SERMON BY THE REVEREND AMOS MCCARTHY
11th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, AUGUST 13, 2017
Title: “Five Minutes with Jesus in the Storm.”
Text: Matthew 14:22-31
- Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountain by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24. And the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25. Shortly before dawn 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.” 28. Lord , if it is 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. 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?”
This passage of scriptures deals with a critical situation involving Jesus’ disciples. The disciples are trapped in a fierce storm. Matthew’s account of this incident informs us that Jesus compelled the disciples to go on the boat. The account of this same incident in John 6 informs us that the people had wanted to make him king by force. Not wanting his disciples involved, Jesus let them go ahead. It was during the Passover, which was around April, obviously spring time. It happened during the fourth watch of the night, which was around 3a.m. The disciples were urged to go ahead in the boat, on a lake that was known for storms. So anyone would agree that the disciples were in the will of God, but yet they are struggling in the midst of the storm. They were commanded by Jesus to go across the Sea of Galilee.
Has there ever been a time, when you find yourself in a particular situation, where you have done everything right in the eyes of God, and yet you struggle? I mean, have you ever been placed in situations, or the storms of life, and no matter how hard you try, no matter what methods you try, it appears or seem obvious that you cannot get out? I believe someone here is going through such situation. I believed we all go through times like that. A time in life, when the storms of life will never come to an end. Praise God this morning, for there is good news from the Word of God. While the storms in our life are never good to us, they bring about results in our lives that will change our situation for the better. Hebrew 12:11 reminds us that no situation in our lives, or no storms in life, however bitter is going to give us joy. Nevertheless, after awhile, it will yield us fruits of righteousness that we will experience.
I want us for a moment, to pedal with the disciples in the storm with Jesus. I do not know what storms you are facing this morning. There is one thing that I know, the Lord knows why that storm is raging in your life. It is my fervent prayer that the purpose of that storm will be clear to you as I minister to you for a while on “Five Minutes with Jesus in the Storm.” I want to demonstrate to you that five minutes with Jesus in the storms of life will give you peace, power and it will leave you with a testimony.
Five Minutes With Jesus will give you PEACE!
The Story is told of a retired couple who have been worried about the threat of nuclear war. The couple were afraid because on every news channel on Cable TV, the threat of nuclear war from the leaders looms. The goal of the couple was to find the best place in the world that would not be affected by nuclear war, a place of peace and security. The couple studied, and studied, and travel to many places. Finally they found a place. On Easter of 1981, they called their pastor from the new home they had found. It was the Falkland Islands. Surprisingly, their new home was soon turned to a place of war by the British and Argentine Army in April of 1982.
Everyone wants peace. In the midst of the storms of life, everyone of us wants the storm to go away and yearn for tranquility, peace, or calm. Whether you are the governor of Kansas, or a human resource manager facing the pressures from workload and deadline at your office, or a student trying to prepare for school to get through another semester, or a landscape designer at your computer during springtime, or a pastor who has to pray for the needs of your congregation, peace is what everyone wants. And many of us here will go to any extent to find peace. If we are to be honest this morning with ourselves, we will admit that we experience more stress than peace.
We will all agree that people talk more about peace than we actually experience. Today is like the day of Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 6:4, the people cry for peace, but got no peace. Many people live in comfortable homes, but domestic violence is at an all time high. The cities in the United States are the most modern the world had seen, but the streets are unsafe. One can find the best technology in terms of communication, but there is more misunderstanding. In the very house of God, the church, the sanctuary, people come with anxiety that is almost impossible for the sermon to take away immediately. The question here this morning is, where can we find peace in the midst of the storms of life? In the midst of the storm, Jesus came walking on the waters. They were afraid, and mistook Jesus for a ghost. In the midst of the storm, you are fearful. In your fear you act on your impulse. You can make the worst mistake. But in the midst of their fears and anxiety, confusion, depression, Jesus told them to be of good cheer. He told them to be of good courage. Five minutes with Jesus can give you peace. Romans 5:1 tells us, “Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Five minutes with Jesus in the storm will also give us power.
In verse 27, Jesus shows up in the midst of the storm. In verse 28 and 29, Jesus demonstrates His power. Jesus did not only show up, but Jesus shows up in the fourth watch of the night. In Jewish culture, the night had four parts: 6pm-9pm,9pm-12midnight, 12 midnight to 3am, 3am-6am. The passage of scripture narrates that Jesus came in the cover of dark. The darkest hour of the night. Sometimes between 3am-6am. It was the darkest hour of the night that the disciples were stranded in the storm. In 1 Kings 8:12 Solomon reminds us that “the Lord said, “He would dwell in the thick darkness.” You may be walking in spiritual darkness this morning. Or you may be facing the darkest hours of your life, in the form of some difficulties. Let me remind you that during the darkest hour of life, God is still God. The disciples were in a struggle for their lives. Mark 6:48 puts it this way, “toiling in rowing,” which gives me the feeling that they were going against the storm. The passage clearly tells us that they were afraid. When the disciples thought all hope was lost, Jesus showed up! Jesus will not keep us from going into the storms of life, but fives minutes with Him will give us power in the midst of the storm. Jesus said, “It is I.” This word is a personal pronoun that is emphatic. It lays emphasis. It is an expression of power. It is the same word that Jesus Christ used to show His power. “I am the door.”
“I am the bread of life.” “I am the bread of life.” “I am the good shepherd.” Church, do you get the broader picture? Jesus is telling these disciples to cheer up!!! God is here!! Five minutes with Jesus will give you the power that the world have never seen before. Think about the three Hebrew, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Think about Daniel. Think about Noah. In the midst of the storms of life, God give them the power to overcome. If we can just understand the truth that Jesus is the great I AM, that he has the power in heaven and in the earth (Matthew 28:18), we will all enjoy power in the midst of the our storms. Five minutes with Jesus will be a means of testimony to the greatness of God.
Five Minutes with Jesus will calm the storm and testify of God’s Greatness.
In the passage, verses 28 and 29 tells us who is in control of the storm. It tells us who the master of the storm is. When Peter heard that it was Jesus, he did not believe it. But he knew one thing, if it was Jesus, He would be in control. Peter urge Jesus to allow him to walk on the wave. Jesus permitted it, and Peter began to walk. Not very far in his walking, Peter saw the storm. The narrative mentions that Peter was afraid, he began to sink. Peter was not in control of the wave, but Jesus was. When the storms of life are raging about us, when we can reckon with the truth that the Master of the Storm is Jesus, we will be able to rise above our circumstances, and walk on the water with Jesus. The storms of life will tell of the excellent greatness of God. It will focus our faith and help us grow in recognizing the greatness of God. Church, if we spend five minutes with Jesus, we will succeed in navigating the storms of life. We will remember who is in charge. Our success in the storms of life hinges upon our willingness to acknowledge the Master of the Storm!!!!
The story is told of a man named Scott Davies. Scott was on his way from work, to pick up his beloved wife for an event. A storm of life came in the form of an accident. The devil denied Scott the opportunity to enjoy his evening. But there is one thing he did not denied Scott of, the Knowledge of the greatness of God. His pastor was worried, and wanted word on how Scott was doing. When he spoke to his wife, he could hear in her voice that she was worried. She told the pastor that Scott was involved in an accident, he had said he was alive, but it was bad. When the pastor spoke to Scott, Scott said, “Pastor, it could have been worse, but God was watching over me.” I do believe that in the midst of the storm, Scott spend five minutes with Jesus. Five minutes with Jesus will tell you that Jesus is in control.
It is often difficult to see the blessings in the midst of the storm. Sometimes it is difficult to comprehend the Lord taking out any good out the circumstances we go through. I don’t know the nature of the storm you are experiencing this morning, but I know the one that still walks on the water. I fell in a well about 15 feet deep at the age of eight facing death by drowning, but the one who walks on the waves saved me. Who knows that same man will show up this morning riding in your storm. Five minutes with Him will give you the peace you so desire. Five minutes with Jesus will give you the power you need to overcome your storms. Five minutes with Jesus will testify of His greatness, goodness, love, provident, healing, and His salvation.