In Isolation Thoughts 2

Hymn: Praise my soul the King of Heaven

Bible Reading: Matgthew 14.20-36

Fear gives way to Faith

There are two incidents in the NT of Jesus dealing with the disciples on the Lake of Galilee, one was in a storm and the other is this incident in Matthew 14. There were other times when incidents happened around the lakeside when Jesus was teaching, but I want to look at this one which is seen as a miracle. We read the verses preceding the incident to put it into a context. Jesus had been teaching by the lake, crowds had come out to listen and they were so keen to hear what Jesus had to say that time was totally forgotten. The day was drawing to a close, darkness was falling and Jesus told the disciples to feed the crowd. They had no resources, but a boy offered his meal, five loave and two fishes, Jesus took them, blessed them and fed the whole crowd. We are told there were at least 5000 men plus women and children, so it could be 12-15,000 and there were twelve baskets left over. The people then went home satisfied, they had heard Jesus teach, they had been fed and they would come back. Jesus was dismissing them and he told the disciples to start out across the lake, from the north west to the eastern side, and he would join them later. Jesus wanted some quiet time after the stress and work of the day, so He went up on the mountainside to pray alone.

 

Here is a lesson for us, there are times when we need to be alone, especially after a busy day, we are tired and worn out, we need those moments when we can be refreshed. Jesus needed it, so do we. Do we try and find a time when we can be alone, let our minds rest and think over the day? Is that a moment for us to pray?

We re-join the Disciples; they were sailing or rowing across the Lake of Galilee. Now how big is the lake? If you walk around it, it is 33 miles, it is 13 miles long and at its widest point, 8 miles across, it covers an area of 64 square miles and at its deepest point is 141 feet deep. Compare it with Lake Windermere, the largest in England, 10 miles long and 1 mile wide, but 220 feet deep at its deepest point. Galilee is a large expanse of water, but much smaller than many other lakes in the world, it does not make the top 20! The Dead Sea in South Israel does and it is 5 times larger than Galilee.

Fear at the Vision

It was now approaching dawn, they had been travelling all night, it was a rough night, they were crossing into the wind and making slow progress. You can imagine the spray as the boat hit the waves, the wind made progress slow, they were tired and probably fed up. Some of them were experienced sailors, used to this weather, others were not, and you can imagine the moaning. We re-join the disciples and now Jesus re-joins them, not in another boat, but walking across the water! How would you react? It was seeing the impossible, you cannot just walk on water. They immediately said that they were seeing a ghost or spirit. Life stood still, they were gripped in fear, terror and froze. The vision spoke to them, ‘Don’t be afraid, its me!’ they saw, they heard and now they reacted. They had doubts, well wouldn’t you, in the same situation? There was something familiar in the voice they heard, could it really be Jesus? Of the twelve disciples, who was most likely to respond? Peter, of course. He had some doubts, but challenged the vision, “If it is you Lord, tell me to come to you on the water.’ The reply shook him, Jesus said, ‘Come.’ What was he to do? To walk on water was impossible, he was one of the experienced sailors, he’d seen men drown on the lake, walking defied all nature. He had asked for proof but didn’t get the reply he expected. In modern language, we would say that Jesus called his bluff. He could not lose face, so he stepped out of the boat.

Do we sometimes try to talk ourselves up, push aside doubts by making bold statements? How many times have we regretted what we have said in haste? Not thinking of the consequences. Do we challenge God? Are we surprised and shocked when our challenge is accepted?

Failure to Trust

Amazing, he was walking on the water, he was walking towards Jesus. I wonder if his confidence was up and he looked around, the waves whipped up by the wind, suddenly he lost sight of Jesus and he began to sink. He thought it was going well, here I am walking on water, doing the impossible. At that moment, he realised that it really was impossible, and the reality hit him, I’m going to drown. His reaction was to shout for help, the only one who could help him was a short distance away. Jesus reached out to him and caught him, saved him from certain death. Now it was the turn of Jesus to challenge Peter, ‘Why did you doubt, where was your faith?’

What do we trust in? If we trust in earthly things, they will fail. Health? That can go, think of Covid. Money? That can be devalued or stolen, think of all those who have been scammed and lost all. Job or position? In any business redundancy is a constant threat. Possessions?  Think of all the families in Germany who have seen their houses and all their property washed away in the floods from the rain. Peter went to the only one he could trust, that was Jesus. Jesus saved him and through His death and resurrection, He offers us salvation. We must be like Peter, call for help and take His proffered hand. He will always respond when we call to Him.

Faith Re-established

Back on the boat, the others saw what was happening and were totally certain that it was Jesus, the Son of God. They all came to shore at Gennesaret, and Jesus was able to carry on with His teaching and healing. No longer did the disciples have any doubts about who they were following.

Do we fear the future, not knowing what may happen? Is your life a failure because you are trusting in material things? Do you want peace and assurance in your life? Then you must be like Peter, call out to Jesus and He will take your hand and be with you for ever.

Let us Pray

Hymn: How Great Thou art

 


Page last updated: 17th July 2021 1:29 PM
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