The Boat

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Matthew 14:22-33 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. [23] And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. [24] But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. [25] And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. [26] And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. [27] But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. [28] And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. [29] And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. [30] But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. [31] And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? [32] And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. [33] Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

The story of Jesus walking on the water is in Matthew, Mark, and John, but the story of Peter walking on the water is found only in Matthew.

Why is that? I really don’t know. There are great truths in the Scripture, and many things that we do not understand. The Bible has many mysteries – but it also has much revealed truth that God wants us to understand. We must always remember when we approach the Bible that it is God breathed, and that God has said:

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)

8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways,

And My thoughts than your thoughts.

When we read the Word of God we are not reading a newspaper nor a Reader’s Digest. We are reading God’s Word. The story starts with:

Matthew 14:22 And STRAIGHTWAY Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, WHILE HE SENT THE MULTITUDES AWAY.

We read “Straightway” or “right after THIS” Jesus put His disciples in a boat and sent the multitudes away. Who were these “multitudes”. These were the +5000 people that Jesus fed with two small fish and five loaves of bread. After taking a child’s Happy Meal and multiplying it to where it fed +5000 people and had twelve baskets full of leftovers besides Jesus SENT THE MULTITUDES AWAY. Jesus loved the people. He cared for the people. He fed the people. But now He sends the masses away and sends His DISCIPLES out on a boat.

Learning is progression. You don’t start out knowing your ABCs. Someone had to sit with you and show you – over and over again – your ABCs. You had to sing them, say them, write them. The disciples are in the School of Faith. If you don’t understand the Feeding of the Five Thousand then you won’t understand what comes next.

Mark 6:51-52 (NKJV) Then {Jesus} went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. 52 For THEY HAD NOT UNDERSTOOD ABOUT THE LOAVES, BECAUSE THEIR HEART WAS HARDENED.

You can harden your hearts. You can sleep through the lesson. You can stay up late the night before and not pay attention and learn nothing. Will your hearts be open to His message?

Jesus Put His Disciples In A Boat

Matthew 14:22-24 … Jesus CONSTRAINED his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. [23] And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. [24] But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 

Jesus CONSTRAINED. This is the Greek ἀναγκάζω anagkazō which means “to compel, to force”. Jesus gave them no choice. Jesus said “You get in the boat – You go on without Me – You go to the other side”. Jesus put His disciples in a boat. He went off by Himself to pray, and put them in a boat without Him.

Jesus Put His Disciples In A Boat HEADED TOWARD TROUBLE.

We all have troubles. We all have trials. We all have things that scare us and hurt us. We should never get into a boat headed toward trouble by ourselves. There are times we get into a BOATLOAD OF TROUBLE because we do the things that God tells us not to do. Sometimes we sin, either doing what God tells us NOT to do, or by NOT DOING what God tells us to do. We make peace with sin. No disciple of Christ is to make peace with sin.

The WAGES of SIN is DEATH!

No disciple should get in a boat with sin. We are told in James 4:4-8 (NKJV) Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? 6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

People get in a bad boat when we get in the boat with the world. Christ sent the MULTITUDES away – but the disciples got in the boat of faith. If JESUS puts you in the boat, rest in His love. Trust Him!

God lets storms come to grow our faith. They are not accidents if you are following Jesus! They are not mistakes if you are hearing His voice. Jesus knew the boat would hit a storm, and put them in that boat anyway. Jesus wants us to get our eyes on HIM. If your momma had never released your hand you would never walk. If your daddy had not stopped pushing the bike you would never learn to ride. Our Heavenly Father releases us to the boat so our faith can grow. If Jesus put you in the boat, rest! Learn! Obey!

We are told in: Mark 6:46-48 (NKJV) And when {Jesus} had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. 47 Now when evening came, the BOAT WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEA; and He was alone on the land. 48 Then HE SAW THEM straining at rowing, for the wind was against them.

When Jesus Puts You In The Boat, He Watches Over You

Jesus does not abandon His Children. Jesus said:

John 10:10-11 (NKJV) … I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 11 I am the GOOD SHEPHERD. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

Jesus Christ came to this earth that we might have abundant life, the life that God designed us to live. He did not come that we might be enslaved to sin and to fear and to death. He came to be our Good Shepherd. Jesus gave His life for you and for me. The Bible declares:

Romans 5:6-8 (NKJV) For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

As Jesus prayed on that mountaintop, He prayed for His people. And as He prayed alone, He still looked out AND SAW HIS DISCIPLES. Jesus makes intercession for those that are His. He prays for us. He never abandons us in the trial, but watches the trial and lets the trial mold us into His image.

Romans 8:34-36, 38-39 (NKJV) Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, WHO ALSO MAKES INTERCESSION FOR US. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus was not with them in that boat, but He was not far away. He watched. He saw them straining at the oars. He heard their heart beat rapidly. He saw their fear.

When Jesus Puts You In The Boat, He Will Come To You

Then when the time was right, Jesus went to them. We read:

Matthew 14:24-25 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. [25] And in the FOURTH WATCH OF THE NIGHT JESUS WENT UNTO THEM, walking on the sea.

Jesus went to His disciples. He goes to His Children when we are tried. But I want you to notice that He went at the FOURTH WATCH of the NIGHT. They were in the fourth quarter, the last part of the night, a time between three and six in the morning. Someone once said “it is always darkest before the dawn”. That was when Jesus went to them.

Why did Jesus wait so long?

Why did He watch them struggle so?

Because they had not called on Him.

They saw Jesus feed over 5000 people with five biscuits and two fish, and saw 12 baskets full of leftover after everyone was fed. If Jesus could do that couldn’t He save His people? Of course He could. But they never called out for Jesus. They struggled. They rowed. They strained. They did everything they could do to get to the other side, but they couldn’t get to the other side.

They couldn’t have fed the 5000 plus people if Jesus had not been there!

The Psalmist wrote: Psalm 107:24-29 (NKJV) They see the works of the Lord, And His wonders in the deep. 25 For He commands and raises the stormy wind, Which lifts up the waves of the sea. 26 They mount up to the heavens, They go down again to the depths; Their soul melts because of trouble. 27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, And are at their wits’ end. 28 THEN THEY CRY OUT TO THE LORD IN THEIR TROUBLE, And He brings them out of their distresses. 29 He calms the storm, So that its waves are still.

If Christ puts you in the boat, rely on Him when the wind and waves come. Had they cried out to Jesus I do not believe they would have had to wait until the fourth watch of the night. When we try to do it ourselves Christ will often stand back and watch until the fourth watch. The depth of their unbelief is seen in their response to Jesus coming.

What did they say when they saw Jesus come?
Praise God, HERE IS JESUS!
No. Look at their response.

Matthew 14:26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and THEY CRIED OUT FOR FEAR.

When you let fear and the flesh take control, faith goes out the door. Here was Jesus ready to save them, but they are consumed of fear. They did not cry out in FAITH but in FEAR. But Christ had mercy on them. All three Evangelists report Jesus saying:

Matthew 14:27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; BE NOT AFRAID.

Mark 6:50 (NKJV) … immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; DO NOT BE AFRAID.”

John 6:20 (NKJV) … But He said to them, “It is I; DO NOT BE AFRAID.”

Fear and pride are twin snakes that will rob your of joy and peace. Someone once said:

When we WALK with the Lord we FOLLOW
When we DANCE with the Lord HE LEADS

Jesus IMMEDIATELY told His disciples “Be of GOOD CHEER. It is I. Do not be afraid”. Christ put them in THIS boat. They need not fear. He is able. He is Lord. He is in control. As long as Christ is with us we need not fear. The Scripture says:

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV) 10 Fear not, for I AM WITH YOU; Be not dismayed, for I AM YOUR GOD. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Isaiah 43:2-3 (ESV) When you pass through the waters, I WILL BE WITH YOU; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

When Christ is with us we need not fear. Fear must not control us, but faith. Focus on Christ. Follow Him where ever He leads.

To Be Blessed Of Jesus, Follow Him By Faith

Now we come to the part of the story that is exclusive to Matthew. We read:

Matthew 14:28 And PETER answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

Lord, if it’s REALLY You, let me come to You on the water”. Peter had a twinge of doubt in his heart – at least that’s how it seems to me. Peter said “IF it’s You”. So Peter had a little doubt. But Jesus didn’t hesitate. Jesus simply said:

Come!

And Peter got out of the boat. Peter walked on water. That’s what God wants us to do. He wants us to walk on water. He wants us to go to Him by faith, to reject all fear, and to follow Him where ever He bids us go.

when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus

Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus. His eyes were focused on the Savior. And as long as His focus was Christ, he was boundless. The laws of nature did not apply to Peter. In this moment he did something only Jesus has ever done.

He walked on the water!

But then we read:

Matthew 14:30 But WHEN HE SAW THE WIND BOISTEROUS, HE WAS AFRAID; and BEGINNING TO SINK…

Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and started to sink. I’ve heard preachers talk about Peter, cutting Peter down because he took his eyes off of Jesus and started to sink. But Beloved, Peter MAY have taken his eyes off of Jesus …

…but at least he got out of the boat!

I’ve never heard a preacher talk about those 11 slugs that stayed in the boat!

Peter got out of the boat.

Peter walked on water.

Those who sat on their behinds did nothing of note.

Jesus said of His Church: John 14:12 (ESV) Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

Peter walked on water because he trusted Jesus just that much. He got out of the boat. He got up off his backside and followed Jesus. And so must be.

As Peter looked away and started to sink he prayed the PERFECT PRAYER.

Matthew 14:30-33 … beginning to sink, he cried, saying, LORD, SAVE ME. [31] And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him

This is the perfect prayer. I have heard preachers pray long and windy prayers, wandering around the outside of the house but never knocking at God’s door. Peter had no time to be eloquent, yet His prayer was effective. How do I know? Because the text tells us “IMMEDIATELY Jesus stretched forth His hand and caught him”. That’s a good prayer that gets an immediate answer from the Savior.

When You’re Drowning, Use Peter’s Prayer

Peter prayed the simplest prayer. This prayer will save a drowning Peter, and convert a Saul to Paul. This is the best prayer ever uttered.

Lord”. Jesus, You are my Lord. I am not Lord of my life, You are Lord of my life. I’m about to drown, but You can save me. You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I am not looking to others to save me. I am not crying out to those in the boat. I need You alone. “Lord”.

Save”. Jesus, I’m not asking You to help me, to strengthen my hand. I am unable to save myself. I am drowning in sin. I am lost at sea. Jesus, save me. Grab my hand and pull me up. I need You. I need ALL of You. “Save”

Me”. Lord, I need You. I am drowning. I am not looking at anyone else now. You deal with those in the boat. I don’t care what they think of me. I’m not worried about what someone thinks if I walk the aisle and kneel at the altar. I don’t care if people see my tears. Jesus, You came for me. “Lord, Save Me”.

The Bible tells us that …

Matthew 14:31-33 … And IMMEDIATELY Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? [32] And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. [33] Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

Did you notice that it was not until “THEY (Jesus and Peter) were come into the ship, the wind ceased”? Someone may be watching you right now. They may be watching to see if YOU get out of the boat. They are perhaps watching to see if YOU will come to altar and pray. Maybe a brother, a sister, a friend, a parent, a child is watching. Peter got out of the boat. But when Peter got back in the boat WITH JESUS the storm stopped, and the others were blessed.

Will you follow Jesus? Will you give yourselves to Him?

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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