Jesus Saves the Sinker
I love the stories of Jesus’ early ministry. Hearing that John the Baptist was dead, Jesus sought to be alone for a while. But the crowds were looking for Him and soon discovered where He had gone. Feeling compassion for their wants and needs, Jesus healed and comforted the multitude. When the hour grew late and the people showed no sign of returning to their homes, the disciples urged Jesus to send them away so that they might get something to eat. To their surprise and consternation, Jesus told the disciples to feed the people.
The disciples informed Jesus that they did not even have enough to feed themselves. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish they had, blessed it, and had His disciples pass it out to the crowd. When all was said and done, 10 to 20 thousand people were fed with leftovers sufficient to feed Jesus and the disciples for another day or two. Immediately following supper, Jesus sent the disciples across the sea and went Himself to a private prayer retreat.
Shortly after setting sail, the winds became contrary and the disciples found themselves in the midst of stormy weather. Sometime after three in the morning, Jesus approached the boat and nearly scared the disciples to death. They believed Him to be a ghost and were relieved when He told them that they had nothing to fear. Peter requested and received permission to join Jesus on the water’s surface. He had not walked very far before his rational mind began reminding him that what he was doing was impossible. Peter first began to doubt and then began to sink. He would have drowned but for Jesus’ rescue.
After the impossible things they had seen that day, it is a wonder that anything should shake their faith. It just goes to show, that doubts can overtake us at any point in our Christian walk. Some assume that doubt is a necessary experience. I do not happen to agree. Not every experience of a Christian is a Christian experience. In fact, there have been moments of doubt I feel quite certain I could have done without.
In the text there are many messages of hope for doubters. The greatest of these is seen in the outstretched hand of Jesus! If we examine our doubts carefully, they will either prove themselves legitimate or will disappear. Do not flee from your doubts, face them!
I. Why We Doubt?
A. False reasoning
1. You have caught God in a lie – He has failed to keep His promises?
2. You find yourself in a situation God is unable to handle?
3. God has changed?
B. Self doubt is legitimate
1. Guilt over unforgiven sins
2. We suffer from comparison with more faithful believers
3. Your faith was not up to the test
4. You are depressed or burned out
5. You were overly self confident
6. You allowed your perspective to become limited
Like Peter, you took your eyes off the Lord!
II. Continued Doubt is Both Foolish and Sinful
A. Most doubts rise from emotion rather than prayerful thought
1. All doubts can be destroyed in an instant
2. Wasted time is never recovered
B. Doubt is inconsistent with experience
1. How real is your relationship with God?
2. Can it bear testing?
C. Doubts often arise from haste or impatience
1. We want our blessing immediately
2. Failing to receive the answer we want we assume no answer at all
D. Doubts cause us to suffer without cause
1. Our faith will be tested according to God’s plan – we have not enough reserve to face tests of our own making
It is foolish to borrow trouble