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When has an opportunity presented itself and you didn’t know whether to take it or let it pass by? Matthew’s biography of Jesus describes a time when one disciple took an opportunity that eleven let go by. What does that story teach us today? Pastor Luke looks at Matthew 14:20–32 in “Stepping Out,” the concluding message in his series “House Money.”
Questions to Consider
OPEN. 1. What’s the most ambitious thing you can remember someone (possibly yourself) trying to do? did they succeed?
UNPACK. Read Matthew 14: 20-32.
2. In v. 22, Jesus “compels” or “forces” the disciples to go ahead of him. The language is very strong. Does it come through in your translation? Why would Jesus be so determined to send them ahead?
3. Review the passage to picture the scene in your mind, filling any gaps from your imagination. What did the lake near Jesus look like as he walked on water? When Peter got out of the boat, how far away was Jesus? How far did Peter walk before starting to sink? How deep?
4. Jesus had already calmed a storm at sea (Matthew 8: 23-27). Read that passage. How does it compare with the incident in our reading? Where are the boats? What are the disciples doing? Where is Jesus? What is he doing in each passage? How do the disciples react to him?
5. Why did Peter ask Jesus to command him, instead of waiting to be told? If Peter hadn’t asked, would Jesus have done so anyway?
APPLY. 6. If you had been Peter, how would you have felt after getting back in the boat? If you’d been one of the other disciples, how would you have felt? How would it change your thinking about Peter?
7. If your life right now was a boat, how far from shore would it be, in what kind of sailing conditions? Where is Jesus? What makes his presence comforting? What would it mean to get out of your boat? What would it mean to walk on water? To sink? How could Jesus hold you up?
8. Suppose instead that the boat was your church. How far from shore is it? What are the conditions? Where is Jesus? Who would ask Jesus to command him? What would they ask? What would “sinking” be?