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Faith that Walks on Water Matthew 14: 24-33
The story of Peter walking on water comes after a very sombre time for Jesus. At the beginning of the chapter, Jesus is informed that his cousin and fellow kingdom missionary John the Baptist had been beheaded by Herod. Jesus sought to be alone and set off to a deserted place, but He was followed and found by the crowds who had great need of Him. Having compassion for them, rather than send them away, he healed many and ministered to their needs. He also blessed two fish and 5 loaves and miraculously fed more than 5000 people with surplus besides. When they had eaten, Jesus finally, dismissed the crowds and sent the disciples ahead of him and went to the mountain alone to pray. A change had been signalled by John’s death, things were shifting – the timing, the tragic close of John’s mission as the forerunner to Christ was the endorsement of Jesus the Messiah. Jesus needed to commune with the Father in prayer – What is He to make of John the Baptist’s death? Is the timing of His death significant? What meaning had it for Him? Jesus sets the example of what is needed in troubled times, He dismisses the crowds and seeks quiet time alone to hear from God, to seek guidance and wisdom. Like Jesus, we too can seek to discern events that mark our time - What is happening around us? What events are signalling to us that time alone with God is needed? What time is it? What season are we in? Are we seeing our events through God’s eyes?
The disciples having been sent ahead were well into their journey, in the midst of the sea in stormy waters. Jesus having no boat walked on water to meet them! The sight of such impossibility caused the disciples to imagine that they had seen a ghost, they were terrified at this awesome sight, - Jesus walking on water!!! Imagine their possible thoughts; What on earth is this? Are we seeing correctly? This must be a dream??...Jesus speaks into their fears “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Before we go on, Let’s stop for a moment and meditate a little further on what can be made of this event using what we know of Christ in light of His Word and this miraculous event. Sharing my thoughts here is merely a perspective, they may also be reflections and repetitions of what you have heard before but this is done for the purpose that we will, like the Disciples worship and affirm, “Truly, You are the Son of God.”
Jesus is the Creator of ALL things; all creation, He is One with creation, He is LORD over creation, He is united with creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Col 1:16. The waters can bear Him, yet it remains fluid. How is this possible? It is His bond with that which He has created; it is His unity with creation that permits such possibility. The One who creates knows the design, the pattern, the materials and elements used. Additionally, ‘ALL’ of creation is part of who that He is. An example that comes to mind is that of the body; just like our limbs, parts of our bodies that move automatically when required, it seems creation being united with Jesus moves in automation by His will and His thoughts. “…For You created all things and by Your will they exist and were created.” Rev 5:11 The Sea and the waves move as part of Jesus can therefore support Him and be controlled by Him. “… in him all things hold together. Col 1:15-17; “…sustaining all things by his powerful word.” Heb1: 2-3
All were terrified but only Peter saw a possibility, an opportunity through which he desired to exercise his faith and meet Jesus on the ‘waters of impossibility’. “…If it is you command me to come to you on the water.” Upon Jesus’ invitation, Peter stepped out of the boat and as he had hoped – Peter found himself walking on water. Peter’s desire was powered into faith by Jesus’ invitation and here his faith became the unifying principle. Peter’s faith connected him to an extraordinary space where the Creator and creation were unified – A space in time that Jesus was holding on the earth for Peter to exercise his faith. Peter by faith, for a moment became a participator of what I choose to call the ‘miraculous impossibility’. Faith connected Peter to Jesus in an unusual way and his faith became the firm foundation upon which he walked to Jesus – faith saw a possibility beyond the natural realm and made it a living reality.
Faith sees extraordinary possibilities beyond the natural and asks for such possibilities to become a reality in the business of everyday life. Such empowerment and strength to exercise this kind of faith is found in faith’s connectivity to Christ, faith’s unity with Christ and Jesus’ transference of divine abilities to the Believer which permits them to participate in His power over all earthly realities. It can be said of,” …I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Phil 4:13
Peter initially steps out of the boat onto the water completely aware of the storm, faith is his motivator. However, as he stepped toward Jesus, he is confronted by the wind in such a way that caused him to be fearful, fear was now causing him to sink. Peter was faced with a snapshot decision, to remain focussed upon Christ ahead of him or be overcome with fear at the wind about him… “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately stretched out his hand and lifted him up and said, “What little faith you have! Why would you let doubt win?” (TPT) “…Why did you doubt and dance back and forth between following Me and heeding fear?” (The Voice). Faith in life, here on the ground is beset with choices and we like Peter are caught at the crossroad of decision where we either choose to sustain faith in face of adversity or adverse circumstances, despite our fear or choose to let imposing circumstances win over believing in a reality that is often unique to us and has no supporting evidence outside of that which is seen by faith, in Christ.
2020 has offered up a number of life events and challenges that have hit like waves across the Globe. Due to the current Pandemic, we have been engaged in worship outside of our church buildings and like the rest of the world we have been living in lockdown; many living alone, or as couples or as family with reduced social activities and social engagements. We the Church have been challenged to find new ways to engage with worship and ‘being’ outside of the Church building. Lockdown is easing and Churches are making renewed attempts to resume Worship though, for some the solid walls of the Church Building may remain temporarily unavailable due to shielding. We have been reminded during this time to live as we have been called – understanding the reality that the Church is more than the building, we as individuals form the church, each a ‘living stone’ finding our security in Christ. During this time, we have been continually challenged to find our true focus in Christ, going to deeper levels of faith in Him and rediscovering the true source of our motivation.
There have been so many unknowns; much uncertainty and indecision. Every concern, every doubt and every moment of uncertainty is a moment upon which we are called to rely on the very gift that makes us Christian Believers’; that of Faith. We follow Jesus as disciples, not into the known and the familiar but into the unknown completely dependent upon him for every step, it is and will be our faith that we keep us afloat. it will also be the depth of our personal relationship with Him and our ability to trust Him in the unknown, in the times of limitations that we will find our freedom in Him despite times of confinement.
Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) Lyrics (Hillsongs) https://youtu.be/dy9nwe9_xzw
You call me out upon the
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
And I will call upon Your
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Saviour
(Posted 5th July)
We may not be meeting at present but we will be continuing to Pray for the present situation.
If you are looking for Spiritual support, especially at this time, please contact Pastor Joyce on 07904996026 or email Pastor@hobc.org.uk
It's okay not to be okay
God meets you where you are.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble"
Psalm 46. V1
Our Motto for 2020 Image- Fota Gardens, Cork, S.Ireland