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Key Verses: Matthew 28-30
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Staying focused requires a lot of dedication and energy to commit to a particular task, assignment, destination, or reaching a goal. According to Google Webster Dictionary, focus is defined as a “center of activity, attraction, or attention; a point of concentration; directed attention.” To stay focused one must consider the distractions that may or may not appear with your awareness. In addition, we must consider how distractions can be a part of a storm or storm-like situation. Let us consider the storms we face culturally, personally, and spiritually.
What are the storms we have faced culturally as human beings? We must consider the Covid Virus and how it continues to sweep through the world. Systematic and institutionalized racism, bigotry, and oppression that affects our brothers and sisters.
Then we must consider our storms, such as economic hardship. Family issues, especially between two spouses, and issues with our children. Finally, the spiritual storms cause us to question if God is present or does He care about my current state in life. However, we cannot allow the winds or storms of life, and outside issues to distract our focus on Jesus and what He has called us to do as His disciples.
Here we see the disciples in the middle of a storm-like or strong windstorm according to Greek translation in Matthew 14:23-30. Before we dive into the focused scriptures, allow me to provide you an overview of verses 22 to 30. First, Jesus has immediately made the disciples get in a boat to travel ahead of Him to the Northwestern side of the Sea of Galilee.
Before forcefully, as Greek translation has described. “Immediately,” Jesus is making His disciples get on a boat after they witnessed Him feeding 5000 men, not including women and children with two fish and five loaves of bread. After forcefully making the disciples travel ahead of Him, Christ then dismissed the crowd and travelled to an isolated place in the mountains to pray.
Within the text, Jesus has not stopped praying and the disciples are in the middle of the sea in a storm-like situation according to verse 24. However, Jesus does not leave his current situation to rescue his disciples. Instead, Jesus continues to pray until the “fourth watch of the night,” then he begins to walk on the water during this storm. The fourth watch is considered according to translation and scholars, the timeframe of 3 am to 6 am.
Through verses 25 to 26 as He is walking, His disciples noticed a human figured walking on the water and were terrified and cried out “it’s a ghost!” However, Jesus encourages them to “take courage! It is I. Don’t Be afraid.” What is so interesting Jesus acknowledging himself as the “I Am” according to translation. His wording is similar to Exodus 3:16 as Jehovah God sending Moses to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt. He instructs Moses to inform the people that I AM has sent him to complete such a task.
Isn’t it something that God will have us in the middle of a storm, trying to fulfill His directives and His response to rescuing seems like a delay? Sometimes we may think that God has not heard us when we prayed, and the storm keeps continuing. The Lord is reminding us to take courage for it is He and do not be afraid. I AM is with us in our current state, but we must continue on and stay focused.
And now we are at the place where our focus is challenged. Peter is hearing what Jesus is saying and asked a question, “If it is you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said, Come. Peter begins to walk on the water, however, when he saw what was going on around him, he got distracted and started to sink. As he is starting to sink, he cries out, “Lord, save me!” What took Peter's focus or his eyes off Jesus? He became distracted by what he saw happening around him that he took his eyes off Jesus. He took his focus off His source and certainty. Although God is sending us to fulfill a task or do the ministry, we must not get distracted by what is around us.
What can keep us focused are these five points:
1st. Focus on What Jesus Is Doing— Peter saw Jesus doing something that was not normal or the norm. Jesus was walking on what water, and he witnessed what was occurring.
2nd Focus on What Jesus Is Commanding You to Do by Faith— Peter took an act of faith and asked Jesus to call him out onto the water. To do that, Peter had to leave what was familiar to walk on unfamiliar territory. Peter was a fisherman, according to Matthew 4 & Luke 5. He was not a stranger to water, boats, and weather. However, he was unfamiliar with coming out of a boat of security to walk on water to Jesus. This act requires a focused individual who is determined to do as Jesus does. You know WWJD “What Would Jesus Do?
3rd. Focus on Coming Closer to Jesus. Walk Toward Jesus— Peter started to walk toward Jesus. Peter began this new approach by coming closer to Jesus. He listened to Jesus’ instructions and started to walk closer to God. Listen, follow and act on what Jesus is commanding you to do for him.
4th Focus on Jesus. Do not Get Distracted— God instructed Peter to come to Him, however, he got distracted by what he noticed around him. In unfamiliar territory, your focus must be on Jesus because you do not know this path. Do not allow fear of the unknown to distract you. It is the Lord that has you doing something different, it is not your abilities but the abilities through Christ.
5th Focus on Jesus to Save You— Peter got distracted by what he saw and began to sink. While sinking, he cried out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” When we get distracted God can save us, but we must acknowledge that we lost our focus and now we are sinking into our fears of drowning. The fears of drowning culturally, personally, and spiritually.
Stay focused on what Jesus is asking us to do as a body of believers. Stay focused on where Jesus is challenging us to do for His Kingdom. Stay focused on Jesus as He takes us into unfamiliar places, situations, and circumstances. Stay focused on Him to save you when fear tries to distract you from your assignment or goals ahead. Stay focused on Jesus! Matthew 28:20 King James Version says, “And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world, Amen.” Stay Focused!