Worship the King
Worship the King
If you have a Bible and I hope you do, let me invite you to open with me to Matthew 14. One main truth that I want you to see this morning…a truth that just springs off the pages of Matthew 14. So here it is…it’s not written in your notes…but this is the over-arching truth that this text is going to show us today. Our worship of Christ is a reflection of our belief in Christ.
Our worship of Christ is a reflection of our belief in Christ. Another way of saying this might be…What we believe about Jesus will determine everything about how we worship Jesus. What we think about Jesus determines how we sing about Jesus.
If we believe He is a good man who did good things for us, then we will honor Him like we honor good men who do good things for us. But if we believe He is the majestic, glorious, universal King over all creation, then that will be evident in the way we sing to Him and pray to Him and worship Him. Sinclair Ferguson said:
“It is God who gives us the spirit of worship (Psalm 133:3), and it is what we know of God that produces this spirit of worship. We might say that worship is simply…what we think about God going into top gear! Instead of merely thinking about Him, we tell Him, in prayer and praise and song, how great and glorious we believe Him to be!”
What we believe about Jesus determines how we worship Jesus. That’s what I want to show you this morning…and it’s what I want to call you to…I want to call you to believe in Jesus more deeply this morning…and as a result, to worship Jesus more passionately this morning. My prayer is that you would grow in your faith today…and consequently, as a result, you would grow in your worship. And I want to speak all of this particularly to people who are going through difficult times right now.
So…let’s jump in. Last week, we saw eight parables in Matthew 13, and if you were here, maybe you’ll remember the first parable – the parable of the sower and the four kinds of soil representing the human heart in response to the message of salvation. First, you had the hard heart that rejects the gospel. Second, you had the superficial heart that initially receives the gospel, but when trial or trouble comes, it fades away because the Word never really took root. Third, you had the divided heart where the ways and wealth of this world choke out the gospel. And then fourth, you had the fruitful heart that hears and receives the message of salvation, and responds to it in faith.
Now the reason I recap that is because we’re about to see in the end of Matthew 13 and then into Matthew 14 examples of all of the above. We’re going to see hard hearts in the people of Nazareth and in Herod. We’re going to see superficial hearts that believe in Jesus as long as He gives them food, but there is no real root to their faith. Though we won’t specifically see the divided heart, we know that lurking in the midst of the disciples is Judas, a man who is seeing all that Jesus is doing, yet underneath the surface the ways and wealth of this world are choking out faith in him. And then we’re going to see the other disciples, who are going to rise to new heights in their faith in this text.
So Matthew 14 is, in a sense, an illustration of what we read in Matthew 13. Now what I want to do during our time together is to hone in on two categories of people generally…those who were believing in Jesus and those who were not believing in Jesus. I want to show you two pictures of unbelief in the first part of this text, and then I want to show you two pictures of belief in the second part of the text…and then I want to tie it all back together to worship.
Two Pictures of Unbelief…
So let’s start with two picture of unbelief. We’ll read both of them together starting in Matthew 13:53. We pick up at the end of Jesus’ parables where Matthew writes…
And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.
At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus, and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus.(Matthew 13:53-14:12 ESV)
OK…first picture of unbelief…Jesus’ hometown.
Now just a little side note, but we’ve seen Jesus’ ministry in Galilee up to this point in Matthew lasting around 2 years, so that’s the approximate time span from Matthew 4:12 up to this point. And we’re probably about a year away from His death on the cross…so that will give you chronologically a frame of reference to understand what’s going on here.
And during this last year before the cross, we’re going to see Jesus making a decided turn toward His inner group of disciples. Even when He is speaking to the crowds, we’re going to see a focus on His relationship with His disciples. So leaving Galilee, Jesus comes to Nazareth, His hometown, where He began teaching…and the people were amazed – astonished, the text says.“Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?” they ask. Yet just like we have seen in the crowds at Capernaum, they refuse to believe in Him.
They questioned where His authority came from…and in the end, like so many others, they doubted that it came from God…and they took offense at Him. See the picture here… They heard His words. They listened to Him teach, and they were amazed. They saw His works. “Where did He get these mighty works?” they ask.
They heard His words, they saw His works, yet…They denied Him worship. Literally, they were repelled by Him, and they chose not to honor Him. Many are the people who will hear about Jesus and even see evidence of Jesus at work…yet deny Him the worship He is due. First picture of unbelief…Nazareth. Second picture of unbelief…Herod the tetrarch.
Herod the tetrarch…
And this guy’s story is like a twisted soap opera…not that I watch soap operas, but this is what I would imagine a twisted soap opera to sound like. So follow this…you think you’re family tree is crooked…check this out…You’ve got Herod Antipas, called here Herod the tetrarch (which basically means that he was like a prince or a governor over a certain region). He’s referred to as a king in verse 9 only in the sense that he was the ruler of that certain region. And Jesus’ ministry was taking place largely within the region of Herod Antipas.
And Herod had a wife who was the daughter of an Arabian king, and their marriage was a part of a political/military alliance. So you’ve got Herod Antipas and his Arabian wife. Well one day, Herod Antipas (Herod the tetrarch) goes to visit his half-brother, whose name was Herod Philip. And Herod Philip was married to Herodias, which means Herodias was Herod Antipas’s sister-in-law. But not only was she his sister-in-law; Herodias was also Herod Antipas’s niece. So now you’ve got Herod Antipas married to his Arabian wife, and Herod Philip married to Herodias, who is Herod Antipas’s niece. And during this trip to visit Philip and Herodias, Antipas decides he wants to marry Herodias (his sister-in-law and niece). So they sneak away together and basically, Antipas divorces his Arabian wife and marries his sister-in-law/niece, Herodias.Now as if that’s not enough, Antipas and Herodias then have a daughter together – the girl who is mentioned in this story. Her name is Salome…and one day, she marries her half-uncle, Philip the tetrarch (Luke 3:1). And as a result, she becomes the sister-in-law and aunt of her own mother. You got that?
Now if you ask me why any of that really matters, it doesn’t…but I just want you to see how messed up this guy is! Now Herod heard about all that Jesus was doing in his region, and he got scared because he thought that Jesus was John the Baptist come back to life. And this prompts Matthew to pause and look back at how John the Baptist died in the first place. So chronologically, John’s death doesn’t happen right here – instead, this is a…A flashback to John the Baptist’s beheading. A flashback to the day when Salome, Herod’s daughter, did a seductive dance before what was likely her drunk father and his friends, and he offered her whatever she wanted…and behind the scenes, Herodias tells her daughter, “Ask for John the Baptist’s head on a platter.”
Because John, obviously at great risk to his own life, had called out Herod on his adulterous, incestuous actions. And Herod had had John imprisoned in a dungeon, but he didn’t want to kill him…because there was a sense in which he respected John. But Herodias did not…she saw John as a threat to her marriage, and so she had John killed. Do you remember how we’ve seen John the Baptist described as the prophet Elijah? And all the parallels between these two prophets. Well, you can’t help but to think at this point about Elijah and the way he stood up against King Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel.
A similar thing happened here as John the Baptist boldly confronted sin in his day with his proclamation of God’s kingdom. And there’s an important side note there worth mentioning:As long as you/I/we speak truth and call out sin for what it is in this world, it will be costly. As long as you/I/we speak truth and call out sin for what it is in this culture and in our country, it will be costly. But it will be worth it. One writer said: “It cost [John] his head; but it is better to have a head like John the Baptist and lose it than to have an ordinary head and keep it.” Let us stand for Christ with conviction no matter the cost…and let us pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who are doing that at this moment at the risk of their lives.
So this was a flashback to John the Baptist’s beheading, but it is also…A foreshadowing of Jesus’ crucifixion. Part of what Matthew is doing here is linking John the Baptist and Jesus together, particularly under Herod. Herod had charge over the region where John the Baptist was preaching, and his leadership (or lack of leadership) led to John’s beheading. And when you fast forward to Jesus’ trial, you’ll see in Luke 23 that Pilate sent Jesus to this same Herod, and there Herod the tetrarch played another passive role that set the stage for Jesus’ death. Herod’s unbelief led to both John the Baptist’s beheading and Jesus’ crucifixion. So there are the two pictures of unbelief that then set the stage for…two pictures of belief.
Two Pictures of Belief…
And there is a clear shift in these next two stories to the disciples, and Jesus’ relationship with them. Jesus is moving on from those who would not believe to those who did believe, and we are about to see their faith grow. Let’s read the first story, a story of faith in the face of need.
Faith in the face of need…
Take a look at Matthew 14:13-21.
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. (Matthew 14:13-21 ESV)
Did you know that this miracle is the only one that is recorded in all four Gospels in the New Testament? It’s a story that is familiar to most, if not almost all, of us…the day when Jesus took five loaves and two fish, and he fed over 5,000 people. Now each Gospel writer tells the story from a different angle to emphasize different points, and it certainly seems that Matthew is telling this story in a way that emphasizes the effect it had not as much on the 5,000 plus people who ate that day, but specifically on the disciples.
As they observed Jesus in this story, think of how their faith was growing. They were learning, first of all, to…Reflect His compassion. Jesus withdrew into a boat for rest…you can almost picture Him weary from all the crowds and all the opposition.
So he had a few moments of quiet, but then, despite His attempt to withdraw, the crowds found Him. As soon as He arrived on land, He was swarmed with people who were hurting and sick and in need of healing. Notice what Jesus didn’t say. He didn’t say, “I want to be alone; will you please go home and come back tomorrow?” Instead, Matthew writes that he was, once again, moved with compassion for them.
Oh, see this…see the compassion of Christ even for the superficial crowds, most of whom would not believe in Him…most of whom would end up like the second soil, receiving Him gladly one moment and then rejecting Him completely the next moment. But see His compassion for them…a care that’s reflected at the end of this chapter in verse 34-36…read what happens there… And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. (Matthew 14:34-36 ESV)Amidst the crowds, the disciples were learning, as their faith in Jesus grew, to reflect His compassion.
Second, they were learning to…Rely on His resources. So it was approaching evening, and the sun was beginning to set, so this was Jesus’ out…send them home to get something to eat. Besides, the disciples said, “We’re out here in the middle of nowhere and we don’t have anything to feed them.” But they had no idea just how much they had to feed these crowds around them. It was like they were standing in front of Niagra falls and saying they couldn’t find anything to drink. Jesus looked at them and said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat” (and the emphasis in the language is on you). The disciples responded, “But we’ve only got five loaves of bread and two fish.” And that was the point. Jesus was calling these disciples to do something that they could not do in their own power, with their own resources.
He was teaching them to recognize their insufficiency, and at the same time to realize His sufficiency…in two ways…one…Jesus meets needs in us. Without question, part of the point of this story is to show us Jesus’ sufficiency to meet the deepest needs in our lives. This is really clear in John’s account of the story in John 6, where Jesus uses this miracle to show the crowds that He Himself is the bread of life. He is not even primarily the One who gives what satisfies; He is personally the One who is what satisfies. He has not just come to give us bread; He has come to be our bread…to be the sustaining satisfier of our souls. And we see this in wonderful ways in this story…ways that are grounded in Old Testament imagery and history. See that Jesus is the new Moses
He is the new Moses. This picture of God’s provision through bread takes us all the way back to Moses promising God’s people bread from heaven in Exodus 15. That’s why Jesus says in John 6:32, “It was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.”Jesus is the new Moses…and He is the greater prophet.
He is the greater prophet.You look back in 1 Kings 17, and you see how the prophet Elijah took a widow’s jar of flour and a jug of oil to last throughout the drought. In 2 Kings 4, and you see how the prophet Elisha fed a hundred men with twenty barley loaves and some left over. Here is Jesus taking these prophetic miracles to new heights. He is the new Moses, the greater prophet, and the Messianic host.
He is the Messianic host. Most biblical scholars believe that Jesus feeding the crowds was a foretaste of what He talked about in Matthew 8, where many will recline with Him at the table in the kingdom of heaven to enjoy a feast together. This banquet with masses of people on a green, grassy hillside is intended to be a foretaste of a greater multitude who will one day feast at the table with Jesus. Oh, Jesus meets needs in us. To all whose souls are hungry to be satisfied…to all who have tried to fill your stomachs with the things of this world only to come up empty every time…I invite you to taste and see that the Lord is good. Jesus alone is uniquely able to meet the needs of our souls. Jesus meets needs in us…but that’s not the only point here. He also meets needs through us.
Jesus meets needs through us. Now think about this…if the point of this story was only to show us Jesus’ sufficiency, He could have called down bread from heaven…right into people’s laps. The people would have seen, and maybe even recognized Him more so as the new Moses. But instead, He prays and asks for the Father’s blessing, and then He calls His disciples to His side. Jesus does not give out one piece of bread here. Instead, He gives the bread to the disciples, and they distribute it. Now we’re not told exactly how this miracle took place…our imagination is free to wonder about how five loaves suddenly, or maybe slowly began to multiply from His hands into their hands. But that is the picture…the hands of Christ serving the hands of His disciples, and the hands of His disciples then serving the crowds.That is powerful! Yes, Jesus alone is sufficient to meet needs in us, yet He is also gracious to use us to meet needs in others. Disciples of Jesus are an extension of His mercy…and His miraculous power…in the lives of men and women! Wow!
Oh, just pause and think about this…oh, grow in your faith here. Are you surrounded by needs in the people you live among, work around? Are we surrounded by needs in this city? Are we surrounded by needs in this world? Urgent spiritual and physical need? Do not think, “Well, what can I do about it? I have so little.” Don’t even begin to think that way. You are standing at Niagra Falls; don’t you see that there is plenty of water? Jesus stands ready to meet the deepest needs of our souls…AND to use our lives, with all of His resources at our disposal, to meet others’ needs.
Oh, let us be the most generous, giving, serving, sacrificing, proclaiming people on the planet…as an extension of the mercy and miraculous power of Christ…may He multiply our resources for the good of others and the glory of His name. And see it…when we do…watch what happens…these disciples are learning to reflect Jesus’ compassion, rely on Jesus’ resources, and to…receive His blessing.
Can you imagine the blessing of even being involved in this miracle? You saw five loaves and two fish, but you are passing out loaf after loaf and fish after fish to thousands of people. Where is it coming from? Just imagine the joy and elation associated with this scene. But as if that is not enough…can it be a coincidence that the disciples pick up leftovers, and there are twelve basketfuls left? Twelve baskets of bread in the hands of twelve disciples. Oh, get the picture…when you serve with Christ, with the resources of Christ, with the compassion of Christ, there is blessing…Jesus will show Himself not only to be enough for others as you serve; Jesus will always show Himself to be enough for you. And that then leads us into this second story…this second picture of belief…but this time it’s…faith in the face if fear.
Faith in the face of fear…
Now we know from John’s account of this story that after this happened, the people were ready to crown Jesus King right there on the spot. Jesus, of course, knew that that was not the Father’s plan, and therefore He and the disciples now needed to get away as quickly as possible. So verse 22 says…
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:22-33 ESV)
OK…what I want to do is I want to show you how this story is an illustration, in so many ways, of various truths that we all over Scripture and particularly in the rest of the New Testament. I want to show you how this account of Jesus’ disciples in the middle of a storm, Jesus’ walking out to them on the water, and then even Peter’s getting out of the boat to join Him on the water, illustrates wonderful, glorious truths for all disciples of all time, particularly in difficult times.
I mentioned earlier that I wanted to speak this morning particularly to people who are walking through challenging circumstances…different kinds of storms…so if that’s you, pay attention here closely. Even if that’s not you, pay attention closely and hide these things in your heart so that you will remember them next time the circumstances of your life are rocking you back and forth across the waves of this world. Five truths that I believe this story illustrates, and I’ll mention other places in Scripture where these things are explicitly taught.
One…Jesus is sovereign over you. Notice how Jesus Himself sends these guys off into the boat…probably around 7/8/9 p.m. that night. Now later, the text tells us that Jesus came out to them on the sea in the fourth watch of the night, which is anywhere between 3 and 6 in the morning. So the picture is, you’ve got the disciples on the boat for at least six hours, if not more, by themselves, while Jesus is over on the mountainside. At least six hours…some think nine hours…on the sea…and during that time battling a wind storm. A wind storm, by the way, that Matthew 8:23-27 taught us Jesus had control over. So for 6-9 hours, they were out on the boat, tossed by the wind, and they were there because Jesus had sent them there…and with Jesus knowing where they were the whole time…and all of this taking place under His authority. Do you see this? In the entire time that these disciples were battling this wind, Jesus was holding both the disciples and the wind in His hands.
And I want you to know this…brothers and sisters walking through difficult circumstances…know this… Number one, Jesus is not unaware of what is going on around you. 2 Corinthians 12, Hebrews 4 – He is familiar with your weaknesses…He knows your struggles. And not only is He aware, but He is working. He is working, Romans 8, for your good…in all things…even in these things. He holds you…and your trials…in His hands.
He is sovereign over it all. Now…let me pause for a moment just to acknowledge that many times we find ourselves in storms not because Jesus sent us there, but because we sinfully walked into the middle of them.We oftentimes find ourselves surrounded by difficulty not because of our obedience, but because of our disobedience….and our sin leads us into all kinds of storms. Is Jesus sovereign over you in this? Yes, absolutely, but His Word to you in that kind of circumstance is clear:“Obey.” Turn from your sin and trust in the only One who is sovereign to save you from your sin. Jesus is sovereign over you.
Second…Jesus is interceding for you. Oh, can you imagine this scene? There are the disciples, being tossed around in the middle of the sea, and however far away, on the mountainside, there is Jesus…on His knees in prayer. Imagine that scene, and then hear Romans 8:31…
“What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but willingly gave Him up for us all…how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is He that condemns? Christ Jesus, who was raised from the dead, is at the right hand of God AND HE IS INTERCEDING FOR US. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither high not depth, nor anything else in all creation, will ever be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39)
Jesus is interceding for you, Christian. Oh, look at your trial differently today, knowing that the very Son of God is at the right hand of God at this moment, interceding for you, ready to give you the strength and sustenance you need through His Spirit at every single moment you need it. You are not alone…which leads to the third truth…
The third truth…Jesus is present with you. So then Jesus decides to come out to them…oh, I love this…walking on the water.They were frightened, as you or I would be, thinking he was a ghost.And Jesus says, “Take heart; don’t be afraid. It is I.”
And the language He uses there directly echoes God’s revelation of Himself to Moses in Exodus 3, when God revealed Himself as the Lord, the “I AM.” Oh, do you see this? Jesus not only stills storms (which we saw in Matthew 8 and we’ll see again in a moment), but He uses storms as a pathway to greater revelation of Himself. There is no question biblically that God sovereignly ordains trials in our lives at various points in order to reveal His character and nature to us in ways that we would never know apart from the storm. And it is in the midst of the storm that the presence of Christ becomes all the more real.
“I am with you always,” He promises, and we remind ourselves of this promise every week before we leave this place. He is with you; therefore, you need not fear.
He is present with you…Jesus is strength in you. So Peter decides he wants to be with Jesus…and the translation here is less, “If it’s you, command me to come to you on the water,” as much as, “Since it’s you, command me to come to you on the water.” Recognizing that it was Jesus, Peter trusts that with Jesus’ power and authority, at Jesus’ command, he too can join Him walking on the water. Oh, what a picture…knowing that amidst trial, you do not have strength, but Jesus does, and as you trust in Him, you experience His strength in you. Now the key there is “as you trust in Him,” because Peter steps out of the boat here, and everything is going fine until verse 30 says Peter saw the wind (or more appropriately, the effects of the wind on the waves all around him), and then he begins to sink.
He cries out, “Lord save me,” and Jesus reaches out His hand, takes hold of him, and says, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Now this is where I want to give you a pastoral caution when it comes to faith. If we are not careful, we will read this story, hear Jesus talking about little faith, and we’ll miss the point. We will begin to think, “Well, I just need to muster up more faith.” People say, “Well, if I have enough faith, I’ll be healed of this disease.” Or, “If I have enough faith, this will all end.” But that is not the point. That kind of thinking skews faith because it makes it entirely dependent on what you can manufacture or muster up.
And this is where I want you to see that…What matters most is not the measure of your faith. Even when Jesus talks about Peter having little faith here, I don’t want you to think that this is something subjective that you have to manufacture or create. What matters most is not the measure of your faith…What matters most is always the object of your faith. And that’s the point that Jesus is making clear to Peter. Why did Jesus call Peter’s faith little? Because Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, the object of his faith…and as soon as he did, he began to sink. Your faith is strong only when the object of your faith is strong. Remember the illustration of the airplane…
When I was living in New Orleans, I had messed up my schedule. I had planned to preach in Northern Mississippi on Friday night and then teach in New Orleans on Saturday morning, and all day, and then be back in Northern Mississippi to teach on Saturday night, and there was no way I could do it driving. So I called up the guy in northern Mississippi and said, “Man I have blown it. I have doubled things up, and I’m not going to be able to do it.” And he says, “I’ve got the solution, I can fly you on Saturday from northern Mississippi down to New Orleans and then fly you back up.” And I was like, Man I have hit the big time I’m now traveling to speaking engagements on a private jet. And so. I’m pretty excited thinking I am at a new level here. So I drive up to northern Mississippi that night, and there’s a whole story there about how Jim Shaddix my mentor was also involved in this picture and he needed to fly back as well.
So what happened is I preach Friday night and about 4 in the morning on Saturday morning I go to what I suppose is the airport. More like a …field. And we get there at 4 in the morning and there’s this sputtering plane right there and there’s this guy asleep in an old pick up truck. I go and I knock on the window and I find out…this is the pilot. So I’m like, “Hey man are you flying this thing? He says, “Oh yeah, yeah, just a second.” He wipes the sleep out of his eyes. So we get in this plane, tiny little plane, and there’s two seats in the front and kind of a seat in the back, that’s where Shaddix is sitting, I’m sitting in the front. And I’m just expecting this guy to go out to these propellors and just kind of hand, manually pull those things down and get us going. I’m thinking, “do we need to push? How is this going to work?”. So we’re sitting in the plane, he gets it started and we’re coming and around and we’re about to prepare to take off, and all the sudden my door flies open. And the pilot looks at me and he says, “is that your door?”, and I say, “yeah that’s my door… its open.” He said, “I forgot to lock it.” I say Oh ok. So he gets out and he goes around to lock it. I turn around and I see Shaddix his eyes are this big. And I’m thinking, “that was my door! What if that happened 10,000 feet from now? That’s not good!”. Forgot to lock it.
So, we take off and as we’re taking off that’s when it hits me. I can have all the faith in the world that this plane is going to get me to New Orleans, but when the right wing falls off it doesn’t matter how much faith you’ve got. At that point this thing is going down. Right? Not the measure of your faith that’s most important at that point…it’s the object of your faith. Most important. See this in the middle of your trial. See this. See the object of your faith. Look to Jesus.
As long as your faith is in your circumstances, as long as your faith is focused on anyone or anything apart from Christ…then it won’t matter how much faith you have.
If your eyes are on the wind, you will fall. If your faith is based on your circumstances, then it will bob up and down according to the wind and waves of this world. But when your eyes are on Christ…when the all-sovereign, gracious, loving, merciful Savior and King of creation is the focus of your faith, you can always rest secure. Your faith will be constant, because Christ is constant. Hebrews 12:2 - “Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such suffering, so that you will not grow weary or fainthearted.” When you are weak, He is strong. So don’t try to be stronger. Instead, trust in His strength. Jesus is strength in you, and…Jesus is peace around you.
It’s almost a passing note here at the end of the story in verse 32, but as soon as Jesus gets in the boat, the wind immediately ceases. He is the only One able to bring peace in the middle of the storm…and there is coming a day, we know from all of Scripture and all over the New Testament, when He will bring total and complete peace to His people. Oh, persevere, brothers and sisters, in the midst of trials and temptations, knowing that He is peace in the midst of the storm, and one day soon we will know His peace completely. Jesus is sovereign over you, He is interceding for you, He is present with you, He is strength in you, and He is peace around you.
All of this leads to the climax of the chapter – verse 33 – when the disciples in the boat worship Jesus, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” This is the first time that the disciples address Jesus in this way. We’ve seen the Father call Jesus the Son (Matthew 3), and we’ve even seen demons call Jesus the Son of God (Matthew 8), but this is the first time the disciples worship Him in this way.Do you see it? The relationship between belief and worship. Once you recognize who Jesus is, you realize how He is to be worshiped.Two pictures of belief lead to two pictures of worship.
The Picture of Worship…
And this is where I want to invite you to worship this morning. In view of the One who calmed the storm and walked on the water, I want to invite you to fall at the feet of the One who saves the perishing
Fall at the feet of the One who saves the perishing.
Put your faith in Him. Believe in Him. Look to Him…cry out for Him to save you.
And to all who trust in Him for His salvation, I want to invite you to feast at the table with the One who satisfies the hungry.
Feast at the table with the One who satisfies the hungry.
May this picture of a feast around bread in Matthew 6 lead us to a feast around bread this morning as we look to the only One who can truly satisfy our souls. And we anticipate the day when we will sit around the table with Him in His presence with perfect peace.