The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Matthew 14:22-23

Epiphany IV

1. The parallels to this account are found at Mark 6:45-52 and John 6:16-21. It is not found in Luke. All four evangelists record the feeding of the 5,000 which happened just before the account on the sea.

2. From John 6:14-15 we learn that the people wanted to make Jesus a (bread) king. Evidently the disciples were tempted by this idea too. The incident of the loaves had left them spiritually insensitive. Mark 6:51- 52. Jesus forced the disciples to get into the boat. Matthew 14:22; Mark 6:45. Because of their spiritual insensitivity and danger from the temptation of making him a false king, Jesus purposely arranged this incident on the sea so that they would finally confess that he was the Son of God. Matthew 14:33.

3. Very likely the desire of the people to make him king tempted Jesus severely. That's why He withdrew alone to the mountain to pray. See John 6:15. He must have prayed about eight hours. He left there between 3 am and 6 am (300 and 600 hours) the next morning. Matthew 14:25 and Mark 6:48. Furthermore, Jesus knew that a great battle faced him the next day. John 6:22-59. The disciples, too, might be tempted to join these heathen. John 6:67.

4. The disciples were spiritually insensitive and were very likely tempted to help crown Jesus king. And they faced a severe test the next day. And so Jesus arranged the storm on the sea to make them see their utter helplessness and need for Him. At the same time, He was very likely severely tempted to become king and was facing the unbelieving mob on the next day. But, in His mercy and grace, Jesus came to the aid of his faltering disciples. He taught Peter a dear lesson. Secondly, all of them worshipped Him and said: "You are certainly God's Son!" Matthew 14:33. And the next day Peter, in the name of all of them, said: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we believe and know that You are the Holy One of God." John 6:68-69.

5. The phrase in Matthew 14:24 is variously translated "beaten, battered, tormented, tossed by the waves." This verb is elsewhere used of the activity of Satan beating, battering and tormenting mankind. God permitted Satan to afflict Job severely. The thorn in Paul's flesh was a messenger of Satan to torment him. II Corinthians 12:7. God permitted Job, the disciples and Paul to be afflicted for their own good, to cleanse their faith of doubt, to look to Him alone for help.

6. The adverb "immediately" occurs with verbs at verses 22, 27 and 31. Jesus' help is always immediate.

7. Under normal circumstances their boat should have crossed the sea of Galilee in about three hours, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (1800 hours to 2100 hours.) The disciples must have fought the rough sea for at least six hours. Affliction is often long and difficult to endure.

8. As at Luke 24:37 here at Matthew 14:26 the disciples thought they saw a ghost, a disembodied soul. There is no such thing. At death the soul goes either to heaven or hell. It does not wander about. The idea of a ghost shows the disciples' lack of faith. They were insensitive to the loaves of bread. Mark 6:52. No wonder they thought they saw a ghost! Their faith failed them.

9. When Jesus says: "Fear not" He always gives the reason for not fearing.

10. First, all of them cried out for fear, verse 26, and then Peter also cried out for fear, verse 30. Why? Instead of looking only to Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2), he looked at the fearful waves. No wonder he sank! No wonder Jesus said: "Oh man of little faith, why did you doubt?"

11. First Peter said: "Lord command me" and then he said: "Lord save me." Peter was not as strong as he thought he was. But the Lord did save and help him. The next day he made a great confession. John 6:68-69.

12. Here we have four miracles: Jesus walked on the water; Peter walked on the water; the wind quieted suddenly; the boat came rapidly to land. Though they were in the middle of the lake, John 6:21 tells us that immediately the boat was at the land.

The Sermon Outline of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Matthew 14:22-33

Epiphany IV

THEME: Jesus, Helper Of The Helpless


Last Sunday we heard about the showing forth of Jesus, our Substitute, the One who took our place. Today we hear about the showing forth of the Helper of the helpless. Just before our text Matthew tells us of the feeding of the 5,000. Unless God feeds man, man dies. Today's text shows forth Jesus as the Rescuer of doubting, fearful, lost mankind. He is truly the Helper of the helpless. He is true God.


I Timothy 4:10 says that God is the Savior of all, especially of those who believe. That is clearly exemplified here in our text.


This text was converted to ascii format for Project Wittenberg by Cindy A. Beesley and is in the public domain. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text. Please direct any comments or suggestions to: Rev. Robert E. Smith of the Walther Library at Concordia Theological Seminary.


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