Separated for safety, the miraculous meeting on the sea. Matthew 14:22-33
The background of the message tonight is the ministry of Jesus to the multitudes and then providing food for them following the preaching. The crowd was said to be five thousand men, not including the women and children with them. Jesus instructed the disciples to situate the people in an orderly seating arrangement that would insure everyone was cared for. He then stood before them with five loaves of bread and two fish, the lunch of a boy that had given it to Jesus for His use. This miracle from God established Jesus in their minds as one that could meet both their spiritual needs through His teaching and meet their physical needs through His power. A situation occurred at this time at which Jesus acted to protect His disciples from the multitude of people. He sent them away, setting them apart for their own good. We begin this lesson outline by seeing that the disciples were –
A. Kept from being caught up.
1. The multitude of people wanted to establish Jesus as their king.
John 6:14-15 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
a. Galilee was an area in northern Israel that had strong national feelings. They hated that the Roman Empire was in control of them and their land. They disagreed with the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem that was working with the Romans to keep the peace and remain in power.
b. The people saw Jesus as the One who would overthrow Rome. They believed that Jesus could establish Israel as a sovereign nation again and He would be their king. He could lead them, feed them, and protect them. They did not understand the purpose of God.
Jesus knew that –
2. The disciples, who were also from Galilee and would be put into a difficult position if they had remained at the scene. Arguments would begin between the disciples and the crowds of people when Jesus would refuse to be king. The disciples could be accused of not caring for their own families and land. In truth, at this time the disciples would not be able to argue with the crowds of people because –
a. They also did not know what to expect about the Kingdom, even later they still had questions.
Acts 1:6-7 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
b. They were moved away from a dangerous situation.
3. Jesus relieved the situation.
a. He sent the disciples away.
b. He sent the crowd away.
c. He went up into the mountain to pray by Himself.
Jesus will set up His kingdom according to His timing and conditions, not man’s.
While the disciples may have wondered where Jesus was, what He was doing, and why He was not with them, they did not know that He was –
B. Keeping watch upon His children. 14:23,24
1. He watched in prayer. We do not know what His prayer was at this time, but can see His heart in prayer through the record noted in John 17:6-26
2. He watched by His presence. Mark 6:48; Psalm 34:15; Matthew 28:20
Mark 6:47-48 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them…..
a. The disciples were laboring in difficult circumstances.
1). They had only gone about 4 km in 9 hours of rowing.
2). Being put in a place of busy work kept them out of trouble.
They were building strength and character by being obedient to the Lord. So much work and so little progress, yet they did not quit, even though the Lord was not with them.
b. The disciples worked together through this time of separation and encouraged one another.
When the danger was gone with the crowds going on their way realizing that their demands would not be met –
When Jesus was finished with His time of prayer on the mountain –
When the disciples were safe –
Jesus went to them and continued the ministry of proclaiming the Word of God to Israel.
God is in complete control of His creation and it was a simple thing for Jesus to walk out to them on the water. We learn in the conclusion of this event that the disciples were continuing to learn about Jesus of Nazareth, that He is the Son of God.
C. Coming to the disciples in the storm. Read Matthew 14:25-33
1. The encouragement of His presence. Read Matthew 14:25-27
a. The disciples were fearful. They had never seen such a thing as this.
As we read of this account, we can understand their fear. We also have times of fear in our lives as we grow in our knowledge of God and His will for our lives. Our comfort comes when we realize that God knows what He is doing, even when we do not understand. He loves us, cares for us, protects us, and comforts us by His presence –
b. The disciples were encouraged by the Lord. “It is I”
Many of our fears would be removed if we would just know that the Lord is working in our lives.
2. The challenge of His power. Read Matthew 14:28-31
a. Peter made a request of the Lord. Was he sure of his request? 14:28 Uncertainty tends to fail!
b. Peter was distracted by circumstances. 14:30
c. Peter made the right decision – to look to Jesus. 14:31
3. The Lord received the glory. Read Matthew 14:32,33
We should remember that we can be distracted by the storms of this life.
When we are separated for safety –
We should trust Jesus, that these things will work out for our good,
We should work together throughout the entire separation being determined to obey the Lord,
We should help one another, strengthen each other when weak or tired.
We should keep our eyes on Jesus and remember that our life is about Him, not us. Is what we are doing bringing glory to Him?