So you were going through a storm in your life and decided to trust Jesus in the midst of it. Then He stepped in, stopped the storm and there was a great calm. Not only was your life experiencing a peaceful calm, but you soon had what felt like a “mountain top experience” with Jesus, where He was providing and everything was going well. But just when you were at the height of your mountain top experience, you began to notice the dark clouds of another storm brewing. As the waves begin to splash, the lighting flash and the force of the wind starts to rock your boat, you say to yourself, “Not again. I just got out of a storm. Now how am I going to get through this one?” Can you relate to this type of experience? Does this sound like your experience right now? Then you’ll have no problem relating to the experience of the 12 apostles in Matthew 14.
We previously explored the first of two “storm stories” in the Gospels, where Jesus calmed the storm. However, before the apostles are thrust into the next storm, they have a mountain top experience with Jesus…literally. On the side of a mountain by the Sea of Galilee they witnessed Jesus feed 5000 men, not including women and children. This miracle was such an important turning point in the life of Jesus that all four Gospel writers record the event. The impact of it was so impressive that a movement began to develop among the crowd to make Jesus the King of Israel by force. And Jesus, knowing that they still didn’t fully understand His identity and mission as Messiah yet, and that if they should succeed it would only end in disaster, immediately decided to send the crowd away and His disciples to the other side of the sea in a boat without Him. And the fact that Jesus had to send the disciples away while He dismissed the crowds, suggests that the disciples had been caught up in this move to make Jesus king. Commenting on this scene, Ellen White says,
They must have questioned in their mind, if Jesus was the Messiah, why would He resist the people wanting to make Him king? Why miss the momentum of the moment? This was also right after John the Baptist was killed in prison. They never really got time to mourn his death and so they also must have wondered if Jesus was the Messiah, why didn’t He free John from prison in order to prevent his murder? You see, before the storm broke out on the Sea of Galilee, the dark storm of doubt was already brewing in their minds and didn’t show any signs of stopping. Then when they finally entered the fierceness of the next storm, which lasted from evening until the “fourth watch” of the night, that is between 3:00am and 6:00am, in their sheer exhaustion it must have felt like this time the storm was not going to be stopped.
Is that how your storm feels right now? How do you make it through the next storm when it doesn’t seem like God is going to stop it? Let’s find out as we join the disciples in this storm beginning in Matthew 14:23…
CJ Cousins, Speaker/Author
Follower of Jesus, Husband, Father and Associate Pastor for Younger Generations at Vienna SDA Church.