Jesus Walks On Water | Matt Dawson
Scripture: Matthew 14:23-33
After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified.
In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.
“Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.
Fear, then Faith, then Fear again. This is what I see in this story. I see a group of guys who have already seen some amazing and miraculous signs from Jesus. They’ve been instructed to push out into the lake and some strong wind has come up. When they see Jesus in the middle of the night – they are FEARFUL. Then, when Peter hears that it’s Jesus, he request that Jesus put his faith to the test. He says – “tell me to do something that I can’t do…” or “instruct me to do something that is an act of faith”. So Jesus tells him, yes – come on out. Peter knew this was an act of faith. No one steps out of a boat on purpose. But he did it – and he was walking on the water. He was doing the impossible.
However, as soon as the wind picked back up and he saw the waves around him, he went right back to fear. Fear of what was going to happen, fear of the reality that he shouldn’t even be able to do what he is doing. He takes his eyes of Jesus, and puts it back on his fear.
Jesus uses this time to teach them once again about faith and trust.
What if there was a way to skip steps 1 and 3 (fear) and always live in step 2 (faith). I think there might be… but then again – I don’t want to under play the importance of fear in our lives. I don’t think fear is something to ask God never to experience. I think it’s natural, and I think that God uses what is natural to help us experience something supernatural.
So better question – I wonder if I can avoid step 3 – returning back to fear. I think that is what this story is about. The fear we start with is natural, it’s in us. It shows up and we feel it. However, that is when courage, trust, and faith can kick in. This is the time to rise up and be FEARLESS even though the elements of fear are still all around us.
It is in the TRUSTING that this FAITH we have cannot fail us if we keep our eyes on Jesus. That is where victory lies. Not in trying NOT to be afraid. But to allow our natural fear to move us to a place of FEARLESS faith and trust in the one who holds our hand. To not allow the crashing waves (that will always be around) distract us from the author and finisher of our faith.
Jesus, we don’t like to thank you for our fear – but thank you. We know that this fear comes is natural, but it gives us the opportunity to choose something different – something supernatural to replace it with. It is not the removal of fear that helps us – but the overcoming of fear that moves us forward in our faith. So thank you for the things that we fear – it is only then that we can choose something better – YOU.