Keep Your Eyes On Jesus

Posted: July 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

There are not too many instances where I wish I was in a certain situation having a front row seat. One of the times was when Jesus’ 12 disciples saw Jesus walking towards them on the water. To be out in the middle of a storm, fighting to keep the ship upright and then to see Jesus at the time when the night was darkest and the storm heaviest walking on the water would have been an amazing sight to behold.

The bible does not say what time the disciples entered the boat and went out to sea to go back to the other side. In Matthew 14:23 it says that when the evening had come He was there alone. I must admit I had to chuckle when I read verse 24 where it says that the ship was in the midst (or middle) of the sea and was tossed with waves for the wind was contrary. I thought that contrary was a pretty interesting word for the translators to pick and use. The Greek word for contrary is “enatios” which means opposite or against. In other words, the winds were very strong and no matter which way the disciples tried to steer the ship, the wind was against them EVERY time. I was not chuckling though when I read verse 25. It said that in the 4th watch of the night Jesus came to them walking on the sea. The 4th watch is the period between 3-6 am.

Can you imagine being the disciples out there all evening, into the 4th watch of the night struggling and fighting with all their strength to get to the other side? Back in verses 20 and 21 we read that Jesus had fed 5000 men beside women and children. They all ate until satisfied and the leftovers equaled 12 baskets. I am sure the disciples ate well and where satisfied too. However, I do believe they all lost their dinner by being out in the middle of the sea for at least 8 hours. They all would be exhausted, sea sick, discouraged, and probably decided to just ride out the storm. Perfect time for Jesus to show up right?

I wish I was there in the boat to see the look on their faces seeing Jesus walking on the water towards them. That must have been quite an eerie sight for verse 26 says they thought he was a spirit and cried out in fear. They were probably thinking seeing a spirit was the last thing they needed at that point.

I love how Jesus always ministers calm because He told them in verse 27 straightaway that it was He and not to be afraid. Now Peter is one of my favourite characters in the bible because he had one serious set of stones on him. The fact that he challenged Jesus’ identity by asking him to come out of the water and then actually stepping out of the boat, in the middle of a raging storm is very courageous. And just think, he did this before the day of Pentecost and had not received the Holy Spirit yet.

We all know the rest of the story. Peter walked out to Jesus and as soon as he paid attention to the storm, he became afraid again and started to sink. I give Peter credit that when he started to sink he didn’t try to fight to stay afloat, he cried for Jesus to save him right away. As soon as they got into the boat the storm ceased and all the disciples knew right then and there He was the Son of God.

The sea represents troubles and challenges we face in life. We all have them no matter who we are, where we live, and what our background is like. Jesus showed us by walking on the water that victory is ours for the taking every time if we would just step out in faith as Peter did by getting out of the boat. As he walked to Jesus on the water, he focused squarely on Him. In other words, he had tunnel vision. He saw nothing else but Jesus. This is exactly how we are to be today, myself included. We must be Jesus conscious and focus on Him only in every situation. It is interesting to note that as soon as Peter turned his attention to the storm and got afraid, he started to sink. As soon as we take our eyes off of Jesus we in effect are saying we don’t believe that He will come through for us. Jesus said that Peter had little faith and asked him we he doubted. When we take our eyes off of Jesus, it is the same thing.

As I write this, the one passage that came to mind is in Numbers 21:5 where the Children of Israel spoke against Moses about not having food and water and God sent fiery serpents who bit them and killed many in verse 6. However, in verses 8-9 God instructs Moses to put a fiery serpent on a pole and to instruct the people that whoever looked at the brass serpent when bit would live. This serpent is a foreshadow of Jesus. When the Children of Israel beheld the serpent, despite being bitten, they lived. When we look at Jesus and trust Him, despite our circumstances, or life “biting” us, we have victory every time. And it is all because of Jesus! Whenever we don’t look to Jesus, and struggle in our own strength, we are defeated every time. God wants it this way because we cannot boast of ourselves and how good we are, but how good Jesus is!

In closing, Paul gives us a good tidbit of advice in Hebrews 12:2 that says “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Notice he says looking unto Jesus? The NIV says to fix our eyes on Jesus. This is what Peter started out doing when he walked on the water like Jesus and what the Children of Israel did in the wilderness by looking at the bronze serpent on a pole. Paul says in verse 1 about running the race with patience before he says to keep looking to Jesus. As a former sprinter in track and field, I know all too well if one does not have tunnel vision by keeping focused on the finish line, and start looking at the opposition around them, the runner loses speed, and is in danger of being overtaken and also in danger of falling and causing injury to themselves and the other runners. One time I was comfortably out in front during a 200 metre run. About half way through, I turned to see where my opponents where. That was a colossal mistake because the moment I turned my head, I lost momentum and my feet got tangled up causing me to fall. I quickly got up but by this time, two of my opponents had gone by me and despite my best efforts, I could not catch them and had to settle for third. What a hard way to learn, eh? The same principle is applies to our daily lives. When we focus on Jesus and Jesus alone, victory is ours.

God Bless you all!

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