In the Midst of the Sea

(After the feeding of the five thousand) Jesus made the disciples get into the boat, and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.  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.  But the boat was already many stadia away from the land, tormented (same root word used in Mt 18:34 and Rev 9:5) by the waves; for the wind was contrary (i.e., against them).  And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea (a picture of how Jesus has overcome the world, Jn 16:33).  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were frightened, saying, “It is a ghost!”  And they cried out for fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”  And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”  And He said, “Come!”  And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water (above the sea, in which a carnal man of the flesh would drown) and came toward Jesus.  But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”  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?”  And when they got into the boat, the wind stopped.  And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”
Matthew 14:23-33

 Here we see that we are just like Peter and the disciples.  We are in a boat upon the sea of the world, straining against the contrary winds of our day and tormented by the waves of false teachers and their doctrines, so that we fear for our very lives lest we be engulfed and drowned.  Then in the darkest part of our night Jesus comes to us, walking above the sea of the world, so that we are troubled, perhaps frightened, wondering if it is really Him.  But we want to come to Jesus, and so we cry out to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water”.  For we know that only if He calls us will we ever be able to walk above the world and its lusts and come to Him.  And so Jesus calls us and we obey; we get out of the boat of our own security and in faith walk above the world and its lusts towards Jesus.  But if our faith is slight, then, like Peter, we are liable to take our eyes off of Him and see the wind, those powers of the heavens that stir up the sea of the world against us.  When that happens we will become afraid and begin to sink.  Unless we cry out, “Lord, save me!” we will drown; but if we do cry out Jesus is right there to stretch out His hand and take hold of us.  When at last we are safely inside of the boat with Jesus the wind must stop, so that our only response will be to worship Him.  For then, like those first disciples, we will know for certain that Jesus is the Son of God.

On another occasion the disciples also found themselves in the midst of the sea:

And when He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him.  And behold, there arose a great storm in the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves; but He Himself was asleep.  And they came to Him, and awoke Him, saying, Save us, Lord; we are perishing!”  And He said to them, “Why are you timid, you men of little faith?”  Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and it became perfectly calm.  And the men marveled, saying, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”
Matthew 8:23-27

 This is just how it is today.  We are in a boat with the Lord Jesus in the sea of the world and a terrible storm is raging so that the waves of the sea threaten to engulf us.  The waves are those doubters who are tossed here and there by the winds of demons and their perverted doctrines.  Like the disciples we cry out, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!”  And yet if our faith was not so little we would find rest, just like Jesus, even in the midst of the storm.  For then we would know that Jesus has authority over every wind and wave and when we are in the boat with Jesus the raging of the sea cannot engulf us as it does those who are drowning in the world.  As it is Jesus rebukes the wind and the waves and makes it perfectly calm, so that we might have faith to enter into His rest.

 

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