Jesus came to them on the very thing they feared the most. The storm. They feared the storm. They were afraid of the storm. They'd been on this lake, but there was no storm like this. They thought they were going to die. They were afraid. Those waves were big, and that boat was about to toss over. And it's interesting that Jesus came to them on the very thing they feared the most. It was that thing that became the footpath of Christ. We'll be right back. Where we'll continue from verse 15 through 21.
And as you find that spot, we'll catch up with Skip Heitzig as he resumes this study. Were the disciples in that boat in that storm because they were disobedient because they were bad little disciples and only bad little disciples have storms in their lives? Were they in that storm because they were out of the will of God?
No, they were in the, and I bring that up because there's some people who say, well, if you're a Christian, you won't go through these things. They were in that storm because they were in the center of the will of God. Put them in the boat, and he sent them out into the storm.
Why would he do that? Well, let's go to another incident. Go back in your minds to the exodus. The children of Israel leave Egypt and go to the promised land. Now, if you remember the story, God not only tells them where to go, but he gives them the exact route on how to get there. And if you look at a map, this always puzzled me. They weren't given the direct route.
The easiest route would be to go up the coastline directly north and turn inland. But God put them in the weirdest route, and he brought them to the Red Sea. And so on one side, there were mountains and desert. It was impassable. On the other side, mountains and desert, uncrossable.
Before them was a body of water, uncrossable, they thought. And if they ever wanted to get out of that cul-de-sac, they couldn't because just when they thought, this is crazy, the Egyptian army boxed them in. So you know what God was doing?
Deliberately putting them into a trap. You know why? Because God wants to show them that he has resources they knew nothing about. That God can get them out of situations that are impossible to get out of. And so it is with his storm.
I'm sharing this because I believe that knowing that will revolutionize your pain. If you realize, I'm just the crew. God is the captain. He brought me to this place. My captain sent me into this storm.
That's huge. I mean, what makes me think that if I'm a Christian or if I'm a pastor, that my life should be somehow smooth waters, smooth sailing? And yet, I know some Christians who have that notion. If I'm a Christian and I'm obedient, only good things will happen.
Really? Boy, you'd be like a worthless person if that were true. You'd be such a shallow person if that were true. Charles Haddon Spurgeon spoke to his congregation these words. I believe, he said, the hardest-hearted, most unlovely Christians in all the world are those who have never had much trouble. And those who are the most sympathizing, loving, Christ-like are those who have had the most affliction. The worst thing that can happen to any of us is to have our path made too smooth.
Isn't that interesting? So now you know what I might be praying for if you come up and you're like really a cantankerous person. Lord, send them a storm.
Make them a lovely person. Here's what I want you to note. You can make your plans and you should, you can set your agenda and you should, but just understand that if you write the script, that God always has editing rights. You set the course for the boat, God can always come in and alter the course. And He does.
Weather is unpredictable. God's the captain. You're just the crew. Number three, if you get sent into a storm, resources will be provided. I'll take you to verse 18. The sea arose because of a great wind that was blowing. So they rode about three or four miles. The Sea of Galilee is only about seven to eight miles wide and 12 to 13 miles in diameter, so they were like right in the middle, right?
Right in the middle of the lake. They saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat, and they were afraid. But He said to them, it is I.
Do not be afraid. Now if you put all the stories together, and we will in just a moment, there's three things I want you to discover about Jesus. Number one, He knows. Number two, He prays.
And number three, He comes. He knew exactly what was happening. Do you believe that? Do you think Jesus was up on the mountain and He's doing His thing, praying, and He did not know what was happening to the disciples? Is God ever out of the office? Does God ever go, oh, I didn't know that.
I'm so sorry. He knew exactly. Go back to Mark chapter six, and watch this. Mark chapter six, verse 47. Now when evening had come, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night, He came to them walking on the sea and would have passed them by. He saw them straining at the oars. Boy, don't you think you've got to have pretty good eyesight to see a boat four miles away, and now you're still a little bit more inland on top of a hill?
I've been on the Sea of Galilee. I can't see a mile away a boat with the haze. And not only to see that there's a boat, but to have such detail as to be able to see that the people aboard that boat are having a difficult time straining at the oars. That's pretty good eyesight. In fact, I would say it's impossible to see that way unless you can see some other way.
That's sort of the whole point, isn't it? He is God omniscient. He knew exactly what was going on on that boat. He could see it. He knew it in advance. We mentioned Job.
Remember Job? In chapter 23, he said something that's profound, and I know you've experienced it. He's in the heart of his deepest struggle, deepest trial, and he writes this, I go forward and I can't find God. I go backward, I cannot perceive Him. I look on the right hand, the left hand, He's not there.
Ever had that experience? You're in a trial. You're looking for God. You're wanting His peace. You're wanting His presence.
Nothing. So you know what Job finally says? He goes, I've looked everywhere for God. I can't find Him. But then he says, but He knows the way that I take, and when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
Did you get that truth? I can't find God. I can't see God. But God sees me, and I'm okay with that. He knows everything.
That's a good thing to think about. What does God know? God knows everything. God knows everything. Jesus said that God knows the number of the hairs of your head.
Now, for some, that math is getting easier every year. But God knows that. God knows that. David said, in effect, God knows when we cry. He said that God puts our tears and stores them in a bottle, like a little memorial. He knows every time we're sorrowful and every tear that is shed, God knows that. Jeremiah, or I should say God, through Jeremiah, said, I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord.
The thoughts of goodness and of peace, to give you a future and a hope. God knows everything. And that's the first resource we have, is knowing that even if I can't see or feel God, though He's not a parent, He is certainly aware, He knows. Second, He prays. You say, excuse me? That's right, Jesus prays.
And if that's all new information for you, then you're about to be wowed because you're going to see it. Now go back to Mark, chapter 6, verse 46. The Word says, And He sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. Question, what is He praying for?
Well, in all honesty, we don't know. We're not told what He's praying for. But can I say, I bet you at least part of His prayer is for the disciples? I mean, if He can see that far and He knows what's going on in the boat and the struggle that His friends are having, and knowing what He does in John 17, remember when He prays for His disciples, Father, I pray for those that You have given Me, for they were Yours and You gave them to Me.
I pray for them. I'm sure He was praying for His disciples. In fact, He might have been praying for them right down the line. Lord, I pray for Peter.
He's about to say something really stupid. And then I pray for Andrew because he's going to follow suit. And I pray for Thomas because he's just like so bummed out, he's shaking his head, the whole boy.
He's probably been praying for every single one all the way down the line. I have a question. How would you feel if you knew that Jesus was in the next room praying for you? Would that like bolster you? Would that like give you courage and confidence to like, I can handle this if you knew that? You know how it is when somebody comes up to you that you know and love on earth and goes, I've been praying for you. You go, oh, that's awesome. But what if you knew Jesus was praying for you?
Well, that's the newsflash. He is. You see, it says in Hebrews, the writer of Hebrews chapter 7 verse 25 writes this. Therefore, He, Jesus, is able to save completely those who come to God through Him because He always lives to intercede for them. Intercede means to pray on behalf of.
That's what Jesus lives for. He's at the Father's right hand and He lives to pray for you. That means every trial you have, every situation, Jesus is talking to the Father about you. And can I add, if anybody knows how to pray, it's Him.
After all, as God, He became a man. He knows what suffering is all about. So when He talks to the Father about your pain, it's because He knows it firsthand. He knows. He prays.
Here's the third resource. He comes. He comes to them in the storm. Verse 19. When they had rode three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat. And they were afraid, but He said, it is I, do not be afraid. I have a question. See if you remember this from Mark.
If you have your hand there, you'll know the answer. When did Jesus come to them? What part of the night? What watch of the night? Fourth watch. Now why did Mark tell us that?
I'll tell you why he told us that. He wants you to know how long those disciples had been out there. You see, they left at probably sunset. It was evening and then the sun was setting.
It got dark. And the night is divided into four watches. Watch number one is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Watch number two, 9 p.m. to midnight.
Watch number three, midnight to 3 a.m. And fourth watch of the night from 3 in the morning to 6 in the morning. That's when Jesus came to them. Fourth watch of the night.
You know what that means? It means they've been out on the Sea of Galilee rowing, struggling, suffering from between 8 to 12 hours. When they were near exhaustion at the very end of their wits and could go no further, fourth watch of the night, Jesus showed up. Now I'm sure if they could have voted, they would have said, Could you please come the first watch of the night? But he didn't come the first, nor the second, nor the third, but he came between 3 in the morning and 6 in the morning. They were exhausted.
They were weary. He came in their extreme case, but he came nonetheless. Listen, if God has you in a storm, he has his eye on that boat and he has his hand on those waves.
And he's not going to allow anything to happen to you that you can't handle. Question. Why did Jesus walk on the water? Was he showing off? Did he come to impress him? Did he walk up to the boat like, Hey, this is pretty cool.
Can you do this? I don't think he did that. I don't think it was for that reason. It wasn't just to wow them.
This is what I believe. Jesus came to them on the very thing they feared the most. The storm. They feared the storm. They were afraid of the storm.
They'd been on this lake, but there was no storm like this. They thought they were going to die. They were afraid. Those waves were big and that boat was about to toss over. It's interesting that Jesus came to them on the very thing they feared the most. It was that thing that became the footpath of Christ to them. Now I know we all hate storms. We all dread the idea of a possible surgery, of a possible death of a loved one, of the loss of any kind. But I also know from experience and from talking to thousands of people that in the darkest moment on the very thing they feared the most, often they find Jesus in the deepest presence.
I've never experienced God like I have then. And he came. Corrie Ten Boom was part of a family that sheltered Jews in World War II. They were arrested.
She was put in a concentration camp for that. She said, if God ever sends you on stony paths, he'll provide good shoes. I would rewrite that for our purpose and say if he ever sends you in a storm, he provides great boats. He'll provide you the resources that you need. He knows, he prays, and he comes. Well, let's finish this up. Look at verse 21 of John chapter 6.
Here's the fourth point. The sky will clear. The storm won't last forever.
They willingly received him in the boat and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going. That storm didn't last a week or a month or a year. Some storms do. This one had a beginning and it had an end. And if there's one thing I've noticed about storms is that God knows when to end them and have the sun come out. So that you can go, it doesn't mean you'll never have another one, but he knows how to time them.
They're seasonal. Now, there was one guy on that boat ride named Peter, right? He was on the boat, wasn't he?
Am I right? Peter was riding in that boat. Well, Peter wrote years later a letter in which he said, We rejoice, though now for a season you are in heaviness because of many trials. You see, it's not perpetual. It's seasonal. There's a season for them.
There's a time that they begin and a time that they end. Did you notice verse 21? It's another miracle, really. It says, Immediately the boat was at the land where they were going. Isn't that interesting? They put Jesus on the boat and it's like, Whoa, we're here.
You know what that tells me? The hardship, the trial. They didn't waste any time in that. They didn't waste any time.
Now, I hear people say, Well, if only I didn't have this in my life, I could do that. I don't think you'll waste any time if God has you in a time of trial and adversity. I think he is quite able to get you to the right destination at the right time.
And you will not be wasting any time. Now, that leads me to end this sermon with sort of a caution. Watch your attitude during a storm. Because, as I mentioned, a storm is very disorienting.
And it tends toward not only asking why, but it tends toward complaining. Why, Lord? Why me? Why now?
Why this? And that questioning can lead to despising, which can lead to bitterness. Watch your attitude during a storm. When the writer of Hebrews talks about trials, he says, My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Don't become so impatient and so embittered and so angered and so indifferent that we say things like, God, this is getting old. This is enough.
Right? Well, it sort of brings up the question, Why a storm anyway? I mean, why does God put me in the boat, send me out to the storm, change the weather, change the... Why does He do all that?
Answer, it's pretty easy. Because He's still working on you. I don't know if you know this or not, but you're not perfect. You've got a lot of growth to do.
Amen? So, because of that, He's going to always be working on you. In fact, I would say this, when He's done working on you, you know what's going to happen to you?
You'll flat line, you'll go right to heaven. I know you're thinking, God, keep working on me. Lord, just keep working on me. Oh, and He will. And He will do it without your counsel.
He's a committee of one. And He knows everything that's going on and He knows everything you're going through and He knows exactly what's best for you. And so you go for the ride. You go for the ride. And you worship and you rejoice. Because what makes you different from an unbeliever is they go on the ride and they have no point of reference. It's just a bad thing that happens to everybody.
But it's timed and planned and prescribed for you. I want to tell you a story. I was with my wife this week at her doctor's and he saw that I was a motorcycle enthusiast. So he goes, I want to tell you a motorcycle story.
I go, oh, here it goes. He said, there's a couple. They're from Colorado. They're motorcycle enthusiasts, husband and wife.
They love each other, devout Christians. She's a photographer. They love to travel around.
She takes pictures. They're on a ride and there's this big truck in front of them. If you're a motorcycle rider, you know you want to get away from that truck. So the driver's looking for a time to pass the truck. Eventually he says, now's the time.
Now's the time. He accelerates, not knowing that on this little highway in that lane was a stalled, parked vehicle. And as he passed the truck, full force, his motorcycle hit that car. They flew up in the air, hit the ground. Ambulance came, took him to the hospital. Now they survived.
They're fine today. But while they were doing a CAT scan on the female passenger, they discovered on the CAT scan a stage one ovarian tumor. Stage one. They never would have discovered that tumor had she not had a CAT scan. She never would have had a CAT scan unless they were in that accident. And you have to understand, that couple was thanking God they had a motorcycle accident to spot that at that time to treat it successfully. Now, the disciples do something very smart. Verse 21. They willingly received Jesus into the boat.
Yeah, that's a smart thing to do. Whenever there's a storm, get Jesus in the boat. Right? Because the boat ain't sinking if he's on board, right? Jesus, it's so good to see you, man. Come on board.
Right? Is it worth sailing through life without Christ? Some of you are sailing around. You've got your plans. Everything's good. Weather's good. Sales are good.
You're fit. You haven't been in the storm yet. Not the one that's coming. You don't want to go without Jesus in the boat. If you haven't invited him into your life, that'd be a great time to do that. There are lots of things we can do to prepare for the storms of life.
But first and foremost is what Skip just mentioned. Make sure Jesus is in the boat with you. If he isn't, and if you'd like to talk with someone about how to invite Jesus into the boat with you, we'd be happy to tell you how to do that. Just call us at 1-800-922-1888. That's just about all the time we have for today. But before we go, we have an excellent new resource for you this month at connectwithskip.com. What is God's will for your life? Skip Heitzig has biblical direction. The will of God is not some mystical, impractical, ethereal process that makes you weird. It is not a maze.
It is not a puzzle that you have to put together and figure it out. In fact, sometimes the will of God is so plain and straightforward, the Bible just tells you what the will of God is. Shed the Bible's bright light on your path ahead with Discovering God's Will, an eight-message package from Pastor Skip. You can uncover and understand what the Lord wants to show you about his will.
It's not always easy, but the answers are in there. We want to send you these insightful messages as thanks for your gift today to support Connect with Skip Heitzig and help expand this teaching ministry to more major cities in the U.S. in 2023. So request your copy when you give today and begin to let God direct your path for your good and his glory. Just call 800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com slash offer. That's connectwithskip.com slash offer. You can also get in touch with us for a copy of today's teaching. It's available on CD for just $4 plus shipping when you contact us at 1-800-922-1888 or when you visit connectwithskip.com or write to us at P.O.
Box 95707, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87199. Do the ends justify the means? We'll explore the answer to that in our next study right here in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross and cast all burdens on his word. Make a connection, a connection, a connection. Connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
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