Have you felt stuck in the middle, lonely, afraid? In today’s scripture the disciples were exactly in that situation: It was evening. They were in a boat. They were out on the Sea of Galilee and about half way across the lake. It grew dark. Jesus was not with them. The wind blowing against them and the sea became rough. Imagine this situation. You keep rowing painfully, but actually you don’t make headway. You don’t know what to do. You are stuck in the middle in your journey – scary, dark, and alone. Have you been in that situation? Or are you in that place today? You have good news. You are not the only one. The disciples have been there and delivered by our merciful Savior.
Many in Christian history have seen a spiritual reality in the disciples’ predicament. In other words, many suggest that these physical details – loneliness, darkness, and danger – also apply to the spiritual condition of those who are not in Christ or who are not walking with Christ as they should. The disciples without Jesus are toiling in the dark, frustrated, and tired. It is possible for those who believe in Jesus, at times, to be without him. So if you feel as if you are drifting alone on a lonely, dark and dangerous sea, the first thing you have to do is to examine yourselves whether you are walking closely with Christ. In 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul exhorts us in this way: “Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don't drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it” (MSG). Let us be honest and examine ourselves: “Am I walking closely with Christ today?”
Jesus knows where you are in your pilgrim journey. Jesus sees your pain and struggles. Today’s story is written in three different gospels – Matthew, Mark and John. In Mark 6:48 Mark says, “And he (Jesus) saw that they (the disciples) were making headway painfully…” At that time Jesus was on the mountain by himself to pray, and the disciples had already rowed about three or four miles. And it was dark stormy night. So when the Bible says Jesus saw the disciples struggle, it is supernatural, divine knowledge. In Psalm 139 David praises God’s intimate knowledge of his people: “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up. You discern my thoughts from afar… For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made… Your eyes saw my unformed substance…” You may think, “Nobody knows what I’m goring through, nobody feels the pain I’m experiencing.” Maybe there’s been a death in the family, a divorce, maybe we have health issues, and we feel very isolated and lonely. We start to think, “Nobody feels the pain.” But Jesus knows! He sees your pain. He understands your struggles.
And Jesus not only sees, but he cares! He comes to you! Mark 6:48 says, “And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night (3-6 am) he came to them, walking on the sea…” (ESV). Normally, we often focus on the miracle of Jesus walking on the water – how he comes to them. But actually, in this story much more important miracle is that Jesus comes to them. He gives his disciples the miracle of his presence when they thought there is no way he could be here. Who could have thought in the boat that Jesus could come to them at that very moment? Nobody! But Jesus did come to them. So what is the point of the story? Here Jesus is saying to us, “I will walk on water to be with you. I will walk on water to get to you. I will go through whatever issues and situations to get to you. I will get to you.” Jesus did not come into the world to give us an easy life, but an eternal life – to be with him, to walk with him, and to commune with him. He did not promise to deliver us from the sufferings of this present age, but he did promise to be with us. Jesus comes to us in a time of need, even when everybody else has walked out.
Greater Than Moses
The thing is we don’t often recognize Jesus even though he is so near to us. When Jesus was coming near to the disciples, they didn’t even think that was Jesus. Instead, they were terrified and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear (Matt 14:26). But Jesus said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid” (John 6:20). The clause “It is I” is from the original Greek ego eimi which literally means “I AM.” This expression reminds us of God’s divine name in Exodus 3:14. When Moses asked God’s name, God said to him, “I AM WHO I AM.” Jesus’ I am statement reveals his divinity – God in the flesh. Jesus did not just walk on water to impress his disciples, but there was an important message in it. At that time, people considered Moses their hero, the greatest prophet ever. Under the leadership of Moses, the Israelites passed through the sea on dry land and ate manna in the wilderness. But now, Jesus is the One who is greater than Moses. He personally walks on the sea as if he were walking on the dry land without waiting until God departs the sea. He provides bread from heaven, the better and true bread which gives people eternal life. These two miracles show that Jesus is greater than Moses and he is the Messiah, the Son of God.
Fix Your Eyes on Jesus
Jesus, greater than Moses, the Son of God, comes to you. In Matthew’s version of this story, by faith Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water as long as he fixed his eyes on Jesus. But when he turned his eyes and saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink. So what do you see? Do you see giant wind and waves? Or do you see Jesus who created them?
I would like to share a story of one man who fixed his eyes on Jesus in the middle of the storms of life. Nick Vujicic was born in 1982 in Melbourne, Australia, without arms and legs. His early days were difficult. In schools some of his friends made fun of him and called him, “freak” or “alien.” Throughout his childhood he struggled with depression and loneliness. He even tried to commit suicide when he was 10. He only focused on being “different” and “what he doesn’t have.” He just saw a life without limbs – a limited or no life at all. But at age 15, he surrendered his life to Jesus who came to him. By that time he blamed God for his pain. One day he read John 9. He read how Jesus said that the blind man was born that way so that the works of God would be revealed through him. He prayed to God “God, if you had a plan for that man I certainly believe that you have one for me.” Since that day, he fixed his eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of the faith. He totally let go of the ‘needing to know the plan’ and began to trust Jesus one day at a time. He began to be thankful for “what he has.” He has two toes on his left foot. By using them, he enjoys fishing, painting, and swimming. So far, he has been traveling more than 24 countries to share his story and the good news of Jesus Christ with millions. Nick says, “If God can use a man without arms and legs to be His hands and feet, then He will certainly use any willing heart!”
Take Jesus into the Boat!
Probably Nick prayed hundreds times to be healed. The miracle of healing. It didn’t happen the way he wished. Instead, Jesus came to him to be with him, to suffer with him, to heal his wounded heart, and to give him the purpose of life. Today’s story, Jesus walking on water, is not a story about stopping storms or getting people out of storms. We have been and will have storms of life – sufferings, trials, diseases, loss, and death – in our pilgrim journey. This is a story about taking Jesus into the boat. All of us in this room have our own issues – our family issues, our church issues, and our health issues. Jesus sees us and our issues. And he cares about us and comes to us. He will walk on water to be with us. He is greater than Moses. He is greater than storms. He is greater than our issues. He is able to help us, deliver us, sustain us, and guide us. When the disciples took Jesus into the boat, the Bible says, “immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going” (21). So let us trust Jesus. And take him into our boat with joy, and together with Jesus we will safely arrive at our final destination. Amen.
 Nick Vujicic, Life without Limbs, https://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org/