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Walking on Water 水の上を歩く

Matthew 14:22-32

I’m sure most of you will remember the sermon I gave on 29th January last year (who can?). That was on the account of Jesus stilling the storm, calming the wind and waves and one of the things we noted at that time was that that storm came up not as a result of the disciples disobedience or sin, but as a direct result of following Jesus. Jesus told them to get into the boat. Jesus told them to go to the other side. Jesus sent them out into the middle of the storm.

You’d think that if Jesus had told them to go to the other side, then they should have been able to just go straight over to the other side without any trouble.
And so we find that just Because Jesus calls us to do something doesn’t mean we’re going to have smooth sailing! イエスが弟子たちに向こう岸に渡りなさいと言ったのなら、何の問題もなくまっすぐ向こう岸に渡れたはずだと思うことでしょう。イエスに言われたからといって、それがスムーズにいくとは限りません。

Today’s lesson is similar in many respects: it involves the disciples in a boat, wind, waves and serious danger as a result of following Jesus’ directions.
This incident follows immediately after Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000. With that miracle he demonstrated his sovereignty over nature. With this miracle of walking on water, he does it again. Jesus is demonstrating clearly that he is divine and that he is the Lord of all.


Some interesting things happen in the progression of this account. Firstly, despite all the miracles of Jesus that they have seen first hand, including the feeding of the 5000 just hours before, when they see Jesus, they think it’s a ghost. They [The disciples] cannot comprehend that Jesus could do such a thing. (But, Jesus is walking on water and they certainly would never have seen anything like that before so perhaps we can cut them a little slack.) 弟子たちはイエスがそんなことができるなんて考えられないのです。

But here’s a lesson for us. No matter how many times we’ve heard God speak into our hearts or how many times we’ve seen God move in our lives or even how many miracles we’ve seen or experienced, we still tend to put limits on what God can do in our lives. We need to remember that Jesus said, “All things are possible for him who believes”.

Jesus speaks out to the disciples and says “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
The words, “It is I” are deeply significant. Jesus is using the same wording that God used when he appeared before Moses. By saying this, in this way, Jesus is again declaring his divinity. He is God. And these are not empty words. He is walking on water at the time He says it. イエスはモーセの前に現れたときに使った言葉と同じ言葉を使っています。

He also encourages them with the familiar words, “Don’t be afraid”. We need to cling to these words. “Don’t be afraid.”

Don’t be afraid to tell people you’re a Christian. あなたがクリスチャンであることを人に言うのを恐れてはいけません。

Don’t be afraid to trust God with that tricky part of your life.

Don’t be afraid to trust God with your money. あなたのお金を神にゆだねるのを恐れてはいけません。

Don’t be afraid to trust God with your time. あなたの時間を神にゆだねるのを恐れてはいけません。

Don’t be afraid to pray bold prayers. 大胆な祈りをするのを恐れてはいけません。

Don’t be afraid to take a step of faith. And this is what we’re coming to now in the story.

Peter. Peter is like a comedian. If it weren’t so serious, it would be really funny. Perhaps it’s really funny anyway. Jesus is walking on water and Jesus tells him not to worry because it’s Him. Peter responds by saying ‘IF it’s you…’
Jesus is gentle with his disbelief (understandably!) and invites him to “Come” and walk with him on the water.

Now here’s the thing. Peter could have just stayed in the boat. The boat was a safe, secure place to be. Furthermore, there were some really good, compelling reasons for Peter to not get out of the boat: ペテロは舟の中に留まっていることもできました。舟は安全で安心できるところでした。ペテロが舟の外に出なくてもよい正当な理由はいくつかありました。
– It was night 夜だったこと
– There were waves 波があったこと
– There was wind 風があったこと
Oh, and there was a sea beneath him. そして下は海であったこと
But still Jesus calls him, “Come!” それでもイエスは“来なさい”と言われました。

This is a great analogy for how we are to live by faith.
* We might be in a safe, warm and secure place in our lives and Jesus calls us out in a way that can seem ridiculous, and possibly even dangerous, and says ‘Come!” 私たちは安全で暖かい安心できるところにいるかもしれません。そんなときイエスがとんでもない危険にさえ思えるようなところに“来なさい”と呼ばれるのです。
* We might be in the safety and security of a familiar ministry and Jesus calls us away from that, saying “Come! Time to move on to a different area of ministry!” 私たちはよく知っているミニストリーの安全安心なところにいるかもしれません。そんなときイエスが“来なさい、違ったミニストリーに進む時です”と呼び出すのです。
* We might be enjoying the safety and security of a job and Jesus says, “Come! Follow me to a higher place of faith in your workplace. Or maybe to another workplace altogether.”
* For many Japanese, they are in the safety of the good ship Buddhism and Jesus calls, “Get out of the boat, come and follow me.”
* We might be safe and secure with our immediate circle of friends or with the relationships we currently enjoy and Jesus says “Are you willing to step out of/walk away from that friendship for me? Are you willing to strike up a different friendship for me? Come to me!”

With any of these we might see the winds of persecution and the waves of want and be at a time of darkness in our lives and we might want to ask Jesus if it really is Him and if so tap our foreheads and ask Him if He’s He crazy.
But what we are more likely to find is that Jesus is the one asking the question – the one that He asked Peter: “Why do you doubt?”
Why do you doubt?
I think Peter gets a bit of a raw deal in the telling of this story. In this story we tend to remember that Peter doubted and that he began to sink. I like to remember that Peter also did walk across the water to Jesus and I think that’s really something.
Yes, his faith faltered but Jesus caught him and helped him back into the boat. And the story finishes on an appropriate note: everyone on the boat bows down and worships Jesus as the Son of God.この話はふさわしい終わり方をしています:舟に乗っているみんながひざまずき、イエスは神の御子だと礼拝するのです。
Trusting Jesus, living by faith and worshipping Him, individually and together, is a good way for us to live our lives.