In Matthew’s Gospel ch.14 vs 22 – 33 we see another wonderful miracle of the Lord Jesus Christ. Just prior to this miracle, Jesus had fed the 5,000. He asks the disciples to leave him and get into a boat and go to the other side of Galilee, while He sent the multitude to their homes. They had intentions to take him by force and make him a king, in an earthly sense, which was not God’s plan
V23 – v27. After praying to his Father, in faith Jesus walked on the sea to his disciples who were struggling in a severe storm. It was between 3am and 6am. The disciples were where Jesus wanted them to be, discovering they were fighting against the winds and waves of adversity using only their own natural abilities! As he walked towards them we would expect them to see that Jesus was the master of the sea. Instead, they were fearful and thought He was some kind of spirit. We see, in adversity, without Christ in the boat of our life, we will be fearful when ‘storms’ come our way. It may be that we will cry out as they did
Their fears were instantly dispelled. Jesus spoke: ‘Be of good cheer, it is I be not afraid’. Living faith is when we trust Jesus to bring us through our difficulties.
V28. With Christ’s reassurance Peter’s fear left him and courage and faith came to the fore. “Lord if it be thou bid me come to thee on the water’. Peter called Jesus Lord, so Jesus called Peter not to swim, but to walk ON the water! Peter wanted to be with Jesus ON the water. He was implying ‘if you want ME Lord just call I’ll come, regardless of contrary winds or boisterous seas, I’ll come.’
V29. Peter’s boldness was rewarded. Jesus said one word ‘Come’ and Peter without hesitation in resolute faith stepped out of the boat. For that brief time, Peter was in sweet communion with Christ, he was held with Him above the powers of the world and kept from sinking into the depths of doubt – alive with Him. Peter’s eyes were focused on Christ his Lord and feeling the power of the Lord upholding him. There was no danger for Peter as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. Underneath him are the everlasting arms. The same applies to us.
V30. Peter was nearly at Jesus’s side when he took his eyes off Him. He saw the winds of adversity, the high waves of doubt, and he began to be afraid and started to sink. Whenever we have been swimming and we step onto the water we sink immediately. We don’t begin to sink. So what is happening here? It is revealing a truth, showing what can be done by faith, and what can happen to us as our faith begins to fade. We can begin to ‘sink’. It doesn’t just happen. Those doubts and fears, Satan’s fiery darts, pierce your soul and pull you down until, without God’s help, you can finally drown in your unbelief.
V30, 31 As Peter begins to sink what happens? He looks to Jesus and explosively cries out ‘Lord save me’ (Heb 5:7.) His prayer is heard. When our faith staggers in the winds of adversity what should we do? Look to Jesus and cry out in prayer. He will hear us. Jesus will stretch forth His hand and catch us as he did Peter. What a Saviour! To be safe in the arms of Jesus again.
V31. ‘Oh thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt’. I don’t think Jesus is harshly rebuking Peter here. I feel Jesus is encouraging Peter in his faith; just a little bit more trust in me, a little bit more looking to me and not on the problems – you would have made it through. Why did Peter doubt when the Lord was before him? Because he was human, stained by sin, losing his trust. It is the same today for us, we too doubt. Be encouraged, look to Jesus and trust Him more. See His outstretched hands.
V32,33. They both got into the boat, the wind ceased and the disciples worshipped Jesus. Calm in the boat with the master of seas at the helm. The natural (perhaps supernatural?) reaction was to fall at Jesus’s feet and worship Him, saying ‘Thou art the Son of God’. Giving Him the glory which was due to His name. Are you in His boat? Then exalt Him.
As with the disciples, the outcome of a trial of our faith must be praise and thanksgiving to the Lord our God when He brings us through. For sure, faith is the proper principle of worship and worship is the genuine product of faith.
– Michael Whitehouse