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Women World Leaders' Podcast


Apr 13, 2022

Jesus sent His disciples into a storm. Really! There was a storm coming, Jesus knew it, and He told His disciples to get in the boat and go without Him. Do you ever feel like you are in a storm and Jesus has abandoned you? He didn’t abandon His disciples, and He will never abandon you! If you let Him, He will use the storm to open your eyes to His glory and wonder – just like He did for the disciples! (Matthew 14:22-33, Mark, 6:45-52, John 6:16-21)

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Welcome to Walking in the Word…the biblical teaching arm of the Women World Leaders podcast. My name is Julie Jenkins, and I’m so happy that you have committed the next few minutes to focusing your mind on the teaching that God has for us today.

God wants to meet you where you are and longs to empower you to work together with Him and His people to showcase His glory. That is our goal at Women World Leaders, to use our gifting to share Jesus with the world, and to help empower you to do the same as you walk in your God-given calling. Wherever you are in your walk, we are glad that you have joined us. When I came to this ministry, I felt called to simply put my toe in the water. I wanted to find out what Women World Leaders was all about and spend some time in prayer with God, asking Him to lead me in only as deep as He wanted me to go. And that’s what we want for you! Think of Women World Leaders as a stream of God’s love that you can access in an as big or small way as God calls. We are thrilled that you are listening to our podcasts – and maybe that is exactly where you are supposed to be right now. But don’t ever discount God’s movement for you as He calls you deeper – to grow, to serve, to give, and to experience His love in community. When you are ready, check us out at womenworldleaders.com and ask God where and when He wants you to step deeper into the stream.

On this, our Wednesday edition of the Women World Leaders podcast, we have the joy of studying Scripture together as we ask God what He wants us to learn from Him today. We are currently walking through the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John chronologically. Before we jump into our scripture today from Matthew 14:22-33, Mark 6:45-52, and John 6:16-21, let’s pray…

Dear Most Holy and Ever-Present God! We thank you for meeting us where we are today and always being ready to share your heart with us as we open your Word. God, your Word is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, and as we study today, we ask that you not spare us the blade. God, prune us as you teach us, that we may develop a deeper relationship with you. Open our hearts and our minds that we might truly grow and learn from you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 

Last week we learned about Jesus turning five loaves of bread and two fish into a satisfying meal for well over 5000 hungry people. There is no doubt that that miracle amazed all who were present, and John 6:15 tells us that, as a result, the people were ready to make Jesus their king by force. King Jesus…sounds pretty appropriate. But, not to Jesus, not at that time or for that reason. Jesus knew the hearts of the people, and they weren’t looking for an eternal King who would forgive their sins and lead them to life everlasting with God…they were looking for a worldly king. Their offer of kingship was akin to Satan’s offer to Jesus to rule all the kingdoms of the world when he tempted Him in the desert. Jesus understood this temptation, and He separated Himself from the tempter…and He separated His disciples from the tempter as well. Matthew 14:22 in the New Living translation states…

Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. 23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.

Jesus knew that the devil was up to his tricks, and He knew that the temptation to turn away from all that God had planned for Him was going to get increasingly more difficult with each step. So He retreated to pray – to spend time alone with His Father. In fact, He probably spent about six hours alone with God, while the disciples did what He told them to do. They got into the boat, only to encounter a dangerous storm.

What the disciples didn’t know was that even by sending them into the storm, Jesus was protecting them. We often note that Jesus was fully human, well, the disciples were fully flawed humans. Like us. If they had gotten wind of the fact that the people wanted JESUS to become KING…there’s no telling where their imaginations would have gone. They were, after all, Jesus’ right-hand men. Surely, if Jesus was to become king, their own positions would be elevated as they became members of the King’s court! There is no telling how pride could have crept in and stolen their allegiance to God. Jesus knew exactly what He was doing when He sent His disciples by boat into a literal storm…He was protecting them from a storm of pride and greed that could have permanently sunk and destroyed them.

How often do we nay-say the position we are in…wondering why our finances, position, or even relationships aren’t all we wished they could be? Perhaps by placing us where we are, even placing us in the middle of a storm, God is protecting US from a danger that we don’t even recognize.

So…Jesus was with God, praying…and the disciples were boating into a storm.

Did I mention that Jesus was WITH God?

As the disciples were sailing into a storm, it likely crossed their minds…where is Jesus when we need Him? He knows how to calm the storm!

But Jesus was with God…and He knew EXACTLY what the disciples were up against…and He knew EXACTLY what they needed.

See…the disciples, whether they knew it or not, were in an intense learning period. First, they participated in one of the biggest miracles ever, then, maybe feeling a bit prideful, they got on a boat with their 12 baskets of leftovers…and steered right into a vicious storm.

John 6:18 says…18 Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. 

Mark writes…they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves

And Matthew records…a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 

Jesus knew. Matthew 14:25…

25 About three o’clock in the morning[a] Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”

The disciples did not recognize Jesus, likely because they weren’t looking for Him. In their minds, He was on the shore praying.

But Jesus was there…because Jesus is ALWAYS there for His children. And the fact that Jesus was walking on water was a clear demonstration of His deity. Job is recorded as extolling the virtues and attributes of God, and says in Job chapter 9, verse 8, “He alone has spread out the heavens and marches on the waves of the sea.”

The word the disciples used for ghost demonstrated that instead of looking for Jesus, they were most likely thinking that an evil spirit was coming toward them.

Mark records in chapter 6 verse 48 that Jesus intended to walk BY the boat…He was simply reminding them of His deity and control, as when God appeared in many instances throughout the Old Testament…but when Jesus recognized the disciples’ utter terror…He spoke..

“Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here![b]

Jesus’ presence should have been enough! But the disciples were still learning! And Jesus was SO gracious!

Matthew, 14:28 continues…

28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said.

This is remarkable to me…

Jesus’ intent was to walk BY the boat…but when Peter called to Him, Jesus didn’t HESITATE to stop and respond. We’ve read over and over about Jesus’ compassion for the people – healing them, freeing them from demons, even feeding them. In this case, Jesus was there to comfort the disciples. And Peter wanted nothing more than to be close to Jesus, so he asked Jesus to call him. And Jesus didn’t hesitate.

Jesus is always near us. He is always aware of what we need, and He certainly has the power to handle anything that is going on in our lives. But we must be aware, ask Him for His instruction, and then bravely follow His voice.

Verse 29 continues…

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 

The lesson could end there. Jesus called to Peter to come, walk through a storm, across the water, defying logic and circumstance. And Peter obeyed.

When has Jesus called you to get out of the boat? To draw near to Him? To trust the sound of His voice? Did you follow? Did you obey? Or are you still sitting in the boat?

Peter followed. He stepped out. That could have been the end of an amazing story of faith. BUT…we are human…and in our humanity, even strong faith wavers when the world comes against us…

Verse 30…

30 But when he saw the strong[c] wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.

Again…THAT could have been the end of the story! Peter got out of the boat with his gaze fixed on Jesus, got distracted, and sank. The end.

But it isn’t the end! Because God DOES NOT give up on us…or on our wavering faith! Instead, Peter looked back at Jesus and managed to grasp that wavering faith inside and shouted…

 “Save me, Lord!” and

31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

So few words from Jesus, when He could have, by all rights, given Peter a complete lecture. Every time I hear this verse, I picture my children when they were tiny. I picture them coming to me with tears and big eyes…seeking forgiveness and feeling bad…I picture hugging them and kissing their head…and saying…its okay…but why did you doubt me?

Jesus’ reaction to Peter is one of pure and utter love and devotion. It is compassion for Peter’s hurting, and wet, heart. Peter was gung ho…none of the other disciples asked if THEY could come to Jesus in the middle of the storm…but Peter asked! And Peter stepped out! And Peter wavered … and he sank. But then he called out to Jesus, who IMMEDIATELY reached out and grabbed him, and I like to imagine, kissed Him on the head in reassurance.

Matthew 14:32 continues…

32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.

This was the first time the Bible records that the disciples worshipped Jesus as the Son of God. And do you see why they did?

Because they were in a storm, and Jesus calmed it.

Jesus will always protect us…when we let Him.

Because God who was passing by in a display of His sovereignty and peace, didn’t hesitate to invite Peter to come to Him and then He stuck around and saved Peter even through his wavering faith.

Jesus will always honor our faith in Him…even when it is flawed.

Because Jesus, who had sent them out in a boat to encounter a storm, used that same storm to meet them where they were and to guide them into the knowledge that He is God.

Jesus will always show us who He is…and His works will always point us to God.

Our lives on this earth will not always go as we would like them to…but God is in control and God will always show up! When we call to Him, He will use every storm for His glory.

If you are in a storm, or have been brought out of a storm, perhaps God is now calling you to share your story…so that others will see His glory and will worship Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Call to Him. Obediently step out of the boat. And then shout His praise! He will never let you down. I promise!

Dear Most Holy God…Thank you for bearing with us despite our wavering faith. We know you have a purpose and a plan for us and you are calling us to get out of the boat. Help us keep our eyes on you even as we walk on the water through the storms of this life. With you, we can. With you, we will. We put all our trust in you as we step bravely, for the purpose of your glory alone. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.