DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

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Keep Your Eyes On Jesus
 

Hebrews 12:2
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Have you ever got so distracted that you got into some serious trouble?

Jesus walks on water (Matthew 14:22-36)

Right after the miracle of the fish and bread, Jesus had something new to teach His disciples. He sent the crowd away and sent the disciples across the Sea of Galilee. Remember, the sea of Galilee was actually a big lake.

Matthew 14:22-27
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.
23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,
24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.
26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."


Jesus sent His friends across the lake when the storm winds were coming.

Was the windstorm a surprise to Jesus?

Of course it wasn't! Jesus sent them into this storm for a reason. He wanted to test their faith and teach them something about Himself that they didn't know yet.

John tells us that the boat was over three miles out from the shore by this time. Mark tells us that Jesus could see the disciples from where He sat praying on the mountainside. The disciples were having a hard time rowing because a strong wind was blowing against them. Since the disciples had taken the boad, there was just one way for Jesus to cross the lake. Jesus actually walked out to them on the water! Here is another example of Jesus having power over nature.

Somehow the water help up Jesus. The lake treated Jesus and the disciples differently.

The disciples were struggling just to row across the lake. But Jesus walked on top of the waves.

Don't you wonder what it felt like to walk on water? At least one of the disciples did!

Mark says that it was so early in the morning that it was still dark out.

Mark 6:48
He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them,

No wonder the men were afraid at first. But as soon as they heard Jesus' voice, Peter spoke back.

Peter walks on the water

Matthew 14:28-29
28 "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
29 "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.


Peter was a really unique man. He was the boldest of all the disciples. He said things that other people only thought. He was the type of person who did things that other people didn't have the nerve to do. Peter was completely drawn to Jesus. Peter wanted to follow Jesus with his whole heart. But, many times he made mistakes.

Why did Jesus invite Peter to come out to HIm and none of the other disciples? Because Peter asked.

Peter is the only disciple who asked to come to Jesus. Knowing Peter, it's really no surprise that he wanted to walk out to Jesus. The other disciples may have wanted to walk out to Jesus, but none of them would have dared to ask. Peter asked to come to Jesus, waited for Jesus to call him and then obeyed.

Application : Do you think you are more like Peter - ready to ask God to use you - or are you more like the other disciples who sat in the boat watching to see what would happen with Peter? The Bible says that it's right to ask God for opportunities.

Before he stepped out, Peter said, "If it's You, tell me to come to you on the water". Peter wanted to believe that Jesus was the Son of God. But Peter was looking for proof. He was asking Jesus to suspend him in the waves so that he would know for sure that Jesus was God. Jesus did not get angry at Peter for asking this. Jesus simply invited him to, "Come".

Peter had enough faith to step out of the dry, sturdy boat, in the dark, as the wind was whipping up the waves. At first, Peter's eyes were fixed on Jesus. Peter didn't have to worry about the wind or waves because he had faith that Jesus would not let him sink. While Peter was focused on Jesus, his faith was strong.

He could see the power that Jesus held over all things. He knew how much Jesus loved him and that Jesus would never let him down.

Application : Your faith will be strong when you keep your eyes on Jesus. As we have learned, Jesus has power over all things. Is there anything that He can't do? And Jesus loves you. He loves you enough to lay down His life for you. When you know Jesus, you know He is completely deserving of your trust. When you keep your focus on His power and His love for you, your faith will be strong.

Peter Sinks

Matthew 14:30-31
30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"


But, before long, Peter took his eyes off Jesus.

When Peter looked at the wind and waves, he began to doubt if Jesus was more powerful than the storm that surrounded him.

Do you know what the Bible says about doubt.

James 1:6
But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

What an interesting word picture! Peter's doubt literally caused him to be tossed around in the wind and waves. He began to sink.

Did anything about Jesus change that caused Peter to sink? No!

What changed then? Peter took his eyes off Jesus.

Peter looked at the scary storm. He was overwhelmed by the things that were more powerful than he was. But Peter should have remembered that nothing is more powerful than Jesus! While he was focused on Jesus, the things around him were not a threat to himself.

Storms were familiar to fisherman. But how and when can something that is so familiar and real become a 'fear' to us?

When we are distracted....

Is it difficult to keep your focus where it is supposed to be?

Just imagine Peter's distractions: the wind was howling and the waves were crashing. Peter turned his focus to the things around him and he doubted Jesus. He was gripped with fear and he began to sink. Of course, when Peter started sinking, Jesus was right there to catch him! In fact Peter yelled out to Jesus. He could have swum back to the boat where it was safer!

Jesus gently pulled out Peter. Jesus told Peter that his faith was small because he doubted Jesus.

Before we judge Peter, remember, he was the only one willing to step out of the boat that morning. Many people talk about how Peter sank, but few people mention that the other disciples never left the boat.

Application : When the disciples first saw Jesus walking on the water, He told them to be brave and not be afraid. But Peter had a mixture of faith and fear. That describes most of us at times.

We may start out with faith. We might begin to do something that we know God wants us to do (like being nice to the kid that nobody likes). Or we might have faith that gives us peace in a difficult time (like when a family member is sick or our parents are arguing). But then we take our eyes off of Jesus. We look at the scary situation around us. We doubt whether God actually has power over that situation, or if He cares enough to help us. We may stop doing what God wants us to do. Or we may be overwhelmed with fear.

But here is the truth : Lots of situations are too big or too scary for you to handle, but nothing is too big for Jesus! Don't focus on the situation you are in. Focus on the one who has power over every situation!

Who was safer that day? Were disciples in the boat safer than Peter who was sinking?

What a blessing we have! The Creator of the universe, who has power over all things is crazy about you!

Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

He wants to do what is best for you and He is able to do what is best for you. Focusing on that truth should give you peace. That turth should give you the confidence to step out of your boat and do what it is He wants you to do without any fear.

No one's faith is perfect. If you do stumble, if you ever have a doubt (like Peter did), talk to Jesus about it.

Mark 9:24
Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"

Jesus never changes. Just like Jesus reached out His hand and grabbed Peter to keep Him safe, He is that close to you and He will help you too.

The disciples praise Jesus

Matthew 14:32-33
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."


Something awesome happened after Peter and Jesus got into the boat.

The disciples finally understood who Jesus was. They had already seen Jesus do miracles. But when Peter and the other disciples saw that Jesus could use Peter to walk on the water, their lives were changed. They all knew Peter. Some had known him all their lives. He was just a plain, clumsy, outspoken fisherman. But when he trusted in Jesus, he did something miraculous - he walked on top of the Sea of Galilee! Jesus transformed Peter. Surely Jesus was the Son of God.

Application : How does this apply to you? Well, your friends and family know you. They know your faults and the mistakes you make. They know who you really are. But when you ask God to use you, when you step out in faith and when you keep your focus on Jesus, He will do amazing things through you. This is what life in the kingdom of God is all about. You will do things you could never do on your own; you will love people who seem unlovable; you will have peace when it seems impossible.

Then, you will be a living testimony for Jesus. The people who know you best will know that Jesus is the Lord of Lords!

Let us keep looking to Jesus. He is the author of faith, He also makes it perfect.