A Walk on the Water
March 15, 2015
Message, Robby Gallaty, Senior Pastor
The title of the message today is “A Walk on the Water.” A Walk on the Water.
Kandi and I recently purchased a new puppy. Her name is Annie. She is a Golden Doodle and she is a big dog. She is going to get even bigger. But she does not like our four-legged family member, Gracie, who has been a part of the family for years. They don’t get along at all.
Now what Annie is having a hard time with, if you have a puppy, you know exactly what I am talking about, is knowing where to go to the bathroom at. She hasn’t realized that it is inappropriate to go in the house. And so I am starting to crate train her, which means you put her in a crate at night and then you let her out when she has to go.
And so last Sunday after church, I was pretty tired after a long day of ministry and I didn’t get a Shepherd’s Rest that day because it was a beautiful day outside and so I decided to take the dogs and the boys for a long walk. And so we got home that night and bathed the boys and went to bed around 9:30 or 10. And about 1:00 in the morning, Kandi is jabbing me in the side with a chicken wing and she says, “Robby, your dog is barking.” That is the operative word, “Your dog is barking.” So I jump up out of bed. I don’t want to wake the boys up. I run downstairs. Annie, sure enough, is barking. I let her out of the cage. She runs right outside. She goes to the bathroom, runs right back inside. I put her in the cage and I go to bed. I am pretty tired at this point. I go back to bed.
At 3:30 a.m., Kandi once again, jabbing me in the side. And I said, “Baby, can you help and go at least let her out?” She said, “This is YOUR dog.” And so I jump out of bed and I am half asleep at this moment and I am on the second floor. We have some wooden steps right here and I start walking to the steps and I missed the first step and caught the next four with my rear end. It was not a pretty sight. It was a loud noise. Kandi jumps out of bed. She is about to address me and she realizes it is better not to address Robby at this point because I was on a mission. I went downstairs to that cage. I will just say I walked her outside and I will just leave it at that. I just walked her outside and let her go to the bathroom. I brought her back in and at this point, I decided I had a plan. I literally picked that big crate up, went down into the basement. I was going to put her in the basement bathroom. Unfortunately, the crate didn’t fit through the bathroom door, so I drop kicked it into the bathroom door. I put her in the cage and I bent down and I said, “Annie, you can bark all you want. You can have at it. The basement is yours.” And I went back upstairs and as I turned the light off and set the alarm, there was this distinctive smell in the house. And apparently in the two minutes that it took me to get the crate to the basement, she left me a nice surprise on the front rug by the front door.
So now I have to find the Resolve can and the scrubber and the napkins and the toilet paper roll or the paper towel roll and I have to clean this mess up. And I get back in bed about 4:00 a.m. And I just realize that I have now become Annie’s errand boy to relieve herself whenever she wants to. So I am in bed laying wide awake and I am just praying, Lord, I just want to go to sleep. Right? Have you ever been there before? Like, you want to do something, you want to get something done and you are just trying to get it done. You just want to go to sleep.
And I imagine that is exactly how the disciples felt in this account we are about to study. They had been ministering now for days. Jesus had sent them out with the power to cast out demons and heal the sick. They came back to Jesus to report on their findings. But the problem is, the crowds are overwhelming.
So now Jesus says, hey, lets take this to a barren region. So they get into a boat. They travel to a barren region. And what happens is, the crowd sees them from the land and cuts them off at the pass. So Jesus now has to set up a healing service, right? He has this huge healing service. Then Jesus decides to capitalize on the people and He starts to speak about the kingdom of God. It was just a long church service and then, would you believe, after all that day of ministering, Jesus says, Hey, lets have dinner on the grounds, if you will. I have two fish and five loaves. And by the way, you guys, are going to distribute the elements to the people, right? And this isn’t a small party or a small church gathering. There are 20,000 people here. And the disciples have the task of distributing the elements. And Jesus says, oh, the by the way, when you are finished, take these baskets and go through the crowd and fill all the baskets up with the leftovers.
It is safe to say these guys are completely worn out. Jesus says, get back in the boat and go home. And I believe in their minds, the only thing they want to do is go home and go to bed. And would you know, in the midst of the Sea of Galilee, there is a strong headwind and these guys are at it all night. They cannot get home.
I want to show you today from a familiar passage of scripture how Jesus uses providentially the winds and the waves to prove His authority over nature and to reveal His identity to the disciples so that you and I today would live fearlessly in worship of Him. We would fearlessly and courageously worship Him.
If you have your Bibles and I hope you do, turn with me to John Chapter 6. John Chapter 6 and we will start in Verse 15 and we will go through the account. If you are there, say “Word.” The Word of the Lord.
“Perceiving then that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by Himself. When evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But He said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then they were glad to take Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.”
Let me divine this text into three different segments. The first one, if you are taking notes, I want you to see Jesus’ Priority to Pray. Jesus’ Priority to Pray.
Now the gospel writer, Mark, who is talking about the same account in a different gospel, tells us that Jesus did not just go up to the mountain to be alone, although He was alone, He went to the mountain to pray fervently to the Lord. This was the priority of Jesus’ life. In fact, I would submit to you that prayer was paramount to Jesus. Jesus’ whole life was characterized by praying with the Father.
Imagine the scene. There are 20,000 people there, probably at this time chanting for Him to be God..to be king. Jesus is the Messiah, so we want to follow Him. They realized that Jesus is the One they have waited for. He is the Prophet. He is held in high esteem. They have recognized Him. If anybody in their right mind and in a human perspective wanted to start a revolution, now was the time.
But I want you to see, Jesus has a different plan. Jesus is not about to stay around and sign Bibles for people. Jesus is not about to do television interviews or talk to news reporters. Jesus has something different in mind. He dismisses the crowd. He sends the disciples on ahead and He goes up to the mountain side to pray with the Father. Write this down. Forty-five times in the gospels we see Jesus departing to be alone with the Father – 45 times. Thirty-three different accounts. Some are synonymous and some are the same, but 45 times, 33 different accounts.
Now we don’t know what Jesus prayed for, but we know the pattern of Jesus’ prayer. Jesus prays specifically throughout the gospels. Luke Chapter 6, it says that He spent most of the night in prayer before He even selected the men who would come after Him. It says in Luke Chapter 22 that Jesus prayed fervently that Peter’s faith would not fail. We know He prayed for His disciples.
It says in John Chapter 17 that Jesus prayed in the High Priestly Prayer, not only for His present disciples…get this…He prayed for His future disciples which would be us.
Jesus’ life was always surrounded by prayer. And I want to show you the point here. Jesus knew that God was His strength. He knew that God was His source. His devotion was to the Father. Jesus never drew strength from the crowds.
Here is a side note for you. If you are drawing strength and sustenance from the crowd or other people or anything other than God, over time, friends, listen to me, it will falter. Jesus constantly was refreshed from the Father.
Let me ask you, when your life falls apart, where do you turn for strength? Where do you turn for renewal? I hope it is to the Lord. That is what Jesus did.
I think it is amazing to me that Jesus Christ is the immortal Son of God, spent time in refreshment and renewal from the Father. Friends, how much more do we as mortal men and women need to spend time for refreshment and renewal from the Father. That is what He did.
But Jesus spends time in prayer because it prepares Him for something that is happening on the sea, which is the second point of the text. The first one is Jesus’ Priority in Prayer. Secondly, we see the Disciples Problem at the Sea. The Disciples Problem at the Sea.
Look at Verse 17. The disciples went down to the sea and got into the boat, “and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them….When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened.” These men should have never been uncomfortable on a place that was very familiar to them.
You have to understand, four of the twelve disciples had a very lucrative fishing business on that very Sea. And here these men are in a familiar place, in a routine rowing of the boat and yet they are terrified. They are scared, if you will. And it shows us that Jesus is taking something that is very familiar to them and making it unfamiliar to them. It should have been an easy journey, maybe an hour journey from one side to the other.
Now lets turn to Mark Chapter 6. I want to give you the back story of what is happening here as they are rowing across the Sea. Mark is a different gospel, same account. Mark Chapter 6 Verse 48. When you are there, say “Word.”
“And He saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.”
Now, the Romans divided the night into four watches based on three hour increments. It started at 6 p.m. It went to 6 a.m. So the fourth watch of the night would show us…watch this…that the disciples were at sea still rowing between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. We can deduce from that if they were departing in the afternoon when it was getting dark and they were still rowing at 3 to 6 a.m., we can assume that these men have been rowing for at least six to seven hours at sea. And so they are trying to make headway but they can’t seem to get along.
And you have to be asking yourself the question, why does Jesus perform this miracle on the sea or the water? It is not by accident. The word “sea” is the Hebrew word, tahome. Tahome is another word for sea, but it is also another word for deep. It is another word for water. Watch this…it is another word for the abyss.
Did you know Jews hate the water? The Hebrews in Jesus’ say were not seafaring individuals. They hated the water. They never built homes by the water. They were fearful of the water.
Ray Vanderlorn, a Jewish scholar says, “In Jesus’ day, Jewish people feared large bodies of water. In fact, they referred to the sea as an abyss and saw it as a symbol of chaos and hell.”
Now, if Americans would have lived by the Sea of Galilee, we would have built high-rise condos and rented them out for people to have vacation homes, right? But if you have ever been to Jerusalem, you realize there are no homes around the Sea of Galilee. If Americans would have populated the region, we would have built condos next to the water that backed up against the water so we could take our boats out on the lake when we want to, or go skiing. That is not what they did. In fact, they were fearful of the water.
On another occasion, Jesus goes to the disciples who were in the midst of a storm while He is sleeping. He stands up in the boat and with just His voice, He calms the storms of the sea. And the disciples look and say, “who is this man that even the winds and the waves obey Him?” The natural answer is, He is God.
On another occasion, Luke Chapter 8, Jesus sees a man who is possessed, not by one but by many demonic spirits. And He is about to cast the spirits out and notice in Luke Chapter 8, do you remember? Guess what the demons say to Jesus? They say, whatever you do, don’t cast us into the abyss. Well, Jesus actually does it in a round about way. What does He do? He takes the demons out of this man and He sends them into the most unclean animal in the entire animal kingdom to the Jewish person, a pig. He takes them out of the man. He sends them into the swine. And then what do the pigs do after they are inhabited by the demonic spirits? Do you remember? They run off the side of the cliff and where do they dive into? The sea! It is a double whammy.
So the Jewish people hated the water. And I will prove it to you one more time, for those who are a little skeptical. Turn with me to Revelation 21. Revelation 21, second to the last chapter in the Bible. It talks about a time of rejoicing, a time when Christ will return, redeem His bride. We will be with Him. God will be with us. We will be His people and He will be out God.
John begins by saying this. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” It is a time of rejoicing. Now, I don’t know if you are like me, but if you like seafood, you may want to eat all we can right now because we may not get it in heaven. I don’t know if that is true, but just a side note. You might want to eat some seafood.
What are you saying here in the text, Robby? It is interesting, it is no accident that Jesus Christ comes and tramples on the waters in front of the disciples to prove His authority over nature and to disclose His identity. This is not an accident.
So the disciples have a problem at sea, but as we see (no pun intended), it is providential, right? Jesus had planned this. And so we see Jesus’ Priority to Pray. We see the Disciples Problem at the Sea. And thirdly, write down, we see Jesus’ Presence on the Water. We see Jesus’ Presence on the Water.
I want to divide this into two categories. The first is, He discloses His identity. Write it down. He discloses His identity. Verse 19. “When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming hear the boat, and they were frightened.” Now, once again, lets get the back story and lets go to Mark Chapter 6. I will give you an interesting tidbit about Mark. Mark gets a bad rap as one of the gospel writers of the synoptic gospels. Matthew, Mark and Luke. Those are the synoptic, meaning they coincide. They are synonymous with stories or accounts. Stories. I got in trouble for “stories,” remember. Accounts. I am going to stick with my story. I am going to stick with it.
But anyway, so Mark gets a bad rap because he is looked at being the one who has the shortest gospel in the New Testament. He actually has the longest explanation of any of the accounts. He just has chosen to write about fewer accounts. So Mark, when you want to know an in-depth explanation or an eyewitness account of something that happened in the life of Jesus, I normally go to Mark because he has the most lengthy explanation of it. So Mark gives us, once again, a great picture of what is happening.
Mark Chapter 6, look at Verse 48. “And He saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.” Now watch this. “He meant to pass by them,” circle that, underline it, “but when they saw Him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw Him and were terrified.” But because of the weather or because of the darkness, the disciples were fearful on the lake.
And here is an interesting point here. Jesus takes something that is familiar to them, the sea, and He puts them in a place where it is unfamiliar to them so that they are dependent upon Him. Doesn’t He do that in our own life all the time? He takes things that should be routine for us, puts us in positions where they are unfamiliar for us so that we are dependent upon Him. And they look out on the sea that day and they see what they think is a ghost. The Greek word there is “fantasma.” It is the same word for ghost. It is the same word for fantasy. It is the same word for phantom. And they were terrified, and you would be, too, actually.
It reminds me of when I was a child, my grandparents used to come to our house for Halloween and they would dress up every year. And this year, my grandfather who was six feet tall normally decides to put about a one foot increase on his shoe. It is like a stilt-like insole to make him seven feet tall. He puts this brown bag on his head with some eyes cut out and he puts this cloak around his back. And so he is knocking on the door. And I am six. I know you are not going to believe this, but I was very shy as a kid. I used to hide behind my parents. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. And so I was very shy. And so on this day, Mom is, hey, no Robby, you have got to answer the door. “I don’t want to answer the door, Mom.” “No, you have to answer the door.” These are the kind of parents I lived with and my Mom and Dad unfortunately are not here to defend themselves, but anyway. This is a kind of crazy kind of joke for a six year old. “No, you have to answer the door.”
And so here I am as a six year old boy, answering the door. And there is this seven foot giant at the door and I hightail it to the bedroom because I don’t recognize him and he is yelling, my poor Grandfather, through the bag, “No, No, it is your PawPaw, come back.” And I am thinking, you don’t look like my PawPaw to me. And then he takes the bag off and then I realize it is him and I come running to him.
Well, the same thing is probably happening. The disciples know who Jesus is and whether it is because of the fog, whether it is because it is at night, maybe Jesus has light surrounding Him, we don’t know. But the disciples look out on the sea and they can’t recognize Him. And the text says, look at what it says, “They are frightened. They are terrified.”
Now I want you to notice what Jesus does. He doesn’t intend to come right to them. The text says He intended to pass them by. Some of you are reading that for the first time today. You are saying, I have never seen that before. Well, studying this week in commentaries and you wouldn’t believe the wacky explanations as to why Jesus did this. I mean, there are a lot of crazy ideas. One of them said that Jesus came on the sea and He never intended to come to the disciples at all, but then when He saw their distress, He just had kind of a change of heart. Kind of a wacky idea.
Another said, Jesus actually came intending to frighten the disciples. He wanted to scare them, right? Another one said that He came to play a joke on the disciples. You know Jesus, the life of the party, always being the jokester, right? Just kind of passing by playing a joke on them. I think all of which are incorrect.
The reason Jesus is walking by them, we have to take a journey back to the First Century, even back to the Old Testament to understand what the Jewish mind would have thought when they saw Jesus walk by. And the two key sets of words I want you to see are the words “meant,” and the phrase, “pass them by.” Write those down or circle them in your Bibles.
The word “meant” in the language of the New Testament is another word that is synonymous with willed. It is the same word for purpose. And what it shows us is that Jesus, not by happenstance, not by accident, Jesus intended to pass them by. He had planned this before the foundation of the world, to pass them by. He knew they would be on the water. And so, as He is passing, as He is meaning to pass them by, the text says that He passes by them.
Now those three words are actually one word in the Greek and one word in the Hebrew. If you take that one word and whenever you see that word connected to God…watch this…it is always implying an epiphany. Always. So when you see “passed by” or “passed them by” connecting with God, it is an epiphany.
Now what is an epiphany? An epiphany is a revelation. An epiphany is a disclosing of something. And you and I through the Bible have seen on some rare occasions God Himself revealing Himself to His people, particularly to individuals. Do you know when they were? Do you know when it happened? Not everybody at once. It happened to Moses and it happened to Elijah. Let me show them to you.
Go to Exodus, the book of Exodus Chapter 33. There are two occurrences where we find the same word “passed by,” in the Old Testament. Exodus 33:17. When you are there, say “word.” “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.’ Moses said, ‘Please show me Your glory.’ And He said, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you My name, ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,’ He said,..watch this…’you cannot see My face, for man shall not see Me and live.’” And that is important. Don’t forget that. “And the Lord said, ‘Behold, there is a place by Me where you shall stand on the rock, and while My glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by.” You see it. The same word. “Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back, but My face you shall not see, or not be seen.”
Moses on Mt. Sinai asked the Lord to reveal Himself to Him. God said, “You can’t see My face. You can’t see Me, but you can see the backside of Me because if you see Me, you will burn up, so you can’t see Me. You can’t come into My presence in that way.
Then on Mt. Horeb, we see Elijah in I Kings Chapter 19. So turn there. I want to show you what happens in the life of Elijah, when in a similar fashion, He gets to see the manifestation of God. I Kings Chapter 19 Verse 11, God said to Elijah, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by,” same word, “and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke into pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, the sound of a low whisper.”
By passing by the disciples, what Jesus is saying to them…are you ready for this?…in a Hebraic way without saying anything is that He is God. That is what He is saying.
Now people tell me all the time, Pastor, Jesus never said that He was God. Yes, He did. He said it all the time! He just didn’t say it as a westerner, as an American, He said it as a Jew. And if you were in that boat, you would have known the Old Testament so well that when Jesus walked by, your mind would have jogged to these two passages and immediately you would have realized, there is only One who is passing us by and it is God. And I believe…are you ready for this?…that is where fear comes in. So Jesus discloses His identity and then secondly, are you ready for this, He dismantles their fears because the text says they were terrified at this point.
Verse 20. “He said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’” When Jesus said, do not be afraid, it is interesting. That is the Greek word “phobeo,” where we get the English word “phobia.” That word “fear” is used over 100 times from Genesis to Revelation.
It is interesting, that phrase “do not fear.” God uses that phrase…are you ready for this…to break the 400 years of silence from Malachi to the birth of John the Baptist…are you ready for this…the angel comes to Zacharias and the first words that God says after 400 years of silence through the angel is, “Fear not.”
When Mary is scared about having God’s Son, what does He say to Mary? The same thing. Fear not. When Joseph gets news that his wife is pregnant, what does He say to Joseph through the angel? Fear not. The same word.
Do you know Jesus uses this word at the sea when the disciples are scared. He says, “Fear not.” The first words that Jesus speaks to His disciples in His resurrected body in that upper room and they are cowered down with locked doors. He walks through the wall and what does He say? Fear not.
Do you know it is the same thing He says to us today? Fear not. But that is not all He says. You see, in English we just gloss over it. “It is I, fear not.” And many people focus on the fear not and they miss the first part. When Jesus is saying, “It is I,” we miss it in the English. Let me translate it back into Hebrew for you. This is what they would have heard. “I AM. Fear not.” You see, I AM is what God told Moses in Exodus Chapter 3 and the burning bush as to what His name was. He says, Moses, I want you to go to the President of the world and I want you to tell him to let My people go – two to three million of them. And Moses says, Well, who should I tell them sent me? And God said, “Tell them I AM sent you.” I am the God of yesterday. I am the God of today and I am the God of tomorrow. I am the God who was. I am the God who is and I am the God who always will be.
Aren’t you glad God didn’t say, tell them, I WAS sent you? Can I get an amen on that one? Aren’t you glad God didn’t say, tell them, I am the God I WILL sent you? He is the great I AM! Do you know what that means to you today? If you feel like your joy is fleeting in the Christian life, God would say to you, I AM. If you are broken hearted over a wayward son or daughter in your life, He would say to you today, I AM! If your future doesn’t make sense to you right now. You are trying to figure out all the implications of a new path in life, He would say to you, I AM! Your job situation has changed unexpectedly, do you know what He would say to you? I AM! If you are dealing with financial troubles in your life, He would say to you, I AM! If you feel isolated and alone, He would say to you, I AM! If you are dealing with an unexpected illness, He would say, I AM! If your child is sick, He would say, I AM!
And I don’t know about you, but I am glad He says I AM and not I WAS or I WILL BE. He is the God that is, the God that was and the God that will be!
So, Pastor, how do we apply this text? Let me give you one walking point as you go. One way to apply the sermon to your life as you leave. Here is the one walking point as we leave. Realization of Jesus will result in worship of Him. Realization of Jesus will result in worship.
What I mean is, when you truly know who Jesus is, like these guys saw a picture of Christ, the natural response is, you are going to begin to worship Him. And maybe the reason you are not worshiping Christ the way He should be worshiped is because you frankly don’t know Him, right?
Now if you are tracking with the message today, you realize that I left out two key insights from other gospel accounts. And the main one is the fact of Peter walking on the water. You see, this is the encounter when Jesus is on the water and He actually calls Peter to walk on the water when Peter calls out to Him. I have purposely left that out of this message. And the reason I left it out is because John leaves it out. And I think the reason John leaves it out of his account is he is laser focused on the point of the passage. The point of the passage, the theme of the text is not the fact that Peter in faith walks on water, although that is good. The point of the passage is that Jesus is God! And John doesn’t want anybody distracted with anything other than who Jesus is and what Jesus can do. And so the focal point is on Him.
The seconded thing I left out is something I want to add and that is what Matthew says. Although John alludes to it, Matthew is explicit. Go with me to Matthew Chapter 14 Verse 33. I want to read one line to you. Matthew Chapter 14 Verse 33. “And those in the boat worshiped Him.” So Jesus gets back in the boat, it says, and they worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God.”
Now, I want you to imagine we are in the boat. Okay. We are on the water. We are sailing, we are rowing for seven plus hours making no attempt to get ahead, or making an attempt but not getting ahead. We see a ghost on the water, okay? You have to admit, when Jesus says to them, “Do not be afraid,” we have at that moment every right to be afraid, right? We are in the middle of the sea, we are worn out, we are tired, it is 3 a.m. Parents are worried about us and we are on the water with a ghost walking on the water. We have every right to be afraid, right? But I don’t think they are afraid because of the winds. Follow me here. I don’t even think they are afraid because of the waves. I don’t even think they are afraid because they see a ghost. I think these men are afraid…watch this…because for the very first time in their life, they realize who Jesus is. And they understand with completely certainty that Jesus is God.
You have to remember, folks, listen to me, we just heard from Moses. Moses said, “No man can see the face of God and live!” And they are peering out over the side of the boat and they are looking God face to face in the eyes! This is not any God. This is the God who formed the world by His own hands! They are looking into the face of the God who fashioned them! And formed them in their Mother’s womb. This is the same God they have heard about who brought their forefathers out of bondage and into the wilderness into the Promised Land. That is this God! This is the God who walked to the Red Sea and by just holding His staff out, He parts the waters. This is the God who brings water from a rock. This is the God when in Exodus Chapter 20, Moses tried to approach Him. There was thunder and lightening and smoke and fire on Mt. Sinai and no one wanted to go near. That is this God! This is the God who one time a year, one man is able to enter into the presence of God on the Yom Kippur in the Tabernacle. He can go in one time and he is risking his life to do it. They are staring that God in the face, eyeball to eyeball and when they see that, they are paralyzed. They are mortified!
You see, the question is not what do you do when you get out of the boat. The question is, what do you do when Jesus gets in the boat? You see, what they did is they fell on their faces and worshiped Him! Just at the words of Christ and the actions of Jesus, they fell on their faces and they worshiped Him.
Now I don’t know how they worshiped Him. They probably didn’t sing songs, although they could have. You know, Peter didn’t say, hey, lets crank up the great I am. Lets just sing that one, we all know it. They probably didn’t do that because friends, worship is way more than music. You see, worship is an attitude of one’s heart. It is a realization and an understanding of who Jesus is and in light of who Jesus is, we see the sinfulness of who we are and we see how desperately we need Him. That is what happened. And they ascribed to Him worth and they were reverent before Him. And the only thing they could do is, they said, we just have to get on our faces and we are going to fall down and worship You. That is all we want to do is worship You!
And I want to show you the transition in the text. Are you ready for this? These men who were stricken with fear are now exercising faithfulness. Write this down. Faith and fear cannot coexist. Faith and fear cannot exist at the same time. If you have fear in your life, I would submit to you it is because you have faithlessness, because true faithfulness in God and fear cannot exist at the same time. Jesus’ presence calmed all of their fears and they expressed faithfulness and worship toward Him.
Charles Spurgeon commenting on this text said, “Friend, be sure of the reality of Christ you trust in. It is very easy to use the name of Jesus but not quite so easy to know the person of Christ. It is common to talk about what Jesus did and not to feel that He lives truly just as we do and that He is a person to be loved and trusted in as much as you love your Father or your brother or a friend. We want a real living personal Christ because a phantom Christ will never cheer us up in the midst of the storm. It is rather the cause of fright than hope. But a real Christ is a real consolation in a real trial.” Can anybody say Amen to that?
May everyone of you, my hearers, truly know the personal Savior to whom can speak with as much certainty today as if you could touch His hand.
Friends, do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Do you? Because if you do, you can fearlessly face tomorrow. You can even fearlessly face today. Because He lives, we can face tomorrow. Because He lives, our fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, life is worth the living, just because He lives. Aren’t you glad of that?