< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Jesus Walks on Water - Part 3

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Jesus Walks on Water - Part 3

John 6:20 But he said to them, "It is I; don't be afraid."

He said, “It’s I, don’t be afraid.” Sometimes people will tell you not to worry and you still do because there’s always the chance they don’t know what they’re talking about! Or they really have no control. And there are certainly a lot of things to fear in life! Whether someday some doctor will tell us we have a terminal illness, or someone we love and need does, that we’ll lose our job and have to sell our house, terrorism, death, lots of things, but Jesus is more powerful then anything on earth or in the universe. We have no reason to fear when we rely on Him. And He will come to us even when our faith is imperfect. When we have doubt. All we need is just enough faith to call out to God to save us. And He will.

In the Bible there are 2 stories about Jesus and storms. One time He calmed the storm and another He calmed His children. It’s the same with our trials.

Occasionally He might resolve our problem for us. More often then not though He’ll just be with us through it. Because our trials have a purpose.

From trials we can learn: patience, trust in God, to focus on God instead of worldly things and to be more compassionate. We learn how to help others through their trials, humbleness, priorities and how to be grateful. Sometimes trials just stop us from doing something we shouldn’t be doing!

This story is teaching us that the only thing that calms our fears is faith. Faith in the Lord who comes to us in the midst of the winds and waves of life. Who speaks to us and says, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” He said it to the disciples then and says it to us now.

Earthquakes, tornadoes, Aids, mindless senseless killings, drugs, fears that wake you up in the middle of the night and weigh you down during the day…it may not look like He’s in control, but He is. And you know how we know that? Because all of these things were prophesied in the Bible. He foretold them since before the beginning of time. So there is a purpose in them. And He can and will make good things come from bad. Faith overcomes fear. Faith that Jesus is the Son of God sent for our salvation. He has overcome death. When He says be not afraid, it is I – He’s saying “it is I, Jesus! The Son of God, able to do all these things.”

Whenever we have any kind of trial, particularly, those into which we know God directs us, we can remember 3 things promised in 1st Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

1.Trials are common to all people. We think no one has it as bad as we do. No one has suffered as much as we have. That no one understands what we’re going through. But, we have to face our trials with courage. Even as Christians, maybe especially as Christians, we can’t avoid trials. In this situation Jesus actually sent them into the storm.

2.God is faithful. He will never let us be tempted or tried beyond what we can bear. Jesus stands by God’s throne in constant intercessory prayer for us. Remember the story of the 3 men thrown into the furnace in the book of Daniel? And the king looked in and saw 4 men? And one was an angel? And no one ended up being hurt? That was Jesus. The worse times we are going through, the closer He is!

3.In every trial God will provide a way out. Just as Jesus didn’t let the disciples struggle on the sea indefinitely. He will come to us, but like this example of Him walking on water, it may not be as we would expect Him to. The “way out” may be a helpful friend God sends us. A promise we read in the Bible, an offer of a job, a good book to read that ends up inspiring us or giving us hope or even a solution. It could be a sense of His presence when we’re praying, or the knowledge that, hey, this thing I’ve been going through has actually helped me! It’s made me stronger or opened doors for me in ways I would never have thought of myself. Like kids going through cancer and deciding to become a doctor kind of thing.

We should never just wallow in self-pity. Or try to get others to pity us. We should never become bitter or resentful. We shouldn’t even choose to feel we’re alone because it’s not true. We always have Christ. When He sends His help, like the disciples, we need to reach out and pull Him into the boat with us. The saying, “Jesus never promised it would be a smooth ride, just that He would get you to your destination and that it would be worth it.” may have come from this story.

Jesus is greater then anything that happens to us. Whatever His purpose for us, whatever He’s told us to do, even if it takes us into a stormy sea, He is responsible for us. We are His love gifts from His father!

Look at verse 21: Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

Do you see? They had struggled for 8 hours to get half way. But, once Jesus was with them they got immediately to the other side!

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