May 15, 2022 The Storm

The Storm

May 14, 2022




Scripture: Matthew 14:22-33.


In verse 22, the word immediately means that, as soon as they had eaten and the miracle occurred, the Lord sent his disciples in a boat to the other side of the lake. Why did he do this? Because he desired to be alone on the mountain speaking to the Father in prayer. Again, we see our Lord practicing solitude. His life is our pattern. His practices ought to be our practices. Just as our Lord practices solitude, so must we. I tell you, that if we do not practice it, then we will be distracted by electronic media and even other people and we will not commune with the Lord as often as we need to do so. 


Verse 23 has seven words that are significant: “When evening came, he was there alone.”


These seven words may be applied to you! “When evening came, John was there alone.” “When evening came, Connie was there alone.” We need to be alone with the Lord!


Verse 24 reveals that a storm came upon the lake while the disciples were attempting to cross. This is a picture of our own experiences. The boat is a type of the church. Verse 22 says that Jesus put the disciples into the boat. This is what the Lord does to each person who becomes his disciple… he puts them in the boat, the church! Are you in the boat? I am not asking if you visit the boat once in a while. Are you in the boat? Are you travelling in it? Are you on a journey to the other side of the lake along with the other disciples? If you are not in the boat then you are not one of Jesus’ disciples (I John 2:19).


The storms of life will come. The waves will beat against the boat. Yet, if we are not in the boat, the waves will beat against our lone body floating in the water. And, that is far worse! The winds were against the disciples. The winds will be against you. Winds come and winds go. But, when they come, the Lord is on the mountain praying for us!


We can imagine that the disciples were afraid because of the wind and the waves. If they were fearful then they would have wished that their Lord was with them. But he did not come until the fourth watch of the night. The fourth watch was 3:00 am until 6:00 am. The Lord does not always come when we wish him to come. Yet, his timing is always just right. By allowing the storm to afflict his disciples first, he taught them a valuable lesson.


Do not be concerned when the Lord does not answer you when you call at first. There is a reason for his delay.


Sometimes, when the Lord comes we do not even recognize him! When Jesus came walking on the water they thought it was a ghost and they became even more fearful.


Sometimes the Lord will come to us through a brother or sister. We may think, “It is only so-and-so.” But it is really the Lord coming to us. The Lord’s hands and feet are no longer here on earth. His only hands and feet are our hands and feet. We represent the Lord to others if we are living by the life-supply.  We must be open to the Lord speaking through the brothers and sisters.


But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” [1]


The Lord is still speaking these words! He says to those who are afraid, those who are discouraged, those who feel like giving up: “Take heart!”


He says, “take heart,” but not in the way of some motivational speaker. There are many who speak encouraging words and try to be positive. They will tell you, “Think positive thoughts.” Or, “Change your thoughts and you will change your world.” And, “Believe in yourself.” “What you can conceive you can achieve.”


Jesus says, “Take heart,” but the reason why we can take heart is found in the next three words: “It is I.”


When Jesus is with us, we can truly take heartr and we can always take heart! We don’t look to ourselves and neither do we just have positive thoughts. We can be lifted up and we will be lifted up because it is the Lord who comes to us!


In his great book, The Story of Reality, Greg Koukl asks this question:


“Can a person be saved by faith?”


He answers: ‘Faith cannot save anyone, not even a Christian. Muslim suicide bombers overflow with authentic faith but it does them no good.”[2]


His point is that it is not faith itself that saves but the Person in whom we place our trust. We can have faith in the wrong person or the wrong thing. Christ has both the power and the willingness to change everything, including us! When he comes to us, we need not be afraid! His presence changes everything!


Jesus commands Peter to come to him. Peter begins walking on the water! We know the story. When he saw the wind he became fearful and began to sink.


The statement of Jesus to Peter is very significant:


Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”[3]


“O you of little faith!” There is no mistaking the meaning of what our Lord said. It was because of Peter’s lack of faith that he failed.


Faith was peter’s great need. Faith is our great need! Because faith is so vital we must know what it is.


Because there is so much misperception on the nature of faith, we should begin by stating what faith is not.


[1.] Faith is not wishful thinking. This is the concept that so many have about faith. If something about a belief system makes a person feel good or if it gives hope then they choose to have “faith.” In return for their faith they get to feel good or have a hope for the future. Under this idea, everyone gets to choose what they believe because it provides them something. And, it is impolite to question anyone’s “faith.” This is not the biblical, meaning true, definition of faith. Faith is not wishing.


[2.] Faith is not just a preference. If faith is not grounded in anything, which is the popular notion, then it becomes just a preference. You like chocolate ice cream and I like pistachio. It’s not too important who likes what. It just happens to be what we prefer.


[3.] Faith is not separated from facts or evidence. The idea that many have is that we know things based upon facts and then, for those things that we don’t know, we just have faith. That is not what faith is at all!


[4.] Faith is not just agreement or mental assent. It is not enough to simply believe the facts about who Jesus is and what he accomplished on the cross. It is not enough to believe that he rose from the dead. Now, one must believe those things. If you do not believe those things then you do not have faith. But just believing those things does not constitute saving faith. The demons believe all those things. Faith is far more than agreement.


So, what is faith? First, faith includes knowledge. We have faith in something because we know it to be true. We have faith in someone because we know that person to be true. If something isn’t true, it would be utterly foolish to believe it!


Does the Bible establish this understanding of faith? Emphatically, yes! First, knowledge and faith are used interchangeably very often in the New Testament. Just looking at one verse:


For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.[4]


Paul expected the Galatians to know that the gospel is from God, not to simply “believe” it in the modern sense of the word. (See these passages for further examples: Isaiah 40:28; 43:10; 45:3, 6; Matthew 9:6; Luke 1:4; John 8:28, 32; 21:24; Acts 2:36; Eph 1:17; I Tim 2:4; 4:3; Titus 1:1; Hebrews 2:3-4; 10:26; 2 Peter 2:20; I John 2:21; 4:16; 5:20; 2 John 1:1; 3 John 12)


Faith is not less than knowledge. It is more than knowledge. Faith is knowledge with a most important element added. That is trust. We exercise trust in what we know to be true. Faith involves the whole soul of a person. A person uses their mind to come to know. Their heart – emotions – is gripped by the reality of what they have come to know. And, they exercise their will to trust in what and Who they have come to know.


But, remember what Greg Koukl taught. That is, we must place our trust in the right Person. Only Christ is trustworthy. For the disciple of Christ, we can go further. Once we have trusted in Christ, we must also place our trust in the right promises.


Sometimes Christians will grab onto a promise that is not intended for them.


Here, in the incident of Peter, Jesus told Peter to come to him. The command was for Peter. If Peter had continued to trust the Lord’s word then he would have risen above the waves!


“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” – Those are the Lord’s words to Peter. He speaks these same words to you! You must take hold of the promises and commands of the Lord and actualize them through your trust in the truth of revelation!


Sometimes, the Lord asks us to do something small in order to see the promise. For Peter, all he had to do was take one step onto the water. The Lord did the rest. It was the Lord who enabled Peter to walk upon the waves. And, he will enable you to do the same.


What is your need? Find the promise. Believe it. Then, receive it!


Let us consider three needs that we may feel we lack. How about the physical needs of life? The food we eat. A roof over our heads. Clothes. Transportation. The Lord has promised that he will provide these things.


For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. [5]


Just as Peter had to take a step onto the water, the Lord directs you to seek God’s kingdom first. Seek those things that are right in God’s eyes. Then, trust in God’s provision because it is coming! I tell you, one reason why God’s children have a lack is because they are putting their own desires above the Lord’s. Seek God’s will first and see the Lord’s provision!


Consider peace of mind. There are many matters in life that will disrupt our peace of mind. But the Lord has promised peace to us! You must take hold of the promise!


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [6]


When we send a request to our God through Christ then we are promised peace. The only thing we must do is believe the promise!


Consider the most blessed gift of enjoyment. Some feel as if they lack joy in their lives. But, this too, is a promise that we can claim!


You make known to me the path of life;

in your presence there is fullness of joy;

at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. [7]


King David was able to pray this prayer because of his covenant relationship with the Lord. We have a similar covenant relationship with the Lord and, thus, this promise is for us, too!


Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. [8]


These are our Lord’s words to his disciples just prior to his crucifixion and resurrection. Since he has been resurrected, this promise is for every disciple. The Lord desires for you to have a full enjoyment of who He is and his provision for you. Believe it and receive it!


What the Lord says to Peter, he says to you: “Come!”


Find the promise and then live in the promise without doubting. See the hand of the Lord empower you and make you walk where you had not walked before!


Our passage ends this way:


 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” [9]


When the disciples saw the power of the Lord, they responded by worshipping Him. This is the right response to the power of the Lord Jesus. Of course, it is wrong to worship any created being. Thus, we see that Jesus is the unique Son of God and uncreated. This is why the disciples worshipped him. This is why the early church worshipped him. This is why the true church has always worshipped the Lord Jesus and why the cults like the Jehovah Witnesses and Iglesia Ni Christo do not worship him…because God’s children know who he is and the cults have another, false Jesus.


When you find a promise, live in it. Then, when the Lord empowers you on to a place above the waters, worship Him!


Live in the promise!






[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 14:27). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Greg Koukl, The Story of Reality (Harper Collins, Grand Rapids, MI; 2017) 136.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 14:31). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ga 1:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 6:32–33). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Php 4:6–7). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 16:11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[8] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 16:24). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[9] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 14:32–33). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.