Matthew 14:22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
Over the past couple of days, we have been looking at this portion of scripture in order to gain courage and insight. Our nation and much of the world is in a storm these days. The coronavirus continues to spread and no one knows for sure how long it will go on or how much it will affect each of us. But this we do know: we worship a Savior who can walk upon the waves of the storm.
We began our study of this passage by considering four important details:
Jesus deliberately sent His disciples into the storm
Jesus was praying for His disciples as they entered the storm
Jesus went to rescue them after all other hope was gone
Jesus reassured His frightened disciples by saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
We considered also why the Lord allows us to encounter life-threatening storms:
To teach us that life has its storms
To teach us that Jesus still cares, even though we are in a storm
To teach us that Jesus will use our storms to accomplish some amazing things
What do we need to consider next? What about the disciples’ response to Jesus?
Matthew 14:28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.
Don’t forget, just a few moments earlier the disciples thought Jesus was a ghost. Who else but a ghost could walk on the waves of a raging sea? I’ll tell you who can. Jesus can! Once Peter realized that it was Jesus, he asked for the power to be able to walk on the sea as well. Why did Peter ask this?
1) Perhaps he got caught up in the moment
Scripture seems to indicate that Peter was a bit impetuous and spontaneous. He tended to open his mouth before he had engaged his brain. He was one of those individuals who could act before thinking. That can be bad if we step out on our own without first having the Lord’s guidance.
2) Perhaps he was beginning to realize that Jesus wanted something more for His disciples
But, Peter did not step out on his own. He didn’t jump out of the boat and try to walk on the water by the power of his own strength. Peter said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” Don’t overlook the word ‘command.’ Peter did not think that he could walk on the water by the power of his own strength. He believed that he could walk on the water – if the Lord empowered him.
I have to wonder what Jesus thought when Peter made this request. Did it startle Jesus or was this what He was wanting to happen? I believe that the Lord desired for all of His disciples to get a vision of what could be done – if they would trust Him and live by His power and strength. Without a moment’s hesitation, Jesus said, “Come.” That’s just one word, but it is a command. Jesus commanded Peter to get out of the boat and to walk on the water. From that point on, if Peter didn’t try to walk on the water, he would be living in disobedience.
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These are perilous times and perhaps they will become even more perilous before it’s all over. Only the Lord knows how severe this storm will get. But even during a raging storm, He does not want us to be discouraged or afraid. “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Don’t ever forget that Jesus can walk on the waves. Consider also Peter’s desire to walk on the water and the Lord’s willingness to enable him to do so.
“But Peter sank!” some of you are thinking. That’s true, he did. But why did he sink? Was it because Jesus was not able to sustain him, or was it because he stopped trusting? We will dig into that tomorrow.
But for today, let me encourage us once again to keep our eyes on Jesus. Yes, we may watch the news and get the latest information, but the news outlets of this world cannot be the sole source of our guidance. Unfortunately, many of them are non-believers and some even scoff at the notion of trusting in God. They don’t believe that there is a Savior who can walk on water. Do you?
God bless you brethren.