Doctrine of the Angelic Conflict, part 62 – The essence of God – Omnipotence (miracles). Mat 14:22-33; .
length: 64:11 - taught on Mar, 20 2013
Title: Doctrine of the Angelic Conflict, part 62 - The essence of God - Omnipotence (miracles). MAT 14:22-33; .
20. Walking on the sea. The power of God is based on grace. We walk by courage and not fear, and when we lack faith Christ will pick us up and give us another opportunity, MAT 14:22-33.
MAT 14:22 And immediately [after feeding the 5000] He made the disciples get into the boat, and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.
MAT 14:23 And after He had sent the multitudes away, He went up to the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.
MAT 14:24 But the boat was already many stadia away from the land [John - about 4 miles and since the lake is 8 miles wide they are right in the middle of it], battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary [against them].
Every positive believer is right in the middle of the AC. The wind is in opposition to their commanded course.
The negative believers or unbelievers are on the shore plotting to make Jesus their earthly king, but the positive believers obeyed the command to get into the boat and go across.
Where Christ told them to go the wind was against them. This is opposition to God’s plan (OSN, satan and KOD, cosmos).
This is a storm of testing. Their faith is getting tested so that more of God and the Christ can be revealed to them [they don’t have the HS yet]. In contrast, I remind you of the storm that Jonah was in. That was a storm of correction or discipline. Both of these types of storms are done out of the love of God. The disciples obeyed God and got in the boat and went where they were instructed. Jonah got on a boat going in the opposite direction from where he was instructed to go.
Disciples are in a storm of testing in contrast to Jonah who was in a storm of divine discipline. We can expect quite a bit of both.
Their last testing in a storm, Jesus was in the boat. This time He is out of the boat.
Christ is in you (in the boat) - confidence in future glory.
Christ is at the right hand of God (out of the boat) - interceding for you.
When He was in the boat the first time He was resting asleep. Here we see Him walking. At the end in His trials we see Him standing while they run in fear. He rests for us, walks for us, and stands for us and in great compassion, love, and a lot of patience He teaches us how to do the same in our lives, from our own free will decisions.
The Lord will be leaving these men soon and they are going to have storms in their ministries that will require their trust in the words of Christ rather than His physical presence. You see, to calm these storms the word of God came from His own soul and through His own mouth. The storms in the ministries of the apostles after the ascension and in our own the word of God has to come from our own soul and mouth, yet we have another Advocate to empower us to do so, not against our free will however, and that is God the Holy Spirit.
And this is the real message behind Peter’s great leap of faith to get out of the boat. He wanted to do what the Lord did. It’s easier to sit in the boat and watch, but Peter walks on water.
But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren;
You want to be like Me? Ok, get out of the boat, let’s go. Help!!! Ok, let’s get back in the boat and try again later. Is He asking me to walk on water? No. Something harder I imagine, and that is to transform your thinking or personality into the image of the personality of God. ROM 12:2. No faith to faith; no hope to hope; no love to love; no fruit of the Spirit to fruit; no walk with the Spirit to walk; no walk in the manner of your calling to walk; no walking in the light to walk … That’s a miracle!
They just fed 5000 people and then found themselves in the middle of the Sea of Galilee in the wee hours of the morning in the midst of a fierce storm and about to capsize and drown.
Is it a coincidence that at Pentecost they would feed another 5000? This time they would feed them with the gospel.
The fed 5000 bread and fish and they will feed 5000 the bread from heaven; the gospel. ACT 4:4
But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
Peter was a fisherman and he fed people fish on that hill. Didn’t Christ tell him that He would make him a fisher of men?
And then their ministries would face the storms of persecution:
Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church, in order to mistreat them. 2 And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. 3 And when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also.
Many Christians have the mistaken idea that obedience to God's will produces "smooth sailing." But this is not true, JOH 16:33.
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
When we find ourselves in the storm because we have obeyed the Lord, we must remember that He brought us here and He can care for us.
MAT 14:25 And in the fourth watch of the night [between 3-6 am; probably just before dawn with faint streaks of light] He came to them, walking on the sea.
MAT 14:26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were frightened [agitated in their souls], saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear.
First we have “frightened.” This isn’t the usual word for fear, but the word for an agitated soul.
“frightened” - tara,ssw[tarasso] = agitated or troubled in the soul. Can be sin or the pressure from extreme undeserved suffering.
It could be in the form of sin, or lack of faith:
"Let not your heart be troubled [present passive imperative]; believe in God, believe also in Me. "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
Or it could be in the form of extreme pressure from testing that is not sin but extreme undeserved suffering.
"Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. "Father, glorify Thy name." There came therefore a voice out of heaven: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."
MAT 14:26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were frightened, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear [fobos - that is the usual word for fear].
They don’t recognize Him because they are not looking for Him. It’s the same as thinking, “That’s impossible for God to do.”
They’ve seen Him perform hundreds, maybe thousands of miracles, but not in this capacity. Who would have imagined that He could walk on water?
MAT 14:27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." [command - the sin one]
For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
The Bible tells us that, "He is praying for me." This entire scene is a dramatic picture of the church and the Lord today. God's people are on the sea, in the midst of a storm. Yet Jesus Christ is in heaven "making intercession for us" (ROM 8:34).
ROM 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? [conflict of the positive - storm of the first kind]
ROM 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
ROM 8:33 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies;
ROM 8:34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
He saw the disciples and knew their plight (Mark 6:48), just as He sees us and knows our needs.
And seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night, He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them.
One might assume that He would have passed by if they were not afraid, but they are, and so He stops to comfort them.
2CO 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort;
2CO 1:4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2CO 1:5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.
2CO 1:6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer;
2CO 1:7 and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.
2CO 1:8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life;
He feels the burdens that we feel and knows what we are going through (HEB 4:14-16).
HEB 4:14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
HEB 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
HEB 4:16 Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.
Jesus was praying for His disciples, that their faith would not fail. He did the same for Peter and we can take comfort that He is continually doing the same for us.
Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.
He didn’t tell satan, “No!” which He could have, rather He tells Peter before hand, just like He does to us, and then prayed that His faith may not fail, and when he recovered he would serve others.
This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.
If you knew that Jesus Christ was in the next room, praying for you, would it not give you new courage to endure the storm and do His will? Of course it would. He is not in the next room, but He is in heaven interceding for you. He sees your need, He knows your fears, and He is in control of the situation (omnipotence).
Often we feel like Jesus has deserted us when we are going through the hard times of life. In the Psalms, David complained that God seemed far away and unconcerned, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Yet he knew that God would ultimately rescue him.
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee.
Even the great Apostle Paul got into a situation so difficult he felt "burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life" (2CO 1:8).
Jesus always comes to us in the storms of life.
ISA 43:1 But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
ISA 43:2 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
He may not come at the time we think He should come, because He knows when we need Him the most. He waited until the ship was as far from land as possible, so that all human hope was gone. He was testing the disciples' faith, and this meant removing every human prop.
Why did Jesus walk on the water? To show His disciples that the very thing they feared (the sea) was only a staircase for Him to come to them.
Often we fear the difficult experiences of life (such as surgery or bereavement), only to discover that these experiences bring Jesus Christ closer to us.
Why did they not recognize Jesus? Because they were not looking for Him. Had they been waiting by faith, they would have known Him immediately. Instead, they jumped to the false conclusion that the appearance was that of a ghost.
Fear and faith cannot live in the same heart, for fear always blinds the eyes to the presence of the Lord.
MAT 14:28 And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."
MAT 14:29 And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
MAT 14:30 But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"
MAT 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
Now our center of interest shifts to Peter. Before we criticize Peter for sinking, let's honor him for his magnificent demonstration of faith. He dared to be different. Anybody can sit in the boat and watch. But it takes a person of real faith to leave the boat and walk on the water.
Another commentator says: [Barnes’ notes] Here is an instance of the characteristic ardor and rashness of Peter. He had less real faith than he supposed, and more ardor than his faith would justify. He was rash, headlong, incautious, really attached to Jesus, but still easily daunted and prone to fall. He was afraid, therefore, when in danger, and, sinking, cried again for help. [I don’t like this one]
Only two men in history have ever walked on water, and Peter was one of them. I think he should be honored for it.
So often we venture out on faith, so sure and confident in the task at hand, desiring to be like our Lord, and when opposition, conflict, and chaotic circumstances surround us we take our eyes off the word of God and we either grieve the Spirit with MAS’s or we quench the Spirit by resorting to human power and human mechanisms.
I see nothing wrong with venturing out anyway. It is wrong to quench and grieve the HS and to operate in human power and human mechanisms, but are we going to wait until we know we’re going to get everything right before we venture out in faith? The disciples blew it here and Jesus shows up to comfort them anyway. It doesn’t condone failure, but it does comfort.
What caused Peter to sink? His faith began to waver because he took his eyes off the Lord and began to look at the circumstances around him.
"Why did you doubt?" Jesus asked him (Matt 14:31).
“doubt” - dista,zw[distazo; dis = double; statsis = standing] = to stand in two ways, to have uncertainty of direction, to doubt.
This word translated doubt carries the meaning of "standing uncertainly at two ways." Peter started out with great faith but ended up with little faith because he saw two ways instead of one.
One way - the love of Christ will not let me drown
Other way - fear of drowning
"For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous,
And His ears attend to their prayer,
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."
This experience was difficult for Peter, but it helped him to grow in his knowledge of himself and of the Lord. The storms of life are not easy, but they are necessary. They teach us to trust Jesus Christ alone and to obey His Word no matter what the circumstances may be.
Faith is believing in spite of evidence, and also obeying in spite of consequence.
MAT 14:32 And when they got into the boat, the wind stopped.
What’s often missed here is that now that the Lord grabbed him they are walking on the water together, but not very far, they get into the boat.
When the Lord comes to our rescue we will walk together with Him [fellowship] and eventually the storm will stop.
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
MAT 14:33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly God's Son!"
They have all already believed in Him, yet they are still learning who He is.
Thus he was suffered to learn his own character, and his dependence on Jesus: a lesson which all Christians are permitted sooner or later to learn by dear-bought experience.