Sermon -02-03-2008 - We Need Jesus
NORTHEAST HOUSTON COMMUNITY CHURCH
Sermon – We Need Jesus
Scripture: Matt 14:22-33
This next series of events take place just after Jesus has fed the multitude of five-thousand.
22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.
“Immediately” indicating a sense of urgency. Jesus “made” indicating a level of direction. Some translating says “Jesus insisted”. Perhaps the disciples questioned his motives. There are times we just have to do what Jesus says and not question Him. If we are sure Jesus said it that is all we need to know. That is where the trust factor comes in.
Jesus sent the multitudes away and He then went up on the mountain by himself to pray. I think there is an interesting reason for this urgency. Jesus once again delayed His own personal plan for the sake of the multitudes in need.
As soon as Jesus was alone He went up on a mountain alone to pray. I wondered why He went up the mountain and why such and urgency and why alone.
I believe the answer is in Verse 13.
Jesus has just heard the news that John the Baptist, His cousin and forerunner of the Gospel, had just been beheaded.
Matt 14:13 13 When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. NKJV
It is believed that Jesus departed out of the area of Herod in case Herod would seek to kill Him. I am not so sure about that because Jesus knew everything but He would not tempt God by putting Himself in unnecessary danger either.
But, I believe that Jesus was grieved at the news and He did what we should do and that is when trouble comes into our lives we should seek to get closer to God not run from God. Often times when in deep sorrow I only want to be in the presence of God. We need God for our comfort and our strength in time of trouble.
Even though He spent time ministering to others He soon went to pray to the father. He went up the mountain to be assured that He would be alone. That is such a precious privilege we have and we totally underutilize it. Look at it as having a private meeting with the awesome God.
He must have spent a long time there because the scripture says that evening came.
23 b Now when evening came, He was alone there.
Jesus gave God some unhurried time. That is a good thing we all should practice as opposed to having only short and infrequent conversations consisting of us doing the talking but not taking time to listen.
24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea,* tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
This Sea of Galilee is known for its quick forming storms because of it location. Even today the winds can sweep down unexpectedly and form stormy seas.
25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear.
The fourth watch is about 3 o’clock in the morning and that is when they saw a figure walking on the sea. The disciples became afraid. Every time the disciples became afraid their fears were calmed when Jesus came on the scene. Jesus was near to them in the storm but they did not recognize Him.
Sometimes in our storms of life Jesus is near but we don’t see him or recognize him. For those that are His He is always near even when we do not see him. Faith is the evidence of things unseen. That means even if we don’t “see” Jesus our faith should comfort us to know that He is near
For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."* NKJV
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid."
Jesus knows all about our struggles and our fears. He tells them to be of good cheer and do not be afraid.
The phrase “Be of good cheer” is used 8 times by Jesus. Each time it was in connection with someone in some sort of tribulation or need.
· Matt 9:2 A paralytic lying on a bed.
· Matt 9:20 a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years
· Matt 14: 27 Disciples in the boat
· Mark 10:49 the blind man outside of Jericho.
· Acts 23:11 The Apostle Paul when a contract was out to kill him.
· And to all His disciples then and for now.
· John 16:33 33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. NKJV
It is not easy while in the storm to let go and let God, but that is the only way your faith will grow in God and in Christ.
28 And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."
Here again is our friend Peter. Peter is exposing himself to ridicule. Peter says “Lord, if it is you” Didn’t Jesus just say that it was He. Peter is seen here to have a moment of doubt. Shame on Peter huh? Not really.
How many times must Jesus prove himself and His faithfulness to us?
29 So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.
Jesus said come and Peter went. The other disciples stayed in the boat. Where would you be if you were there? When I come to this passage I remember what my friend Pastor Riley said. “There are faith walkers and boat riders.” Peter stepped out on the little faith he had and experienced a miracle.
There are miracles waiting for us all if we use the faith we have, even if it is only the size of a mustard seed.
“First, be sure that it is of God then go ahead.
30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous,* he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"
Peter had a little faith and he acted on that faith. The big mistake Peter made was that he took his eyes off of Jesus.
We make the same mistake. God can bless us miraculously and life begins to get under control and going fine. We see ourselves surviving the storm but because of this we take our eyes off of Jesus and look around in the physical not the spiritual and then begin to sink. We do so by disobeying Christ’s commands, when we give things of the world a higher priority than the things of God. We think all is well but the storm is still raging to drown us, but it is Christ that keeps us if we keep our hearts, minds and eyes on Him.
While Peters eye were on Jesus He was functioning as if in a peaceful environment. But, once he began to make his own assessments of the situation, doubt began to attack what little faith he had.
Isa 26:3 3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. NKJV
31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
In times like these we need Jesus. Jesus knows all about us and yet He is willing to save us. Jesus knew that Peter had only a little faith.
It is not the faith we have in our faith but the faith we have in Jesus that matters.
The opposite of faith is doubt. Doubt diminishes faith and faith destroys doubt. Jesus knew what happened and asks Him, “why did you doubt.”
There have been times in my life that will cause Jesus to ask me that same question. Like Peter sometimes we have to just step out on faith in the words of God. Jesus gave him the words, Jesus has also given us the words.
32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus did not calm the sea even before He Himself began to walk on it?
Remember back in chapter 8.
Matt 8:26 26 He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. NIV
Jesus calmed the sea then but not now. In some ways this is a repeated lesson for the disciples.
Our passage today is the second one dealing with a storm at sea. The first one in Matt 8 ended with the question asked by Jesus to the disciples
Matt 8:26 “… O you of little faith?"
And another question asked by the disciples.
Matt 8:27 "Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" NKJV
Now with the repeating of the lesson look at what they are now saying,
33 Then those who were in the boat came and* worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God."
Sometimes God has to keep putting us through the same lesson before we get it.
How many storms does Jesus have to bring us through before we truly worship and obey Him as the Son of God?
Storms are necessary in the world’s weather pattern. Hurricanes are necessary to aid in the world’s climates. Storms act as a cleansing and leveling agent. Storms I our lives do much the same. The can make us better.
We build strong houses and ships to withstand the storms. We must also build strong lives and a strong faith so that we can weather the storms. Faith is like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets.
Storms (trouble/tribulation) cause us to step back and reevaluate our situations and ourselves. Tribulations come to make us strong.
The lesson we must learn that when we are with Jesus let the storm winds blow. Jesus can calm the storms or take us safely through. Although we are in a storm we are safe in the presence of Jesus. In the storms of life we need Jesus.
I know I need Jesus every day of my life and I let Him know it. I know He is there but I still invite Him to be with me.
35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side."
36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him.
37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.
38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?"
39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?"
41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!" NKJV
So you would know
Peace be still
I need thee
to paraphrase Ellen Wheeler Wilcox’s “The Winds of Fate”:
One ship sails east
One ship sails west
Regardless of how the winds blow.
It is the set of the sail
And not the gale
That determines the way we go.
Light Shining Out of Darkness
God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works his sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.