As you study the life of Jesus, you become amazed at the methodology He used in His ministry. You see Him laying hands on lepers, spitting on the eyes of an individual, rebuking evil spirits, speaking healing to someone miles away, commanding the dead to rise, multiplying food with His Word, using clay to restore sight, putting His fingers in the ears of the deaf, using His hand to lift up the inflicted, calming storms with a simple command, and so many other actions. There was always a purpose to His actions. Sometime when you seek to have an extended study period, spend time looking behind why He used certain tactics with different people. You will be blessed with what you find.
There was an incident where Jesus did something that, at first reading, would cause one to pause and wonder at His actions. After the feeding of the five thousand, the crowd began to push an agenda where Jesus would be presented as a King who would then lead the Jewish people in a movement to depose the Roman authority and restore Israel to its rightful place. (John 6:15) It was at this point that Jesus strongly urged the Apostles to get into a boat and cross the Sea of Galilee. He implied that He would join them later. (Matthew 14:22) Jesus did not want them to be caught up in the mob mentality. He then dismissed the crowd and went up into a mountain to spend time in prayer. (Matthew 14:23) For the next six to eight hours, Jesus was in prayer.
During that time, the Apostles were caught in a storm that was causing them a great deal of concern. The Bible says that Jesus saw them struggling and, at about 3:00 am, decided to interact with the Apostles. (Matthew 14:25) It is interesting to note that He saw them at night in the midst of a storm, being some five or more miles away! The next thing that happened was shocking. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus was planning on walking on the water right past His struggling Apostles. (Mark 6:48) Why would He do that? You would think that He would have come into the boat and brought assurance and peace. The Apostles happened to see the silhouette of an individual on the water and thought it was a spirit, which caused them to cry out! (Mark 6:49) Jesus stopped walking and yelled out to them, “Be of good cheer; it is I: be not afraid.” (Matthew 14:27) Peter then spoke, more out of fear than anything else, by shouting to Jesus that if it is really Him, bid him to come to Him on the water. Jesus simply told him to come and Peter quite unsure of himself, stepped out and took a few steps until fear took over and he started to drown. Peter cried out for Jesus to save him. Jesus caught him and together they got into the boat. The wind ceased and the boat was immediately at its destination. (Matthew 14:26-33) What is the lesson we draw from this experience?
Once we hear the Word, we are called upon to act on the Word. Many of these actions constitute faith. Some of these experiences are basically tests. As we set out to put the Word into action, we could face challenges. How we respond to these situations reveals how strong our faith is. When we are in a “storm,” realize Jesus is nearby, like a lifeguard. He sees what we are going through and is well aware of how we are responding to our “test.” Just when we seem overwhelmed, we need to look to the “starboard” and see Jesus. Realize He is near. We don’t need to call out in fear but respond with cheerful confidence that we will get through the storm and reach the other side. (Matthew 14:27) Another lesson to learn from this story is that Christians need to be aware of people that are trying to make Jesus into the center of their self-promoting faith. We must never try to mold Jesus around what we want, but rather submit ourselves as clay to the Potter’s hands.(Jeremiah 18:6) There are at least two more lessons to be taken from this Biblical account. See if you can identify them. (Matthew 14:22-33, Mark 6:45-51, John 6:14-21)