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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Keep My Eyes Above the Waves (Matthew 14.22-33)

Sermon by: Karla Katibah*
June 14, 2015 - High School Graduation Sunday
Text: Matthew 14:22-33

*Karla Katibah is a graduate of Providence High School in Charlotte and will be attending Appalachian State University in the fall.

:: Sermon Audio (link) 
Click link to open and play in browser; right-click to save. Sermon audio is also accessible as a free podcast in iTunes. Search for "Good Shepherd Sermons" or "Robert Austell." 

:: Some Music Used
Song of Praise: "I Will Worship" (Ruis)
Song of Praise: "I Need Thee Every Hour" (Indelible Grace)
The Word in Music: "Oceans" (Hillsong United)
Hymn of Sending: "'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus" ('TIS SO SWEET)

:: Senior Video ::

:: Sermon Manuscript (pdf)::

Hi. Good morning. My name is Karla and I graduated from Providence High School on Friday. I will be attending Appalachian State University in the fall and I’m excited to share with you what Jesus has placed on my heart.

So to start off, here are some fun facts about the story of Jesus walking on the water. It only appears in 3 gospels-Matthew, Mark and John and the part with Peter walking on the water ONLY appears in Matthew, which is pretty interesting because Peter helped to write Mark, not Matthew. I’m really not sure what that means. Maybe Peter was too embarrassed about this experience to put it in Mark, but I’m really grateful that Matthew put it in because this sermon is basically sponsored by Matthew.

This story is really well known and a pretty stereotypical Jesus story; It is used on paintings and in children’s’ Vacation Bible School weeks as a really fun and cool story. Walking on water is NOT A NORMAL THING. It’s also very specific to Jesus. No one else could walk on water by themselves.
For people now and for the disciples then THIS story is PROOF that Jesus is NOT NORMAL.
Like, Jesus could’ve waited until the storm was over or even prevented the storm from happening and everything in the New Testament would have happened as usual. But no. He took out the big guns- the pyrotechnics and confetti and acrobats and performs a miracle. To make sure the disciples really get that this is a big deal. He is God.

So Peter. I can draw a lot of parallels between myself and Peter, and lots of us probably could. Peter was always the one that would do anything to prove to Jesus that he was a disciple. He was kind of like the teacher’s pet. He would be the one student who comes by after school and asks the if teacher needs anything. He just does all the things he thinks he’s supposed to do. So when Jesus is on the water he says “Yeah, yeah I’ll come out to you. ‘Cause I’m supposed to. I’m Peter, remember me? I’m Peter.” And then when he’s on the water he’s like “Okay. Yeah. I’m on the water. Okay.” But then of course he sees the ocean and the storm and he loses his nerve. Peter falls into the water and his true self is shown. And as it turns out, he is literally drowning without Jesus. Because he’s human. He was busy trying to be the perfect disciple even though Jesus totally knew he was just putting up a front of complete trust. And Jesus totally calls him out for it in verse 31 when he said “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” That kinda breaks through Peter’s whole fa├žade. Jesus knows everything. Even when Peter is faking it.

I think we all need to be called out every once in a while.

His fear of the storm got in the way of him getting to Jesus and kept him from being the disciple he wanted to be. I have experienced a similar situation in color guard. There is a toss that is called a 45 toss. It is my favorite toss to watch because it looks so cool, but I could never throw it. Most tosses spin in front of you and you can see it the whole time and catch it and it’s totally cool. But THIS toss, you throw it above your head and you have a moment where you can’t see it and it is just scary. So I never tried to throw it. Then during my Junior year, my third year in guard, I had to throw a 45 toss because it was choreographed into my show. I was still scared to throw it, but I pushed my fears aside and I just went for it. And it was such an easy toss! Now I can throw it no problem. But I didn’t know that because I let my fear of the toss control me. My fear kept me from being the best performer I could be.

Kind of the punchline, the kicker of the story is v. 31 which says “Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him (Peter), saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” It reminds me of when I was younger and I was riding in the back seat of my mom’s car. It was a van, a really big van (at least in my perspective…). I always thought the car was so big that it took up both lanes. So I was so confused on how any cars could pass us on either side. Because WE took up the entire road. But that was wrong but I was too young and inexperienced in driving to realize that the car was of appropriate size. My mom was actually doing fine driving because she had a better viewpoint and experience in driving. So who was I to say that the car was too big and that other cars couldn’t pass us??

In Mark 6:48 it says that Jesus “saw that they (the disciples) were straining at the oars against an adverse wind” and so He “came towards them”. Let me say that again. He saw them struggling so He came out to help them. Jesus sees us in the boat of our lives. So picture this: We’re living life however we please and then A CRAZY STORM comes upon us- like a death in the family. Or getting laid off. Or starting a new crazy chapter of your life like college.

So we either don’t see him coming to the boat because we aren’t looking for Him. So we just freak out about the storm and just go “Oh dear. I hope this storm stops.” Or we see Jesus coming out to us and like the disciples in Matthew 14:50 (they all saw him and were terrified) and we actually see Jesus and we don’t recognize Him and then again just say “Oh dear. I hope this storm stops AND that scary thing on the water goes away.”

OR we can be like Peter and we can go bravely out into the water, greet Jesus and accept him into the boat WITH you. And then like it says in Matthew 14:32, the wind will cease and we will, like it says in John 6:21, get to where we are headed.

So here’s me right now. I’m about to go to college-COLLEGE- and I have a few fears, like being able to find good friends, living with a roommate for the first time, NOT living with my parents, trying to keep my faith in “the real world.” But if I let these fears control me, I won’t be the best college student I can be. I need to trust that God has it all under control.

Okay. So what I gather from this passage is that FEAR GETS IN THE WAY. Jesus CLEARLY knows more than I do because He is not in the boat. He is out of the boat watching this all happen from a better perspective. And also because He is GOD (for crying out loud…)  He is like my mom when I was in the car when I was little. He knows more than I do and I should trust Him more. We should all trust Him more. Amen!

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