Saturday, July 10, 2021

Peter's Baptism


Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz
Today we read that Jesus “constrained” His Disciples to get into a ship, and go on ahead to the other side of the Sea of Galilee without Him. From the east side of the Sea, they would be tacking to the western shore. Expert fishermen many of them, this should have been a normal crossing.

In John 4:4, it says, “And he must needs go through Samaria,” and once there, He met the woman at the well. There was a purpose in everything that Jesus did, everywhere He traveled, and every means of travel He chose. And in this crossing of the Galilee, there was something specific Jesus would do in full view of the Disciples’ boat. Would superstitions take them over?

From Bethlehem to Calvary, nothing was left to chance. People, places, and things were all planned for, and no “Plan B” was ever necessary. Jesus is God.

If the miraculous feeding of the multitude was not enough, He must had needs to cross the Sea alone. It was not a last minute decision; it was not a spur of the moment opportunity. Jesus’ timing was perfect. This was to be a “teachable moment,” planned for since before the Earth’s foundation was laid.

The feeding of the multitude did hold their attention, and the success of it was because of Jesus directing and providing for it. But the crossing of the Sea would prove to be more than even the best of sailors was prepared to accomplish. The fishermen among them, Peter, Andrew, James, and John had spent a lifetime fishing these same 5 X 8 miles of water. They knew every cove and inlet. They knew the best fishing holes. It was something they had done hundreds of times; they likely thought they cross it blindfolded.

Jesus’ plans for them on this trip would take them fully out of their comfort zone, and He would reveal a little more of Himself to them.

Have you ever found yourself out of your comfort zone in the midst of the familiar? You might have cried out, “What’s going on?!” Someone turned your world upside-down. You were suddenly in unfamiliar waters!

For with God nothing shall be impossible. -  Luke 1:37

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”  -  
John 15:5 

Today's Audio Message:

Matthew 14:22-36 - "Peter's Baptism


Hebrews 11 says, Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Throughout the Scriptures, we learn that in this life we must live by faith, which is difficult because we naturally prefer to live by sight. Our fear and doubt interferes with our faith and we look for something visible in which to trust. But God gives us the promises of his Word, accompanied by the help of his Holy Spirit,
to help us live by faith.

As we finish up Matthew 14, we read of the account of Jesus walking on the water. The disciples had been in the sea battling the storm for several hours. They were exhausted from pulling the oars. They were frightened that drowning was imminent. And just when they thought all was lost, Jesus comes out to them walking on the sea, but they don't recognize Him. Fear is getting the better of them. They think Jesus is a "spirit." And instantly Jesus calls out to them, He reveals Himself in the midst of the storm to calm their fears. 

Peter full of doubt says if it's really you call me out to you. And Jesus said "come."  As Peter takes a step of faith, gets out of the boat in a terrible storm and began walking on the water towards Jesus.  Fear takes hold of him.  He starts to sink, sinking in fear. His eyes are off of the Lord. He sees the storm, the wind driven waves....terror strikes. He cries out, "Lord, save me." Immediately Jesus is there to rescue him.

It wasn’t faith in himself that Peter needed. It was not confidence in himself that would keep him above water. What Peter feared revealed that his faith in the power and sovereignty of Jesus was not as solid as he thought. When Jesus says, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” isn’t he pointing out that even with the storm in view, Peter had nothing to fear, because when walking by faith we can trust the continual presence of our sufficient and loving God?

We all face storms in our lives, God allows them for our spiritual growth.  Whether they are storms of our own making, or storms that come as a direct result of following God's direction, we can be confident that when we cry out to Him, the Lord is there in our presence.   His presence provides peace, safety and assurance.  Our hearts and our minds become refocused on Him, and the cares of this world fade away. He is never too late, but always on time!

Storms are part of life, but the focus of our hearts and minds are stayed on Jesus.  Sometimes He will calm the storm. Sometimes He will carry us through it. Sometimes He will walk with us back to the boat.

But He is there!

He is always there!

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