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Jesus Comes to Us during the Fourth Watch of the Night

글쓴이 : 관리자 날짜 : 2014-07-31 (목) 02:21 조회 : 1178
Rev._Jang\'s_Sermon_07-27-2014.pdf (164.0K), Down : 3, 2014-07-31 02:21:01
설교일 : 2014.07.27.
설교자 : Rev. Jang
본문말씀 : Matthew 14:22-33

July 27, 2014

 

“Jesus Comes to Us during the Fourth Watch of the Night”

Matthew 14:22-33

 

Rev. Chan Young Jang’s Sermon at the KUMC of Metro Detroit

 

 

1.

According to a report from the Cancer Research Center of Univ. of Chicago, among the cancer patients, those with sense of humor have the best cure rates compared to regular folks, or those who are always serious. I was especially impressed with this statement; “A person with sense of humor can even make Cancer a friend!”

 

A person with rigid way of thinking can make himself and those around him very tense and tired. On the other hand, a person with humor will make himself and others feel relaxed and happy. Therefore, I agree with ‘the laughter will bring blessings’, not ‘the blessings will bring laughter.’

 

When I was attending the Seminary in Korea, there was a small Chinese restaurant in the back alley nearby. In that small space, when the owner took the order from the customers, the cook usually craned his neck to hear the order, which runs like this; “ChaChaPongPongPongTangTang”, meaning 2 Chajangmyun, 3 Champong, 2 Tangsuyook. One day more than 10 of us were ordering all differently, and we were very curious how the owner was going to convey the order. But the only thing the owner just shouted to the cook was, “Did you get that?” The cook’s cheerful reply was, “Okey Dokey!” That small eatery should certainly do well with such happy people working together.

 

Today’s passage of ‘Jesus walking on the water’ is well known to everyone including children. I could just shout to you, “Did you get that?” and you could just answer, “Okey Dokey”, but there are some aspects still to be explored.

 

Today’s event was preceded by Jesus feeding over 5,000 men and picking up 12 basketfuls of leftovers. The people were really shocked and impressed by this miracle of ‘five loaves and 2 fish’. Jesus’ popularity was at its peak. But Jesus rushed his disciples into the boat while he dispersed the people.

 

Matthew 14:22-23  Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.

 

My beloved congregation, why did Jesus dismiss everyone and stay alone? It was because his focus was on ‘God only’. Jesus was not interested in his popularity or acclamation from people. Jesus loved people, but was not swayed by their reaction. He did not care for ‘the bread of the world’ role that people clamored from him. Jesus came into this world to accomplish the great work God had commanded him to do, so he was focused on God first and foremost.

 

 

2.

Now, on the other side of the lake, there was a big trouble for the disciples.

 

Matthew 14:24  But the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

 

The boat with the disciples in it was in the middle of the lake when the storm came. Anybody that has been in Israel knows why this lake is called the Sea of Galilee. It is noted for its sudden and violent storms. Now the boat was being hit forcefully by the storm and swaying dangerously.

 

The disciples were battling this storm since the sunset and now it is close to dawn. They must have been completely exhausted and very scared. Just like a scene out of our life stories. We all cruise through our lives expecting easy breezes, but inevitably there comes a sudden storm and we panic like these disciples who should have known the lake very well.

 

In the Gospel of Mark, this same scene is described as follows.

 

Mark 6:47-48a  When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars.

 

It tells us that Jesus saw them straining. He had gone to pray alone after rushing his disciples out to the boat. They had gotten on boat after dinner, and now after 8 hours, they were still struggling. Lake Galilee is usually crossed by boat within 1 hour.

 

Jesus watched them struggle, but came to them ‘about the fourth watch of the night’. What time is this ‘fourth watch of the night’? It is the time when all our strengths and hopes have dried out. Why didn’t he come earlier? We think Jesus was really off the point here. We have cried and prayed all we could in the meantime. But why doesn’t he come? We want him to come at our convenient time, but he seems to come always too late.

 

Well, this ‘fourth watch of the night’ is God’s time. In Greek, there are two words to describe the time. Our usual everyday time is ‘kronos’ and used when, “What time is it?” or “How old are you?” The other word is ‘kairos’ and it is God’s time, and used to describe His time in your life. ‘Kairos’ is full of secrets and usually accompanied by the mystery of ‘trials’.

 

Matthew 14:24-25  But the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.

 

Why do we have these trials that nobody wants? That is the secret and mystery of life. Why didn’t Jesus go out to them right away when he saw his beloved disciples suffering, but came out much later? Why does God treat His children likewise all through the Bible?

 

There is a TV program that is very popular with young people in Korea and overseas, and it is called ‘Superstar K-POP Season’. In the summer of 2012, when the final winner of the season was announced with, “the last one remaining is Huh Gak”, the audience went wild with applause. Now a new Superstar was born. He could sing any song in any genres extremely well. The judges gave him good scores consistently, but his popularity among female viewers was not as great as his rival John Park, and the popular vote of the viewers counts for 70% of the final outcome. The reason for his eventual win seems to be that his life story, as well as his wonderful singing, must have touched the viewers’ hearts to vote for him. He didn’t have much to look at, had only middle school diploma, mediocre profession, but he won against John Park who was tall and good looking, currently a student at Northwestern Univ. in Chicago, with the full support from his affluent parents. This is the case of the life story of ‘loser’ Huh Gak trumping the almost perfect credentialsof John Park.

 

Interestingly, at about the same time in China, the people were going wild over the singing performance of a duo, 29 year old Rhew Kang and 44 year old Wang Shie, who had come to Beijing with their dream but were working as day laborers instead. They appeared in ‘Sing Kwang Dadao’, a Chinese talent search program, and with the enthusiastic support from the viewers, they won the 1st prize at the end. Chinese News reported that their life stories as well as their singing touched the deepest part of peoples’ hearts, as the people identified with these two and felt these men were singing their songs.

 

Jesus comes to us during the fourth watch of the night when we go through life’s tough struggles. Then, it is no longer ‘my story’, it becomes ‘His story’.

 

 

3.

Let us continue with today’s passage. After Jesus calms the disciples down, Peter now comes forward.

 

Matthew 14:26-28  When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

 

The Bible continues to tell the hardship the disciples faced, but now it is the story of Peter walking on the water. God works through our trials and changes our stories into ‘His story’, and wants to challenge us in our lives.

 

I want to share 2 important points to challenge you in your faithful life.

1) First, be adventurous in your life!

 

Matthew 14:28  “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

 

We should never stop at just being thankful for God’s grace, but should have this adventurous attitude of Peter’s. The Swiss psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Dr. Paul Tournier wrote in his book ‘The Adventure of Living’ that “When God created the first humans, He gave them adventurous spirit. It is still the same for us, living today.”

 

When we look back at the Israelites living in Egypt, they had only 2 options; Live as obedient slaves, or fight against the Egyptians. The 3rd option was going through the Red Sea, and it seemed impossible to them and to Moses. But God insisted that they should accomplish the impossible. Think of Gideon. He was asked by God to take only 300 warriors to the battlefield out of 32,000 volunteers.

 

Let us take a look at Abraham. He was comfortable in his fertile homeland of Ur, but had to leave it to go into the promised of Canaan. My beloved congregation, you are here, but how did you get here? Not by your own planning only! Now I urge you to leave your comfortable place.

 

In her book “The Crime of Living Cautiously: Hearing God’s Call to Adventure”, Luci Shaw writes that there are 2 ways to live. “The first is to live our lives in a stagnant pond, a boring but safe life, a petty bourgeois life, and everyday is the same. The other is, trusting God, to jump into an unknown territory. This is a brand new world, and even if there are violent torrents, we trust God will help us to navigate them. If we don’t choose to jump, we will just go on living in the same old, comfortable and predictable land. In this land, you will never taste the joy God only gives to those who dare to jump”. She concludes with these important words. “The real failure is not that we didn’t accomplish the goal, but that we didn’t even try.”

 

Last Wednesday night, I talked about Korea’s premier entrepreneur Ju-Yung Chung’s favorite retort to naysayers, “Have you ever tried it yourself? Have you ever?” After service, a mother went home and told this story to her son. He fixed his gaze on her and asked, “How about you, Mom? Have you ever tried it?”  

 

2) Second, when we dare to go for adventure, we should seek for God’s will and advice.

 

Let us take a look again at verse 28.

 

Matthew 14:28  “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

 

Let us pay close attention to this verse. Some people may think this is another example of Peter’s impulsiveness, but we want to look very closely here. The famous evangelist Rev. R.A. Torrey gave us a definite conclusion on why we cannot walk on the water like Peter did. “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” (James 4:2b)

 

Why no spiritual growth? Why not enough energy? The reason why we are not growing and have no energy is because we are not daring to go forward. Our church is over 40 years old. We are big and secure enough that we feel we can get away with no new changes for a long time. It can be the same with me, I could just sit on my laurels for some time doing nothing, but God is telling a different story. He urges me to jump into the water, jump from the boat now. And He wants me to take much risk in my ministry.

 

Now look at Peter. He trusted Lord Jesus, so he asked Jesus to tell him to come.  Peter is in the boat, but the Lord is not there. He wants to go to Jesus who was out of the boat, in the water, and he is taking a big risk in this adventure.

 

Not long ago, Rev. John Ortberg of Willow Creek Community Church wrote a book with this title; “If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat”. There is a paperback version also.

 

When Peter saw the wind, of course he was afraid and began to sink.

 

Matthew 14:29-30  “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

 

We should never criticize Peter for being afraid. At least he did walk on the water! He could say to anyone who criticized him, “You who never walked on water cannot tell me anything!” If he were able to continue to walk on water, he must have been a duck, not a human. We may sink and feel like drowning in the water, but we don’t necessarily die, and it is only temporary feeling.

 

We have the proof.

 

Romans 8:38-39  “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

Today’s passage concludes with verse 33.

 

Matthew 14:33  Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

 

Now we recognize that the main theme of this story isn’t ‘Peter’s daring action’, but God worked through Peter to show that Jesus is the Son of God. This is the reason why Jesus comes to us ‘during the fourth watch of the night’ and helps us to ‘walk on the water’.

 

Let us sing this gospel hymn, “God created me”

 

 

 

 

Please share the following topics at your cell group meetings.

 

1) Have you ever experienced Lord Jesus coming to you during ‘the fourth watch of the night’?

 

2) What do you think about Peter’s request to Jesus, “Please tell me to come to you”? 

[이 게시물은 관리자님에 의해 2014-07-31 03:16:22 읽는말씀에서 이동 됨]

   

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제목 : 'Divine Yes'
설교일 : 2019.10.13
본문말씀 : Genesis 13:1-13
설교자 : Rev. Eungyong Kim
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