Keep Your Eyes On Christ


The setting is 2000 years ago in northern Israel. You have dedicated your life to following around this mysterious man named Jesus of Nazareth. During the time that you have been following this man, He has performed some of the most incredible things you have ever witnessed. There is no doubt you are extremely confident about making Him your master.

One afternoon, following Jesus miraculously feeding thousands of hungry people with two fish and a loaf of bread, He tells you and the others to get in a small boat and sail across the Galilean Sea to meet Him on the other side. You don't argue, you just walk with the others, get in the boat, and start sailing. Up until you started your discipleship with Jesus, you were a career fisherman, so this was an easy normal task for you. 

While you are out fairly far into your journey across the sea, you notice a horrible storm coming your way. You are familiar in dealing with storms in these waters, but typically you would avoid them. But this time, you really have no choice. You HAVE to make it to the other side and meet your master. So you press on. 

Before you know it, the wind is whipping violently and waves are swelling up, knocking the boat all over the place. You and the others struggle to keep the boat afloat and on course, but it's not looking good. You guys are holding ropes in place, scooping water out of the boat just to have it fill back up, keeping your supplies secured so they don't get lost in the water. You are soaked, the wind blowing in your ears is starting to hurt, your hands are getting rope burn, and it's even hard to keep your robes on from the weight of the water. You tumble from side to side of the boat as rolling walls of water smash into your boat. In all the madness, you yell out at the others to help keep the boat from sinking into the loud deafening winds and waves. Things are not looking good, and there is no sign of the storm lifting.

Suddenly, off in the distance, you see a faint figure walking on the water toward the boat. Confused and dismissive, you look away and back again several times, trying to figure out exactly what you are looking at. Meanwhile the others are already terrified and crying out that it's a ghost. You gather yourself to deal with the reality of this figure walking toward you on the water while the storm continues to crash the boat around. What was already making you panic in the storm now is coupled with this bizarre entity, or hallucination, within the waves. Who is that? Is that real? 

Then you hear a voice calling out from the figure walking on the water, "Be of good cheer, it is I. Be not afraid!" You look up again and see that it is your master, Jesus. But you still are not sure if  you can believe your eyes yet. You need to be sure. You call back, "Lord, if it IS you, call me to come out to you on the water." The figure then cries back out to you, "Come." You then recognize this person is, in fact, Jesus! He is actually here, and no doubt, walking on water! Wow! You can't believe your eyes!

You get an overwhelming confidence in your faith, and a measure of comfort at this point. You surely know it's Jesus and you want to go to Him. With your heart and mind racing, and the storm still raging on around you, you muster up the courage to slowly put one of your trembling feet out of the boat, not entirely sure what will happen. But what's this? You have something solid to stand on; in the middle of a sea!? Incredible! The others are watching in horror screaming out, "What are you doing? Are you out of your mind!?" But at this point you are so confident and amazed after the first foot standing firm that you swing your other foot out, and stand completely out of the boat and on the water.

You look right at Jesus, astonished at what is going on. It must be a dream. How is this happening? Jesus gestures His hand, and calls out your name saying, "It's ok. Come to me." Like an infant taking his first steps, you shakily start to walk forward, and to your amazement, you have solid footing with each step. "Amazing!" you are thinking. Keeping your eyes on Jesus, you walk about halfway to your master. You are almost there, and in the wonderment of the moment.

Unfortunately, the feeling of joy is slowly robbed by the frightening storm as your focus gradually shifts to the angry winds and waves that appear to want to swallow you whole. You quickly realize just how overwhelmingly exposed and vulnerable you are at the moment. You also notice you have gone too far from the boat to rescue yourself. After a few moments, you forget about Jesus altogether and become engulfed in fear of the storm around you. As the dread builds up in your heart, you begin to sink into the waters you are standing on. You are certain your time is up. As you start to sink rapidly into the stormy waves, you cry out in angst, "Lord Lord, please... save me! I'm sinking!"

Immediately, Jesus is upon you and grabs your hand, pulling you up above the waters with a loving glow in His eyes. And in a gentle warm voice He says to you, "Oh you of little faith, why did you begin to doubt?"

Jesus pulled you back into the boat, and the two of of you sit. While you try to take a moment to process what just happened, the winds and waves completely cease! You are barely able to rationalize the prior events, when everything abruptly stops and becomes perfectly calm. In a boat full of dazed looked, you all stare at Jesus in astonishment. He gazes lovingly back as if there was never any danger at all. You and the others in the boat cry out, "This surely is the son of God!" and all begin to bow yourselves to Him.


This is a wonderful story that has lots of relevance to us. I'm sure it's not hard to draw the correlations. Our lives can have many very scary storms roaring around us, tossing us all over the place. Marital problems, addictions, health issues, financial trouble, ... just fill in the blank. This world is literally one BIG ONGOING STORM! And we are helplessly sailing our little boat right through it. 

But within that storm, Jesus Christ appears to all of us. Many of us do not recognize Jesus Christ for who He really is. Instead, most mistake Him as some fairy tale or an over embellished historical figure. Many have false assumptions of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, He calls out to ALL OF US saying, "I'm here and I'm real. It's really me!" And like only Peter, out of the 11 others, few people will have enough faith to believe in Christ's call and shout back to Him, wanting to come to Him in the storm. 

Those who step out of the boat to pursue Jesus Christ will be walking on water, so long as they stay focused on Him. In my opinion, this is a clear portrayal of those who step out in faith to seek God first, despite the roaring problems around them. But then, of course, there is a warning followed by an amazing rescue detailed in the story as well. Those who take their focus off God and give their attention to the problems around them will soon find themselves sinking in those problems instead of continuing to pursue God. It's only when we are focused on God without ceasing that we get solid ground to walk on. But don't worry, if you start to sink, there is still time. Those who cry out to God for help will be saved IMMEDIATELY! 

So to sum it up, don't take your eyes of of Jesus Christ! If you do, and get happen to get caught up in the storm of the world, cry out to Him and He will be there to save you. And if you are worried that your life and/or society will fall apart and you will be wondering where you will get your most basic needs; God knows all about your troubles. God knows about all your needs. Don't forget, God did create us after all, and He is watching.

 

"Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? [in other words, if God clothes the fields with grass, why would He not clothe you?] Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? ... for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. [this last part is telling us to stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow has it's own problems and will worry about itself.]

Matthew 6:30-34 - KJV, [ my own commentary ]


Written by: Joshua Berry


Resources:

Scripture: King James Bible, Matthew 14:22-33,  https://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/mat/14/1/s_943001