Jan 9- Jesus Walked on Water

1. Jesus Sent the Disciples into a Storm

We can’t miss the opening of this account. It is easy to do with all that follows, but if we do, we miss a critical point. Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and cross the sea without Him (see. Mt. 14:22). Knowing what waited for them: a storm.

A common belief is that God wants to protect His people from trouble and danger. It is not true. Sometimes God wants us to go through a trial—sometimes He brings it to pass in our lives—because He knows that He will do something for His glory and our good through that trial.

God’s promise is not the absence of storms, but rather His presence in storms. And that He uses all things. Even difficult things. This doesn’t mean that we pursue adversity, but it does mean that we should not flee from it. And it certainly means we should not believe that God has failed us when we experience it.

2. Jesus Prioritized Prayer

I need to confess that I am not good at praying. It is the spiritual discipline I am the weakest in. And I know that I am far from being alone.

Why is it so hard for us to pray? I have a few ideas, but I am not sure exactly why. But one thing we do know is that Jesus had no issue with praying (see Mt. 14:23). We see Him often pulling away to pray in the Gospels, including here.

Jesus needed to pray. Jesus wanted to pray. So Jesus prayed.

So do we. And so should we.

3. Jesus Calls on Us to Recognize Who He Is

In the middle of the storm, Jesus came to the disciples by walking on the water. The disciples, understandably, are confused by what they were seeing—or thought they were seeing. “It’s a ghost” they exclaimed (see Mt. 14:26). They didn’t think they were seeing a disembodied spirit, but rather a vision.

The word ghost (Gk phantasma) was used in Greek literature to describe dream visions or spirit apparitions. In the OT a closely related term referred to a dream or vision in which one saw something that was not real (Is 28:7; Jb 20:8 [LXX]). Matthew’s usage may imply that the disciples thought their eyes were deceiving them. The language of the text does not imply that the Bible supports the belief that spirits of the dead roam the earth. [Holman Bible Staff (2017). (p. 1526). CSB Study Bible. Holman Bible Publishers. Retrieved from https://app.wordsearchbible.lifeway.com]

We need to pay attention to Jesus’ response:

Immediately Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27 CSB)

The phrase “It is I” deserves careful consideration. What Jesus said here is a little obscured by the English translation, but literally He said, “I am.” This is significant because it echoes back to God revealing His name as Yahweh—I Am Who I Am—in Exodus 3:14 which we can trace through the Gospels when Jesus used this phrase several times to affirm His divinity. It seems that this is another one of those times.

“Have courage! I am God! Don’t be afraid.”

In the moment when the disciples were afraid—in their moment of need—Jesus did not draw their attention to what He could do for them, but rather who He is. You get the former and you can still miss the latter. But if you get the latter, you get the former too.

The truth of who Jesus is needs to reverberate through our souls day-by-day and minute-by-minute. We can never move past this. We can never take it for granted. We are followers of the person of Jesus Christ—the Son of God—not the idea of Jesus Christ.

4. Jesus Calls on Us to Place Faith in Him

While we don’t want to focus on Peter in this passage, neither do we want to neglect Him. We need to give Peter some credit. He was the only disciple who had the faith to even suggest getting out of the boat—and that is what he did. And when he began to sink, he rightly called out to Christ for salvation.

But the main teaching point about Peter is not to keep our focus on Jesus rather than the waves, but what Jesus said to Peter. “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Mt. 14:31).

Knowing that Jesus is the Son of God is, of course, critical. But we cannot stop at knowing that—we are called to place our faith in Him. To believe in Him. To trust in Him. Not just for our salvation, but for our day-to-day lives.

Sometimes we can see faith through an abstract lens. We see it as something out there—as an abstract thing. But here we are also reminded that there is always a practical aspect to our faith. Faith prompts actions. Always. The actions might be big. They might be small. But they should always be there.

*Devo from Pastor Brian, from The Gospel Project.

#JesusJams for today!

---> And here's this week's story!!

Christ Connection: Jesus proved that He can be trusted. His miracles, teaching, death, and resurrection showed that He is who He says He is. Only Jesus can save us when we look to Him in faith.
If you have a bible at your house, you'll be turning to Matthew 14 to read with your family this week! If you don't have one, that's okay! CLICK HERE.

OPTION 1: Walk on what? Guide the kids to mimic you as you call out different surfaces and pretend to walk on that surface. Allow volunteers to suggest surfaces to mimic walking on. Suggested surfaces:

• pavement • quicksand

•slippery ice •a very steep hill • water SAY • Humans struggle to walk on some surfaces, such as slippery things or hills that are too steep. One thing that people cannot walk on is water. Our bodies are much too dense, and our feet push right through the surface. Today we will learn about a time Jesus miraculously walked on water anyway.

OPTION 2: Cross the lake Form two teams of kids. Provide each team with two sheets of blue construction paper. Instruct the teams to line up on one side of the room. When you say go, the first player in each team will use the construction paper to cross the room by laying one sheet down, stepping onto it, laying the next down, stepping to it, then grabbing the first and repeating the process like stepping stones. The first team to have each team member cross and return wins. SAY •That was a tough way to walk across the room, but it wasn’t impossible. Today we will hear about a time Jesus did something usually impossible.

OPTION 3: Wave mural Provide a large sheet of paper. Allow the kids to remove a shoe and trace a footprint on the paper. Provide markers, crayons, and other craft supplies to the kids to decorate the paper to look like waves. You may hang the mural in a hallway or on a focal wall for kids to look at and remember this story. SAY Jesus showed He is God by walking on water. When you remember this story, remember that when God calls you to take a step of faith, you can trust Him no matter what happens next. You probably won’t ever walk on water, but there are many other difficult things—maybe even things that feel impossible—that God might ask you to do. Everything God does is for His glory and our good. When we take steps of faith to obey God, we can trust that He will use us in His wonderful plans.