In studying this passage of scripture there are many directions that we can take. There are many lessons that can be learned. We could explore the significance of the crowd wanting to force Jesus to lead a revolt against the Roman government. We could consider the three miracles seen in this account: Jesus walking on the water, Jesus calming the storm, and the boat immediately moved back on shore. We could also compare the written accounts of this event as seen in Mark 6, Matthew 14, and here in John 6. We could learn about how Peter walked on the water with Jesus and how the other disciples stayed in the boat. There is so much here for us to study that it would take several sermons to just skim the surface of the great truths and lessons we can learn from this passage.
However, the most significant truth is found in one little phrase: “It is I; be not afraid.” Fear is something that we all deal with. I’m not talking about being scared, but rather, of worry and concern and troubled. We have all had restless nights due to the many worries and concerns on our minds. We have all had times when we are fearful of what tomorrow might bring. We have all faced situations in our lives that filled us with dread and fear. No doubt, the disciples were very fearful in the midst of this fierce storm that they found themselves in. There are some interesting things to consider here by way of introduction: (1) Jesus knew a storm was coming, but He lead them to go into the sea anyway. (2) Jesus may lead us into stormy seas in order to protect us. (3) Sometimes the Lord must balance our lives. (4) Sometimes we are caught in a storm because we have disobeyed the Lord, such as Jonah. (5) Sometimes we are caught in a storm because we have obeyed the Lord. Whatever the case may be, the truth remains that we all face storms and we all experience fear. There are several things that fear does to us, but the good news is that Jesus is there for us.
Fear Distracts you. When we are faced with fear, we become distracted. We lose our focus and our perspective. We start to look at the circumstances around us rather than looking to the One who can help us. The disciples forgot about the miracle they just witnessed. They were now in a storm and all they could think about is how to get out of the storm. They forgot about the miracles that Jesus performed. They were distracted. The same thing happens to us when we are faced with trouble. We forget about what God had done for us in the past. We get distracted and we focus on our fear. As a result of our fears, we become stressed and in order to relieve ourselves from such stress, we find ourselves drawn to our favorite sins.
Fear Paralyzes you. Many people have certain fears and phobias that they deal with. My wife, for example, is horrified by spiders. I have seen her literally paralyzed from seeing a spider. There are some people who have a fear of clowns or of storms and the list can go on and on. When I say that fear paralyzes you, I think you can relate to that picture. Fear has a way of locking us up and keeping us from doing what we should be doing. The disciples lost complete control. They did not know what to do. They were ready to give up. Fear can keep us from moving forward and fulfilling our dreams and from fulfilling God’s plan for our lives. The one thing that often keeps people from stepping out and doing great things is the fear of failure. This is seen often in the life of the church. We fail to pursue our vision. We fail to take a step of faith because we are afraid that we may not be successful.
Fear Overwhelms you. The disciples found themselves overwhelmed by this storm. They were trapped. They were consumed. Fear has a way of consuming us, of overwhelming us. It gets to a point where it’s all we think about. It may even cause physical problems as we are overtaken by fear and worry.
Fear is certainly a terrible thing. It is something we all struggle with. However, there is good news. There is hope. We can overcome our fears as we trust in Jesus. Notice several things that Jesus does for us in the midst of our fears.
Jesus prays for you. After feeding the five thousand, Jesus went up to a mountain to pray. No doubt, He was praying for His disciples as they were about to face the raging sea. Jesus does the same for you and me. He intercedes on our behalf. He is the mediator between God and man. He is on our side and He is cheering us on. He is for us, not against us. He supports us. Jesus set the example of prayer for us. As we face our fears we will find it much easier to deal with if we are living a life of prayer. As we pray, as we commune with God, our fears will slowly fall away. The closer we are to Jesus the more power we have over our fears.
Jesus comes to you. Jesus came to the disciples. He did not leave them alone. Let me tell you something, Jesus will never leave you alone. He is here for you. He loves you. He will never abandon you. When you are in the thick of it. When you are in the midst of the storm, He will come to you. Jesus has a way of coming to us even when we are not looking for Him. He has a way of intervening in ways that we don’t even recognize. Whatever, you are facing right now. Whatever, your fear. Remember, Jesus is there. He has come to you to join you in the storm and to walk with you through the storm.
Jesus delivers you. As Jesus comes into the boat, the sea becomes calm. He then miraculously places the boat at the shore, a safe distance from the raging sea. When you let Jesus in the boat. When you let Jesus in your life, He will calm the storm. He will deliver you from your fears. The key is to trust Him. The more we trust Him, the greater the deliverance.
What do you fear right now? What are your worries? What are your concerns? Trust in Jesus. Lean on Him. He will deliver you.