
As we read on in Matthew, Jesus' answer to the drowning disciples was to be of good cheer for it was Him. Image that. Let's say this happened tonight. This would be the announcement in some churches:
On Friday some of our brothers were caught on a storm that almost killed them. They were drowning around 6am Saturday when Jesus walked on the water toward them. His first words to the drowning disciples were to cheer up followed by for them not to be afraid; He's there. When He reached the boat, the wind ceased. They are all safe today.
Doesn't that sound terrible? You would think at first that Jesus would have said: "Sorry guys. I'm sorry. I knew there was a storm coming. I should have been there with you. I shouldn't have made you get in the boat earlier. I saw the boat being tossed around and didn't come down until now." No. His answer was for them to cheer up and not to be afraid. He's with them.
What is our application?
There's a reason it's called a sacrifice of praise. In our storms, we need to focus on what God has told us. But we need to stand from what is already deposited in our spirit. You cannot build during a storm or you will drown. Read, study, and deposit the Word of God now so when the storms come you can recognize God in the storm, praise Him that He is with you, and be not afraid. Jesus fully expected the disciples to take care of the circumstance; He had already given them authority by speaking His Word. How much more authority do you have now, being saved and sanctified? You are in a privilege position. Use what God has given you.
Why Peter started to sink
Reading on, we see that Peter asks if he can come to Jesus on the water. What was happening to the boat and the other disciples? That's in another Gospel; another lesson. For now, Peter was the only one willing to get out of the boat.
In the midst of the storm, Peter walked on the water. Right before he reached his goal, he began to sink. Notice that it says he started to sink. He didn't just sink down like a cartoon character off a cliff. He was not even three feet from reaching the goal and he began to sink. Why?
You can have faith and unbelief at the same time
This is something that is not taught in many churches. Most churches tell you have to have big faith. But Jesus tells Peter that he was one of little faith; why did he doubt. You can believe and have doubt at the same time. There are a few other instances in the New Testament where we see faith and doubt at the same time. I will expand on that in a future article.
What was happening?
Even in a clear day, Peter couldn't walk on water. He stepped out and wanted to do what Jesus was doing (sound familiar?). And it was working; for a little while anyway. Then, he began to sink. Have you ever encountered this? You are doing what Jesus did: praying, fasting, helping the poor, healing the sick, and then, all of a sudden, it's not working as well?
Peter began to sink because he took his eyes off Jesus and began to notice the boisterous winds!
The simple secret to walking on the water is this: keep your eyes on Jesus, no matter what the circumstances tell you; no matter what storm you are in; no matter if you are the only one you know that dares to get out of the "boat" (norm) and believe God. Keep your eyes on Him and you will not sink. Unbelief is subtle. It's not going to jump on you and overtake you. Our world is filled with fear, doubt, and unbelief. It's in the television programs, commercials, music, and billboard ads. You are the custodian of your heart. Guard your heart at all costs when you are headed toward that promise you need fulfilled from God in your life.
Keep your eyes on Jesus. Dare to walk on the water. Be a fanatic for Jesus. It's worth the effort.
Till next time,
Raquel Soto is the founder of Lydia's Legacy Ministries, an outreach dedicated to help women (and men) live their life more abundantly, to the full, to it overflows.
For more information, logon to http://www.acts1614.org. This article was taken from our free ezine, Life More Abundant 05/01/07
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