Scripture: Matthew 14:22-36, Mark 6:48
Last week, we talked about how Jesus wants to call you to live an epic story with your life. An epic story is one where you become a hero by living out your calling from God.
While a hero’s life may sound exciting, the truth is a calling from Jesus almost always leads us out of our comfort zones. I’m not just talking about a one-time calling where God invites you to join Him and then wishes you the best of luck.
God is constantly giving you opportunities to take a step of faith and join Him in what He’s already doing here on earth. If you’ve ever looked up to someone spiritually, I promise you they didn’t get there overnight. Their spiritual maturity came from one faith-step at a time.
Today, we’re going to look at another scene from the Bible about the life of Simon. Jesus saw so much potential in Simon that He changed his name to Peter, meaning “the rock.” Jesus obviously believed that Peter was someone He could depend on.
Notice the first line from today's scripture, “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat…” Jesus knew a storm was coming, but He sent His disciples out in the boat anyway. There is a misconception out there that God just wants to keep you safe, but the truth is, oftentimes He will intentionally send you into risky situations so that He can grow your faith. Sometimes, the center of God’s will isn’t the safest place to be—it can be the most dangerous.
In Mark’s account of this event, it actually says, “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, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost”
Did you catch the part where Jesus intended to pass them by? The Greek verb “to pass by” used here was also used several times in the Old Testament, referring to moments when God made quick appearances to select someone for the purpose of communicating a message.
God put Moses in a cleft in a rock, so Moses could see while His glory passed by. God told Elijah to stand on the mountain for the Lord was about to pass by. In each of these examples, the person who saw God felt afraid, but then if they said yes to what God was asking, they saw something amazing happen.
Where might God be “passing by” in your world? Maybe He’s passing by your school, waiting to see if anyone will join Him in reaching your lost classmates. Maybe He’s passing by your sports team or even your neighborhood, seeing if there is anyone who wants to do something amazing. He normally doesn’t announce his presence with loud trumpets, but He is definitely there.
Notice Jesus’ timing in all of this. He came in the middle of a storm during the fourth watch of the night. The Israelites broke the night into four sections, the last one being 3:00–6:00 a.m. So a huge opportunity to see the power of God came to the disciples in the middle of the night, seemingly when they would least expect Him.
God does the same in our lives. He often comes when we least expect Him. Maybe He’ll interrupt your lunch with friends to encourage you to sit with someone having lunch alone. Maybe He will wake you up in the middle of the night so you can groggily be available to hear His voice. The point in our story is that Peter noticed Jesus at an unexpected time, and we need to do the same.
Amidst the storm, the disciples were concerned about just staying alive, but Peter recognized that this was a big moment. “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Notice that Peter didn’t ask for a guarantee to be able to walk on water; he simply asked for the opportunity. Peter still had to step out onto the water, but for him, the risk was worth it.
Amazing things happen when our prayers and actions match up with God’s power. Peter didn’t wait for Jesus to invite Him out of the boat; he asked himself. Peter didn’t wait for Jesus to confirm that everything would turn out OK; Peter just moved. When our prayers match our actions, we will also see God’s power show up in our lives.
Bethany Hamilton didn’t always feel sure that God had a plan for her life. In fact, she and her family went through a season where they weren’t sure she would even be able to surf again. Come back next week to find the answer.