Several months ago, we talked about the feeding of the 5,000. Let’s look at the wild adventure of that evening and on into the night.
The day had been long and exhausting. Jesus taught and healed many. How many? Well, out of 5,000, you can only imagine. Then came the great miracle of blessing the five loaves and two fish with the disciples organizing and helping feed the crowd.
Jesus tells the disciples to push out in the boat and meet him on the other side. He opts to walk up a nearby mountain. For what?
After he dismissed them, he went up on the mountainside by himself to pray. Matthew 14:23
Many times in Scripture we see Jesus going off alone (a rare delight) to pray. I always think, if Jesus had the need for prayer, most assuredly I do too.
While He’s refueling himself, the boatload of disciples are a good ways from shore. The wind begins to blow across the water and soon, it is so strong the waves beat against the boat. The howl of the wind, the rocking of the boat, and the slaps of water in their faces cause great alarm for these twelve sailors.
Sometime between 3:00 and 6:00 A.M., the fourth watch, one of them suddenly points out toward the water and shouts, “Look!” They see a figure coming toward them and it’s on top of the water.
“It’s a ghost!” one of them cried out in fear. Matthew 14:26
Jesus, who is walking toward them—yes, walking ON the water—yells out to them over the wind and waves.
“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Matthew 14:27
Impetuous Peter jumps up and calls out.
“Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” Jesus said.
Peter does three positive things. He gets out of the boat in faith, walks on the water, and keeps his eyes on Jesus. However, things go downhill when he takes his eyes off Jesus.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Matthew 14:30
Jesus rebukes Peter for having little faith and doubting.
In some ways, it seems that he actually demonstrated amazing faith, but Peter still has much to learn about trust. Jesus grabs his arm; they get in the boat, and the winds die down. The disciples fall before Him in worship. They say,
“Truly you are the Son of God!” Matthew 14:33b
Did they not already know that after their incredible journeys with Him? After the day they had just spent with Him?
But their eyes had never been blind. Their limbs not withered. While they absorbed the teachings, they weren’t in fearful places. But this time they experienced fear themselves. It was personal. Greater fearful times were ahead. This was training ground for learning to trust more and more.
Lord, help us keep our eyes fixed on you. Build our trust in the storms-of-life training ground.
~ Joyce ~