Then He directed the disciples to get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent away the crowds. And after He had dismissed the multitudes, He went up into the hills by Himself to pray. When it was evening, He was still there alone. Matthew 14:22-23 AMP
'He' is Jesus. Jesus gave the disciples a directive, get into the boat and go before Him to the other side. The Message Bible says Jesus insisted they get into the boat,
As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side which he dismissed the people. Matthew 14:22-23 The Message
Jesus told them what to do, get in the boat, and where they were going, to the other side. It appears He was very clear about these instructions. The disciples were obedient and got in the boat. But then the trip to the other side became tumultuous.
But the boat was by this time out on the sea, many furlongs [a furlong is one-eighth of a mile] distant from the land, beaten and tossed by the waves, for the wind was against them. Matthew 14:24 AMP
Let's stop there for a moment in the story and think about our own lives. Has there been a time when you have received a directive from Jesus? If yes, did you obey, and then found that things became a bit tumultuous like it did for the disciples in the boat? What happened next in your story?
Or it maybe that you have said yes, and you are experiencing the storm now, and you feel that you are being battered, just like the disciples.
Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. Matthew 14:24 The Message
What do you do? I have heard a sermon about this story suggesting that perhaps the disciples, when in the midst of the storm, forgot the directive Jesus had given them - to go before Him to the other side. A directive that indicates that they will get to the other side. Jesus just doesn't mention that there could be a storm along the way.
So for us, in those stormy times, it is important to keep seeking God, and if you don't hear any new direction, go back to what Jesus last told you to do. And just keep obeying that last directive.
Now back to the story ...
And in the fourth watch [between 3:00 - 6:00 am] of the night, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified and said, It is is a ghost! And they screamed out with fright.
But instantly He spoke to them, saying, Take courage! I AM! Stop being afraid. Matthew 14:25-27 AMP
There is a lot to take in in those three scriptures. But today I want to focus on Jesus words, Take courage! I AM! Stop being afraid.
Jesus had told them what to do, get in the boat. He had told them where they were going, to the other side. And now, in the midst of the storm, He was reminding them that He is all powerful, He has all authority, and they do not need to be afraid.
And it is the same for us. We need to remember that Jesus is with us. He is all powerful. He has all authority. We can stop being afraid. He has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
Sometimes we may have remind ourselves of this regularly (in the time-frame of minutes). And if that's what it takes, that is exactly what we need to do.
You will probably know that there is more to this story of the disciples in the storm, but for today, I am going to stop here, and encourage us to meditate on that scripture of John 14:27,
But instantly He spoke to them, saying, Take courage! I AM! Stop being afraid. John 14:27 AMP