Episode 1. Walking on Water
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They say that Jesus walked on water. Okay … walking on water, that’s one thing. But walking on water during a storm when the rest of us are terrified, walking in on that water and saving us … …
They say that Jesus walked on water. Okay … walking on water, that’s one thing. But walking on water during a storm when the rest of us are terrified, walking in on that water and saving us … that’s another thing entirely.
Last week on the program we kicked off a series of messages that I called Signs, Wonders and Miracles. Not because I’m overly focused on the supernatural but simply because the reality for most of us is that we tend to bumble our way through life kind of ignoring the powerful reality of the supernatural, the spiritual realm if you will.
There are two equal and opposite mistakes that we can in fact make when it comes to the supernatural. One is as I just said to completely ignore it, to behave as though God isn’t still doing powerful amazing things in our lives and perhaps even worse still to pretend that somehow the devil, satan and all his legions don’t exist when all along he’s prowling around like a lion looking for someone to devour.
The second mistake and again we looked at this last week on the program is to have an unhealthy fixation on the spiritual. You’ve probably met one of those super spiritual swami’s who sees a devil under every bed and a miracle around every corner, these people over spiritualise everything and they lose grip, quite frankly, on reality.
I’m in neither of those camps, I just know that my God, the one who sent Jesus to this earth to pay for my sins and give me a new life, my God’s real, He’s powerful. He hasn’t stopped wanting to make a powerful difference in my life, in your life and in the life of anyone who decides that they’re going to believe in Jesus and follow Jesus wherever He may lead.
Call me simple, call me crazy, call me what you will, Jesus died for us, He rose again, He sits at the right hand of God on His throne and He is ready, willing and able to make a powerful difference in your life and my life if only we’d let Him.
It’s why last week and again this week on the program we’re stepping our way through the eight miracles that the Apostle John records in his Gospel account of Jesus life and ministry. Interesting, Jesus performed so many miracles in the three and a half years of His public ministry but John chooses to reveal only eight of them to us and he calls them signs and here’s why. John actually gives us the reason why he tells us about these signs and wonders, John chapter 20, verses 30 and 31:
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples which are not written in this book but these that are written are written so you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing in him you may have life in his name.
The whole point of these miracles and the reason John constantly refers to them as signs is that they point to the power and the authenticity of Jesus. They verify His claim that He was and is the Son of the one true God and that He came to die for us to pay for our sins and to rise again from the dead to give us a new life.
John recorded these miracles to point to Jesus so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, your Saviour, the Son of God. And here’s the crunch, here’s what this means to you and me here and now and that by believing you may have life in His name, a fresh new powerful life, here and now, filled with the power of God with His joy and peace and grace and mercy and an eternal life in His presence. That’s what these signs are all about, that’s what these miracles are all about. They’re about your life and that’s why they’re so important.
The next one in our series is the time that Jesus walks on water. That’s a pretty neat trick if you can get away with it. Let’s have a listen:
‘When evening came his disciples went down to the sea, got in the boat and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was dark now and Jesus hadn’t come to them yet. 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 don’t be afraid’. Then they were glad to take him into the boat and immediately the boat was at the land which they were going to.’ (John chapter 6, verses 16 to 21)
So Jesus had just been doing the powerful miracle of feeding the five thousand with a couple of little fish and five barley loaves. When the people saw this they thought to themselves, ‘wow, the Messiah, this is really the guy sent to us by God, we can see it through the miracles, the signs. He’s got what it takes so let’s make Him king and He can boot the Romans out of Israel and get rid of the terrible occupying force and set us free and be our king just like great King David of old.’
See here they were, they were missing the whole spiritual point of what Jesus was doing. He was there to usher in the Kingdom of God not some physical kingdom; this was much, much bigger than just being about Israel and their lives. God was moving in a supernatural power and they didn’t get it, they missed the point completely and Jesus response to being drafted as king?
‘Perceiving them they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.’
So He wouldn’t have a bar of it, He sent His disciples out onto the Sea of Galilee, not unreasonable, a few of them were experienced fishermen, they knew these waters, they had fished them for years. But if you’ve ever been on an ocean or as in the case of these disciples on a large inland body of water, you’ll know that no amount of experience can compensate for the ferocious power of wind and water.
That’s what happened to these men in the boat. One minute everything’s going along just fine and dandy, they had the skills to get across the sea, everything was great. Next minute a massive storm blows in, we all know what that feels like, it’s confusing first up, why does God let this happen? They must have been thinking that to themselves in the tiny boat pitching on the angry sea. Why did Jesus let us go out in this stupid boat, surely He must have known?
Of course He knew but He wanted them to experience the reality of His power amidst the overwhelming circumstances of their fragile lives. They’re three, four miles out, they might as well be three or four hundred miles out because once you’re out there in a storm in a small fishing boat nothing is going to save you.
You’ve been there right? Perhaps not on a boat on an angry sea although I have a friend Arnie Cole the CEO of Back To The Bible in the US who met Jesus in exactly that place, on the deck of a boat in the middle of a storm when he thought it was all going to be over.
But in our lives we’ve all been there when the storm has blown in and we wonder how are we going to survive? This miracle, this sign speaks the reality of the supernatural power of God into our lives. This power of God, it’s not a theory, it’s real and it’s something that you and I are meant to experience for ourselves. Out there on the stormy waters walks Jesus, completely impossible right? I mean totally, totally impossible and that lies at the heart of what God’s saying to you and me in this short, simple account that’s written up by John in such an understated way.
The seas rough, they see Jesus walking out across the water and they were seriously frightened, that’s putting it mildly and then Jesus tells them, ‘don’t worry, stop being afraid, it’s me, I’m here, I can do the impossible, don’t you get that?’ They kind of already knew that, they’d seen Him do the impossible in other people’s lives but never in their own, never when they were in peril.
The whole point of this miracle for them is that they should believe that the power of God is real in their lives through Jesus. And the whole point of this miracle for us is that we should believe that the power of God is real in our lives through Jesus. When next you have a storm raging in your life remember that, remember that the Holy Spirit had John the Apostle record this miracle, remember he was one of the guys in that pitching boat afraid that he was going to drown, even more afraid when he saw Jesus walking on the water.
God had him record this story so that you and I would know that Jesus’ power is real and through that we could have the life that He came to bring us. It’s that simple, Jesus is for real.