Going Where Few Have Gone Before

October 12, 2021

Going Where Few Have Gone Before

Matthew 14:22-33

22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

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. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

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

               Throughout the Word of God we see examples of basically three types of people in relationship with God.  We could refer back to the tabernacle of Moses in the wilderness and its three dimensions.  In the outer court we saw a place where the general congregation of Israel could meet.  It was like the place of the cross where they found redemption and forgiveness of sins.  There were many precious people in this group, but they weren’t the ones that really knew God in a deeper personal relationship that the priesthood could know Him.  After all they ministered before him night and day, they could enter into the Holy Place and partake of the elements of that dimension of worship and relationship.  They enjoyed not only the natural illumination of sunlight, but also the spiritual light of the candlestick, and their provision was from the Lord.  But there was one dimension that only Moses knew and the high priest, but once a year.  It was that place of personal intimacy and relationship in the awesome presence of God Almighty Himself within the Holy of Holies.  While anyone else, even the high priest would tremble and fear to enter in lest they should be unclean and die, we see Moses having chats with God frequently.

               I say all of that to say this; there are dimensions of relationship based upon our faith and response to God.  The Word reveals that we determine the level of our relationship with God. James 4:8 says, “come near to God and He will come near to you.”  We also know from Hebrews that, “without faith it is impossible to please God.”  Moses had a boldness of faith to enter before the Almighty that no one else had and yet He was the most humble of all men, another key element in approaching God. 

               Let’s look at our text today to make one specific point.  This is scripture where we often perceive presumptuous Peter jumping out of the boat and trying to walk on the water to Jesus only to fail and sink.  What we don’t really see here is that Peter saw Jesus.  He knew that in Christ, he could do all things.  He knew that if Jesus said so, he could do whatever Jesus did.  As he and the disciples see this figure walking upon the water in the midst of the storm they are afraid.  Fear is the greatest deterrent of faith.  Then Jesus speaks, “Take courage, it is I, don’t be afraid.”  Do you know that every time we come to the Word of God or approach Him in prayer, that is what He is saying to us?  “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” and nothing dispels fear and unbelief like faith and nothing builds faith like hearing the Word of God.  Peter has a moment here of great faith.  It is faith that causes him to step into a new dimension of experience that none of the other disciples had yet known.  He didn’t do it presumptuously.  He said,  “Lord, if that’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”  Jesus didn’t say “No, Peter, you’re not ready for that yet or that’s only something I can do”.  He responds to the faith He sees in Peter’s heart and says, “Come”.  This is the level of faith that will respond to the Word revealed from God and act upon it regardless of all the opposing circumstances it sees around it.  This is the faith that Abraham had to obey God and have the willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac.  We often criticize Peter for stepping out and then getting his eyes off of Jesus, but he dared to go where no other man had gone before Him.  He stepped into a supernatural dimension of faith and what we do learn is that in order to maintain that miraculous walk he could not take his eyes off of Jesus and look at his circumstances.  In this dimension, faith in the Word of God is the only sure foundation we have to walk on, it is all that we have to support us. 

               Today, we must fix our eyes and hearts upon Jesus, without fear, in full assurance of faith, obeying what He tells us we can do.  He has made a way for us to pursue Him into the Most Holy Place of His presence, but it must be with full assurance of faith.  Hell itself will rise up to oppose you and the only way it can defeat you is by getting your eyes off of the One who has called you and said “Come”.

Blessings,

#kent

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