All The Difference In The World
All The Difference In The World
Let me ask you, do you know the difference between these two:
- Believe in Jesus
- Believe Jesus
There is a big difference isn’t there?
I believe that this story that ___________ read illustrates that…that there is a big difference in believing in Jesus and believing Jesus…and that difference is what actually determines what real, sincere faith is…and we all know how important faith is…because “without faith it is impossible to please God.”
So let’s look at this story and see what the difference is between believing in Jesus and believing Jesus. Notice first of all verse 22:
And immediately He made the disciples get into the boat…
- Do you see here where it says, “He made” the disciples get into the boat?
- That phrase, “He made” in the Greek is a strong word and it means “to constrain, to compel, to drive.”
- There are a couple of reasons why Jesus may have made his disciples get into the boat but the main thing is these disciples are doing exactly what Jesus has told him to.
Now look at verse 23: And after He had sent the multitudes away, He went up to the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening He was there alone.
Verse 24: But the boat was already many stadia away from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary.
- That word “stadia” is translated “Furlong” in some versions and a Furlong is about 600 feet and if you go to John’s account and John chapter 6 in verse 19 you find that the disciples have gone about three or 4 miles on the sea.
So they are out here on the sea and the wind picks up and their boat is being battered by the waves and as you can imagine these disciples are probably rowing as hard as they can and bailing water as fast as I can.
Now verse 25: And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.
- If you look at your marginal notes you’ll find that the “fourth watch” was sometime between three and six in the morning.
- So what you have here is the disciples in this boat the winds pick up, the waves are battering against this boat, it’s dark because it’s between 3 and 6 AM, and they are probably rowing and bailing water as fast as I can… And Jesus comes to them walking on the sea.
Now let me make two quick points here.
One: Many Christians have the idea that obedience to God always produces “smooth sailing”, but this is not true.
- These disciples found themselves in “rough waters”, not because they were disobedient to Christ, but because they were obedient to Him.
- So just because you follow Christ that does not mean that everything is going to be easy and trouble-free, the fact is it may be just the opposite.
And then number two: Notice that Jesus walked on the water? Why do you think He did that?
- The reason he did that was to show the disciples that the very thing they feared was only a walking path for Him.
- Often we fear difficult experiences in life, only to discover that those experiences are no obstacle for Jesus at all and those experiences often bring Jesus closer to us.
Verse 26: And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were frightened, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried for fear.
- Now let me stop there for just a minute. Why were they so afraid?
- And you might say, “These guys are out here in this small boat, it’s dark, it’s early in the morning, they’ve been fighting this wind and waves for a big part of the night, they are rolling and bailing water as fast as they can, and they look up and see what they think is a ghost! No wonder they are afraid.
Let me ask you this, just a few days before this took place what have these disciples been doing?
- If you look in chapter 10:1 Jesus has given these guys “authority over unclean spirits to cast them out, to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”
- If you go over into Mark chapter 6:7 what you find is Jesus had sent these same disciples out on what we call, “The Limited Commission” and they went out “preaching and teaching and casting out demons in healing the sick, the blind, and the lame.”
- When they come back from this, “Limited Commission”, they come to Christ and they report all that they had done and taught.
- At that time Jesus makes an effort to take them to a “lonely place to rest” but when they get there the multitudes are waiting for them and that’s when we have the feeding of the 5000.
- And if you remember Jesus commanded these disciples to “give the people something to eat.”
- But in their minds they saw it as an impossible task.
- Could they have fed the people? Were they not able to perform miracles? Had not Jesus given them that ability?
And now they are out here on this sea, the waves are battering the boat, the wind is strong, it is early in the morning, and they look up and see what they think is a ghost… And they cry for fear!
- The same men who had the power to cast out demons and perform miracles are struggling with this storm and afraid of what they think is a ghost!
- Now obviously they believe in Jesus but have they believed Jesus?
- He has told them that they have the authority to perform miracles… They believe in Jesus but have they believed Jesus?
Now these disciples think Jesus is a ghost.
- Isn’t it amazing all the different impressions people have about who Jesus is?
- In the Gospels some say He is just a prophet; some said He was a devil: others said He was mixed up and crazy; and now He even gets called a ghost.
- Look at the next verse and notice who Jesus says he is.
Verse 27: But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
- Therefore he says, “It is I”, in the Greek that is “Ego Ami” or “I Am”.
- Now what does it mean in the Bible when someone says, “I Am”?
- “I Am” means “He was yesterday, and today, and will be tomorrow.”
- That means he always is…which means he is eternal… “I Am” is a term that speaks of God.
- In essence, not only by the miracle of walking on water does Jesus confirm who he is, but he comes right out and tells them again.
- Now, they believe in Jesus but do they believe Jesus? Don’t answer to hastily.
- Look at what happens next.
Verse 28: And Peter answered him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And he said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
- Now, at this time does Peter believe in Jesus or does he believe Jesus?
Verse 30: But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
- What caused Peter to sink?
- The verse says, “But seeing the wind, he became afraid.”
- Was it because he was distracted? Was it because he took his eyes off of Jesus? What caused him to sink?
Look at verse 31: And immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
- Why did he sink? Did it have something to do with his faith?
- Was it because Peter still believed in Jesus but he no longer believed Jesus?
You know a lot of people criticize the other disciples in this story because they didn’t get out of the boat.
- I am not sure we should criticize them because who told them to get in the boat in the first place? As far as I can tell they are still doing what Christ told them to.
Look at verse 32: And when they got into the boat, the wind stopped.
Now verse 33: And those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, you are certainly God’s Son!”
- Remember what Jesus told them back in verse 27 when he said, “it is I” or “I Am”?
- Had He ever done anything before this to confirm who He was, or had He ever told them before this who He was?
- Did they believe Him or did they just simply believe in Him?
You see there is a huge difference between the two and that difference is what actually determines what real, sincere faith is.
- And it is also the determining factor between those who claim to be Disciples of Christ and those who really are Disciples of Christ.
- You see the primary difference between believing in Christ and believing Christ is that believing in Christ does not require obedience; but if you believe Christ then obedience will follow.
Now, let me give you some teachings and as I do ask yourself if you simply believe in Jesus or if you really believe Jesus:
“I tell you, unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3.
- Now if you believe Christ what we do?
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34.
- Again, if you believe Christ what are you going to do?
“For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ in God” Ephesians 5:5
“Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” John chapter 5:28 and 29.
“Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sand; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38.
You could go all the way through the New Testament and look at all the teachings and commandments of Christ and what you will find is a lot of people believe in Jesus but comparatively only a few really believe Jesus.
- And that makes all the difference in the world.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023