Matthew 14:28-33
Holding the Hand of Jesus

This story is a smaller part of the larger story.  The larger story deals with
Jesus and all 12 disciples.  It is a story of their dependency and their faith.
They were in the school of instruction, learning in the classroom of life.

The smaller story is about one man learning the same lessons of dependency and
faith.  This is Peter receiving one-on-one instruction. How did Peter do?  He had
some problems, but I still believe that Peter did better than the other eleven
disciples.

    I. Peterís first faith.
        A. You can not deny that Peter messed up.
            1. He took his eyes off of Jesus and started looking at the water.
            2. As he did, his faith sank and with his sinking faith, he sank.
        B. However, even messing up, Peter did some things that no one else did.
            1. Peter gets a lot of grief preaching for his short comings, but
                letís give him credit for what he did right!
            2. Peter had a substantial amount of faith to start with.
                a. Peter had faith to ASK to come to Jesus.
                b. Peter had faith to GET OUT of the boat.
                c. Peter had faith to WALK a distance on the water.
                d. Peter had faith to CRY OUT TO JESUS for help.
            3. At this point, Peter is way ahead of his class!
                a. There are eleven other souls just sitting over there watching.
                    (1)\\#26\\ says that at one time, they all cried out for fear!
                    (2) At least one man got over his fear and started thinking.
                    (3) Peter reasoned that if the Lord could walk on water, he
                         could empower HIM to walk on water too.
                    (4) Peterís faith may indeed fail him, but at least it got him
                         on the water!
                b. There is no doubt that a failing faith is nothing to get overly
                    excited about; but donít you think a failing faith is better
                    than no faith at all!
                    (1) Peter wasnít trying to fail.
                    (2) He was trying to do right.
                    (3) His faith just buckled under the load.
                    (4) You can see that he was trying to right by how he responded
                         when he failed.
                         (a) He still knew to call Jesus for help.
                         (b) He still had faith to call upon Jesus for help.
                         (c) He must have even had the faith to hold his hand up to
                              Jesus so that He could catch him.
                c. I think I would rather fail attempting to do right than to
                    succeed attempting to do nothing!
        C. All-in-all, Peter had a story to tell his grandkids that no other
            grandpa will ever get to tell!
            1. It is not Peterís faith or failing that I want to look at tonight.
            2. It is Jesusí hand.
   II. Peter got to hold the hand of God!
        A. I say again, a failing faith is nothing to get overly excited about; but
            I do notice a bright spot.
            1. Peter got to hold the hand of God!
                a. There is the hand that crafted the cosmos out of nothing.
                b. There is the hand that fashioned man out of clay.
                c. There is the hand that guided Mosesí ark through the bulrushes
                    to an Egyptian princess.
                d. There is the hand that held back the Red Sea while Israel walked
                    through on dry ground.
                e. There is the hand that defeated the enemies of Israel while they
                    took the land of Israel.
                f. There is the hand that gripped mother Maryís tickling finger.
                g. There is the hand that held onto father Josephís as he walked
                    our toddling Lord through the streets of the big city.
                h. There is the hand that was pierced with the spike on the cross.
                i. There is the hand that Thomas put his doubting finger into.
                j. There is the hand that the resurrected Lord raised when the
                    women wanted to embrace Him before He had ascended to the
                    Father.
                k. There is the hand that I will one day see the scar in for
                    myself.
        B. There is no record of anyone else in the Bible getting to hold the
            hand of God like Peter did!
        C. All-in-all, I would have to say that putting your hand in that hand
           is not a bad thing!

  III. What did Peter receive at Jesusí hand?
        A. Peter received help at the hand of Jesus.
            1. I notice that Peter did not receive a sermon or a cold shoulder.
                a. He received help.
                b. Could I ask, what would you expect him to receive from Jesus?
                c. Sure, he failed, but he was trying.
                d. If God expects perfection from us before He will help us, He is
                    going to have a whole lot of drowned disciples!
            2. I would like to say that Peterís failing faith is unique.
                a. That it only ever happened to him.
                b. But I canít for my faith has failed too.
                    (1) You know that you count the things you have done right a
                         lot easier than you count the things you have done wrong?
                    (2) Why? Because there are not nearly as many of them.
            3. What happens when our faith fails?
                a. I believe we, like Peter, get to hold the hand of God!
                b. I am not going to encourage anyone to fail because failing is
                    always the wrong thing to do.
                c. However, I am going to say that even when we fail trying to do
                    right with God, there are some things that will come out of
                    it!
        B. Peter received compassion at the hand of Jesus.
            1. May I say that Jesus does understand.
                a. Jesus understands when we get tired.  He was human once.
                b. Jesus understands when we get discouraged.  He was human once.
                c. Jesus understands when we are afraid.  He was human once.
                d. Jesus understands when we would just rather not.  He was human
                     once.
            2. That understanding will never make doing wrong all right, but it
                does make it easier when we fail to know He understands!
        C. Peter received mercy at the hand of Jesus.
            1. Mercy is getting favor when you donít deserve it.
            2. Did Peter deserve a helping hand?
            3. No, but he got it.
            4. When you attempt for Jesus, you will get it too.
        D. Peter received love at the hand of Jesus.
            1. Love is more than any of the things I have mentioned added together.
            2. Love is that Jesus cared for Peter just as much after he failed as
                He did before he failed.
            3. Failures donít reduce the love of our Savior and successes donít
                increase it.
                a. Our failures donít reduce it because it is unconditional.
                b. Our successes donít increase it because it is already at maximum.
        E. Peter received forgiveness at the hand of Jesus.
            1. Is failure sin?
                a. Well, yes.
                b. Peter was walking on the water and took his eyes off of Jesus.
                    (1) That was not right.
                    (2) Peter missed the mark.
                    (3) He did not hit the bullís eye.
            2. But in that grip of Jesus, Peter found ready forgiveness.
            3. His sin was erased.
        F. Peter received restoration at the hand of Jesus.
            1. I donít see Jesus making Peter sit in the back of the boat.
            2. In fact, I donít see Him making anybody move to the back.
            3. This hand does not give condemnation, only the good things.

Looking over the story, I would rather be Peter failing on the water with Jesus
than to be one of the twelve disciples sitting safely in the boat!

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