25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” – Matthew 14:25-32 (NIV)
One of the aspects of studying Scripture I find fascinating is how, no matter how many times you read a particular passage, God reveals something new through His Word. It never gets stale. You can apply the lessons of the Bible in so many places, so many ways…
With everything going on these days, this passage from Matthew practically leapt out at me. The first word that came to mind: focus. To set the scene, the disciples have just participated in Jesus’ amazing feeding of the five thousand (which was probably more like 15,000, since only the men were counted – not the women and children). Once this was done, Jesus immediately sent the disciples away on boat (Matthew 14:22).
Perhaps, like us, His disciples had a tendency to forget the miraculous whenever things got tough. The troubles of life – and the anxieties and worries these problems bring – are like driving past the scene of an accident. We can’t help but gawk at the tragedy.
So, while the memories of seeing thousands of people fed with a mere five small loaves of bread and two small fish, of picking up leftovers from this feast, were still fresh in their minds, Jesus – knowing of the impending storm – sent the disciples off by boat immediately.
The disciples are out on the Sea of Galilee. The winds are strong, the storm raging.
And they see an apparition – a ghost out on the choppy waters.
And they are freaked out. Wouldn’t you be?
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Peter – you gotta love the apostle Peter and how much he loved Jesus – wants so badly for this to really be Jesus that he asks Him, “If you really are Jesus, tell me to walk to you on the water.” And when Jesus says “come”, Peter jumps out of the boat and goes.
He’s walking on water. Not just water, a stormy surging lake! Peter is focused on Christ, and he is walking on water.
But then, shifting his gaze from the Savior to the storm, Peter suddenly realizes he’s walking on water in the midst of a storm. Fear sets in as he begins to drown. He cries out for the Lord to save him.
And immediately Jesus grabbed Peter and saved him.
There’s a lot going on these days, a lot of bad – scary – things to grab our attention. We can easily get caught up in the news and the doom and the gloom. The situation is rough. Downright stormy.
And we’re all out in the middle of it, in one way or another.
But look carefully in the storm. God is there. He’s never left us. He hasn’t changed. He still loves us. He wants us to walk to Him. He wants us to keep our focus on Him. Not what we hear on the news. Not the turmoil the world is going through right now.
The Lord wants us to step out in faith, knowing He has us in His grip. Trusting that, if we do find ourselves overwhelmed by the storm, all we need to do is cry out to Jesus to save us.
And He will.