The Christian And Trials

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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.

Jesus made His disciples get into a ship without Him. This “ship” is a fisherman’s boat, probably one of his disciple’s boats.

Matthew 4:18-22 Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. 21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

Jesus found His first disciples in a fishing boat. He called them to Himself, and they left their boats to follow Him. Now Jesus is sending them away on a boat.

When Jesus calls us to salvation, He calls us to leave everything and follow Him. But then Jesus sends us back to our lives to serve Him, to honor Him as we go about our lives. He sends us

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.

Word Study The word translated “constrained” is the Greek ἀναγκάζω anankázō, {pronounced an-ang-kad’-zo}, which means “to compel, to force, to drive, to demand as necessary”. Jesus wanted His disciples to get into this boat and go across the water to the other side, while He dispersed the crowd. Jesus would send the multitude away. The disciples did not want to leave Jesus. They wanted to stay with Jesus, and I understand this.

That morning the disciples discovered that John the Baptist had been martyred for the faith(Matthew 14:13). John’s suffering and death reminds us, Beloved, that ..

Christians, YOU Will Suffer In The World
For Following Jesus

John did not die a natural death. John stood up for Biblical truth, and was horribly martyred for it. King Herod, the despot puppet ruler of Israel, had imprisoned John because Herod had taken his brother’s wife to himselfcommitting adultery, a terrible sin that violates the sanctity of marriage. The Bible says:

Matthew 14:4 … John said unto {Herod}, It is not lawful for thee to have her.

Herod! The Word of God says you will not steal your brother’s wife! Herod, like many who are unbelievers, became enraged when called out on his sin. He imprisoned John in a dungeon. John was a holy man, the greatest Prophet ever born according to Jesus (see Matthew 11:11). Nonetheless Herod imprisoned him for honoring God’s Word. Lusting after another family member, Herod’s stepdaughter asked that John be beheaded, and the head be given to her. Herod complied. Though he was sorry for it, he did so anyway, because he told his stepdaughter he would do whatever she asked.

Christian, you can do everything right, follow the Lord as best you can, but if you honor Jesus and the Word of God Jesus said “you will be hated by the world”.

Matthew 10:34-36 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

John the Baptist is a picture of the faithful servant of Christ living in this fallen world. We, like John, are to live for Jesus regardless as to what others say. John lived his life not for himself, but for Christ. He was

The Voice of one crying in the wilderness, saying, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (John 1:23; Isaiah 40:3).

The world despises repentance, but we are called to say what John and Jesus said. We are to preach repentance from sin, and pointed all who would hear to the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, just as John did. We are to be faithful servants of God our Savior.

Beloved, Christianity is not the mega Church Pastor, the rock star Worship Leader. Christianity goes forward when every person lives for Jesus, shining for Him, whether you are recognized or not.

John served the Lord and died alone in a prison, beheaded for his faith. Herod’s stepdaughter danced with his head on a silver charger. Your heart may be asking:

“Where is God in all this?
Why didn’t Jesus have John freed from prison?”

God is still there, but part of our lot in life, our purpose, is to suffer with Jesus. The Scripture declares:

2 Timothy 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us..

The Apostle Paul told Timothy:

2 Timothy 3:10-12 But thou hast fully known my … persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yea, and ALL THAT WILL LIVE GODLY IN CHRIST JESUS SHALL SUFFER PERSECUTION.

If you are living as a Child of God in the Kingdom of God you will be despised by the world. When a Christian tells me “Oh, I get along with everyone”, then my mind goes back to the words of our Lord Jesus:

John 15:18-21 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

If your worldly friends are satisfied with the way of life you both live and speak of, then you are not perhaps walking in the light but in gray and black darkness.

We as Christians are not to be holier than thou, for this is a smoke in God’s nostrils (Isaiah 65:5). But we are also not to call right wrong, or darkness to be light (Isaiah 5:20). Followers of Christ are to follow Jesus, to love God with all our hearts and minds, and to treat others as we want to be treated.

Love is our way of life. But we are never to compromise with darkness. When you walk with Christ in the light, you will anger those bound in darkness. Follow Jesus anyway. Follow Jesus, knowing the world will despise you. Follow and love. John’s death frightened Jesus’ disciples, and they wanted to stay with Jesus. That is a normal response. But Jesus wanted them in the boat.

Trials Grow The Christian’s Faith

After Jesus commands His disciples on the boat we read:

Matthew 14:23 … when {Jesus} had sent the multitudes away, {Jesus} went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, HE WAS THERE ALONE.

Jesus put His disciples in a ship to head across the waters to Capernaum (Luke 6:17). The Jesus Who fed over 5000 with a tiny child’s meal, this Jesus puts us in situations where we must trust Him no matter what may come.

Jesus put His disciples in the boat on purpose, to try them, to grow their faith. The Apostle Peter who was on this boat would later write about trials, saying:

1 Peter 1:3-7 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

When we are tried, dear Christian, we still have the assurance of salvation. Every Christian is “kept by the power of God”. God shed His Son’s Blood for our salvation. God sent His Spirit to abide with us. God has invested so much in us that He would not abandon us. No, our salvation was costly to God. The intent of salvation and the heart of our Great Shepherd Jesus (John 10) is to grow our faith, to make us more like Him. Because of this Christ often compels us to get on the boat, to row out to midst of the sea, and to trust Him where ever He may take us. Continuing our text:

Matthew 14:24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.

Where is Jesus when the boat we’re in is tossed, when the winds blow us contrary to the waves, so it seems as if we will sink? Where is Jesus in the midst of this Coronavirus pandemic? Where is Jesus when the Churches in California are being forcibly closed by a despotic governor? Where is Jesus when disease strikes, when death comes to someone I love? Where is He? Jesus is where He always is. He is there with us, if we would but call His name.

The Evangelist Mark tells us in his accounting of this event:

Mark 6:46-48 … when {Jesus} had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. 47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. 48 AND HE SAW THEM TOILING IN ROWING; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.

Though Jesus in His humanity was praying on the shore, in His deity Jesus was aware of what His disciples were going through. Our Jesus never takes His eyes off of His Children. He knew what was going to happen when He put them on the boat. Jesus knew what they were going through. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He said:

John 10:11, 13-14 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. … 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd ….

Christ Child, Jesus cares for you. He is not caring for us because we are paying Him to do so. He paid for us by dying on Calvary. He suffered for us at the Cross. Jesus will not abandon that which He paid so much for. Never!

Romans 5:6, 8 … when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. … 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

The Savior Who gave everything for us will not abandon us when trials come. His love binds Him to us. The trials He allows in our lives are to mold us and make us more like Him. The Scripture says:

Romans 8:38-39 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 creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Perhaps the boat you’re in today is being tossed about with waves. Perhaps you are suffering by disease, or age. Perhaps you have lost someone you love. Call upon Jesus. Don’t row against the storm – Call upon Jesus!

The Gospel of Mark tells us in a parallel text that Jesus would have passed by them (Mark 6:48). Why would Jesus pass them by? Because of unbelief.

Earlier in the day Jesus did something that only the Messiah could do. Jesus fed above 5000 people with a child’s meal, and everyone ate to their fill. Furthermore, there were twelve baskets full of bread left over after all had eaten. Jesus is the Messiah. Rather than call out to Jesus, the disciples row harder and harder against the storm. They use their own strength the battle a thing that no human can battle. They rely upon their own strength rather than Jesus Christ. Had they cried out to Jesus sooner, perhaps they would not be so weakened later! But Beloved, how often do we do the same thing? When faced with something overwhelming … something like this Coronavirus … are we fighting it by calling on the Name of Jesus, or are we rowing against the storm.

Jeremiah 17:5-8 Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. 6 For he shall be like the heath {tumbleweed} in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. 7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. 8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

When trials come, we are to cry out to Jesus. Call upon Him Who gave everything to save us. Yet many times we are like these men. When trials come, we pull harder on the oars. We try harder. We will not be defeated! We can DO it! What has God, our Loving Creator, told us?

Psalms 118:8-9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

Jesus went out on the sea to save His children, but was not going to stop unless they called upon Him. “He would have passed them by”. When we struggle against the trial in our own power, God often “passes us by”. He wants us to rely upon Him, to heed Him, to call out His Name.

Matthew 14:25-27 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.

They are not looking for Jesus in faith, but are allowing the storm to control them. Unbelief has blinded them so much that they now see Jesus as a boogie man, a ghost, a “spirit”. This is no boogie man, no ghost. This is Jesus.

Christ Calls Us From The Boat To Follow Him
Christ Puts Us In The Boat To Test & Grow Our Faith
Christ Bids Us To Leave The Boat With Him

Why was Peter the Chief Apostle? Have you ever thought about that? Jesus called Andrew, Peter’s brother, to salvation before He called Peter. In fact, Peter was introduced to Christ by Andrew his brother. “Peter, come, we have found the Messiah” (John 1:41). Andrew was first. Why wasn’t he the chief Apostle? Because ..

Peter put his faith in action. Faith is not to sit and soak. Faith hears the Lord, and steps out into discomfort because Jesus bids we go.

Matthew 14:27-29 … 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.

I have heard a number of preachers talk about Peter walking on the water. They usually focus on this part,

Matthew 14:30 … But when {Peter} saw the wind boisterous, {Peter} 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?

I hear so many say “Peter shouldn’t have taken his eyes off of Jesus”, and that is true. However, I want you to look at this a different way. I ask you,

How many people in all of human history can say that they ever walked on water like Peter did?
I can’t think of anyone – can you?

Peter walked on water. He asked Jesus if he get out of the boat, then Peter got out of the boat. Peter stepped off of a tossing ship, cast about by wind and waves, to stand in the middle of this same wind and waves with no protection whatsoever.

While the 11 disciples clung to the boat in the midst of the raging sea, Peter stepped out of the boat and Jesus clung to him. Faith exercised is not always perfect.

When you were tiny babies, you at one point took your first step. How many times does a baby fall when it tries to walk? Many times. Yet its parents are there to lift the child up, to encourage that baby to try again. Let me put it this way:

When Jesus said “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”, was He looking at Peter, or was He looking at those clinging to the boat? Jesus took Peter back into the boat with Him, and then “the wind ceased” (verse 32). Peter tried and failed, but he at least tried. The other 11 did not.

The Bible says:

Matthew 14:33 … they that were in the ship came and worshiped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

Jesus is Who He says He is. We are to love Him, and keep our eyes on Him. Let us look to Jesus and, as He leads us to the boat, let us go where He says. When He bids we leave the boat, let us go where He is. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus. May God’s Holy Spirit touch our hearts to hear and apply this Scripture in our lives this very day. Amen and Amen.

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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