Lesson 188-July 14, 2019
Lesson: “Lesson Over! Lesson Learned?”
Scripture: Matthew 14: 22-33, Key Passage: Matthew 14:28-33
Lesson Goal: Faith helps us better understand who Jesus is and that He is worthy of our worship.
Introduction by Warren Wiersbe: “Why did Jesus walk on the water? To show His disciples that the very thing they feared (the sea) was only a staircase for Him to come to them. Often we fear the difficult expe- riences of life (such as surgery or bereavement), only to discover that these experiences bring Jesus Christ closer to us. Why did they not recognize Jesus? Because they were not looking for Him. Had they been wait- ing by faith, they would have known Him immediately. Instead, they jumped to the false conclusion that the appearance was that of a ghost. Fear and faith can not live in the same heart, for fear always blinds the eyes to the presence of the Lord. This was the whole purpose of the storm, to help the disciples grow in their faith. After all, Jesus would one day leave them and they would face many storms in their ministries.”
Question: Even though Jesus one day did leave them, what promise did He leave with the disciples and with each of us (followers of Jesus)?
(v28) In Matthew’s writing of this account, he shifts to Peter and Peter’s walking on the water to Jesus. De- scribe in your own words this scene, the storm, Jesus walking on the water, the disciples anxiousness in the boat, and Peter’s response to Jesus.
“And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to you on the water.’”
Peter seems to make a most unusual kind of request. The wording in our English translation can be a bit mis- leading at a casual glance. Peter’s use of the word “if” did not reflect doubt on Peter’s part. Notice the word that Peter uses first as He makes his request to Jesus.
Question: What word does Peter use in recognition of Jesus in verse 28? What does the word that Peter uses mean to us as a follower of Jesus Christ?
“Lord, if it is you” can be better understood to mean, “Lord, since it is you” in this verse. This is more than just the impulsiveness and reactionaryism of Peter.
‘command me to come to you on the water.” In this request it is important for us to understand Peter was not making a request for the sake of the spectacular or sensational. Peter’s request was based upon his growing faith in the fact of who Jesus was! Peter was not being presumptuous or cavalier, he simply was a growing project of faith.
(v29) “So He said, ‘come.’” It was only after Jesus had spoken the word, “come” that Peter dare stepped into
the water. Peter, by faith, surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus, responds by stepping into the water.
John Phillips offers us a vivid word picture of this scene: “All around Peter, the world was being torn apart. The wind was screaming in his ears and the boat was tossing like a piece of driftwood. But the surging billows were already beneath the Lord’s feet. Jesus had walked some three and half miles across the lake to reach the boat (John 6:19). Picture the scene. Peter lifted one foot over the side of the boat as the waves soaked his legs he was reminded that there was water out there and man cannot walk on water. But Peter had heard the word of God in Christ-”come”- and lifted his other leg over the side. However, Peter still had an iron grip on the boat. He would not be exercising real faith until he let go. It was when he fixed his eyes on Jesus that every- thing came into focus and he let go. Then the impossible happened. He was no longer being ruled by circum- stances; he was triumphing over them. Faith was operating in his life.”
Question: Can you offer a time in your life when faith was triumphant over fear in your life? Please explain.
“And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.” Jesus’ presence in the storm was the stepping point of Peter’s faith.
(v30) “But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying ‘Lord save me’!”
In the truth of Jesus’ power and authority, Peter had stepped into the water, In faith Peter could stand in Jesus’ strength on the water!
Question: How does it help us to know that we (followers of Jesus) can stand in Jesus’ strength when we face the storms and trials of life?
In the words of John MacArthur, “Peter’s faith was enough to get him out of the boat, but it was not enough to carry him across the water. Faith is strengthened by its being taken to extremities it has never faced before. Such strengthening is basic to Christian growth and maturity. The Lord takes us as far as our faith will go, and when it ends we begin to sink. It is then that we call out to Him and He again demonstrates His faithfulness and His power, and our faith learns to extend even further. As we trust God in the faith we have, we discover its limitations; but we also discover what it can yet become.”
“Beginning to sink”, please think on these three words. What did these three words mean to Peter? What was the depth and comprehension of these three words, “beginning to sink?”
Question: Have you ever found yourself in your own life having to learn the meaning of “beginning to sink?” Have you ever honestly experienced a “beginning to sink” moment in your life? Please prayerfully share.
Question: Peter’s faith was strong enough to face the storm but it was not strong enough to stand the storm. How does that describe our faith at given times in our lives?
“Lord, save me!” The cry of the desperate! The cry of the desperate soul. The cry of the wounded soldier. The cry of the ultimate breaking heart. The cry of the hopeless and fearful. The cry of the confused. The cry of the broken. “Rescue me!”
(v31) And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
I have often wondered, since Peter’s faith was a “little faith” what does that say about the other disciples in the boat?
Peter had taken his eyes off of Jesus but Jesus had not taken His eyes off of Peter!
The most important thing about faith is not the measure of it but the object of it. We must be careful that our focus does not become critical of the “little faith” of verse 31. Faith is only as strong as the object where it is placed For the follower of Jesus Christ our faith is in Jesus. Our strength is found in Jesus’ strength, thus when we are at our weakest “beginning to sink”, Jesus gives us His strength, “stretched out His hand and caught him!”
(v32-33) And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Literally as Jesus and Peter got into the boat the wind ceased. It was, as if, the calmness spoke “lesson over.” Now the lesson to be learned!
(v33) “Then those who were in the boat came and worshipped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God.’”
The recognition of who Jesus is always leads His followers to worship Him!