This morning while reading Matthew 14, I was reminded of our recent trip to Israel and our boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.
We boarded and crossed on a beautiful morning. The sun was shining. The Sea was smooth. And the wind was calm. However, Matthew’s narrative describes a different scene.
Jesus sent the disciples ahead on a boat while he went to a mountain to pray. During the night in the middle of the Sea, the wind and waves began to beat upon the boat.
Suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water. Fearfully, they first cried out “It is a ghost.”
“Take courage. It is I,” Jesus responded. “Don’t be afraid.”
Peter in his typical impetuous manner asked Jesus if he could walk on the water. Jesus said, “Come.”
However, as Peter walked and saw the boisterous wind, he became afraid and began to sink. “Lord, save me,” he cried.
“Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’”
There are some really important lessons here regarding our faith.
(1) The fruit of faith.
Peter believed he could walk on the water. He knew Jesus could grant his request. And Peter walked on the water.
While none of us will walk on the water, we can do great things for God. We need to believe we can. Then ask the Lord. Through faith, God is “able
to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).
Think big. Trust God. Launch out in faith.
(2) Fear makes faith flounder.
Peter’s faith quickly faltered when he became afraid. He took his eyes off Jesus. The howling wind in his ears and the lashing sea around his feet caused him to fear. When his faith wavered, he began to sink.
Fear is one of the great enemies of faith. Fear breeds anxiety and worry. It undermines our confidence. Creates confusion. Gives birth to disbelief. And it will spiritually sink us.
There’s much in our wicked world today that can cause us to fear. We fear for our safety. For our children. For our nation. For the future of the church. And for our ability to remain faithful.
Over 300 times in the Bible we read the warning “fear not.” Don’t allow fear to creep into your mind and heart. But, if it does, immediately call on the Lord. Peter didn’t wait until; he was drowning. He sought help when he was sinking. And so should you.
(3) Doubt causes us to distrust.
“Why did you doubt?” Jesus asked Peter. It’s a good question. Peter had witnessed the miracles of Jesus. He knew His divine power. He saw him walking on the water. And Peter even walked on the water.
But that’s what doubt does. It causes uncertainty. Leads to indecision. Breeds apprehension. And results in skepticism.
If we’re not careful, we’ll take our eyes off Jesus and listen to the enemies of Truth. The atheist, infidel, and unbeliever ridicule our faith. They doubt the existence of God. They belittle the Bible. They disdain and deride Jesus. Many of the critics of Christianity are educated men and women. University professors. Authors. And scientists. But they are wrong. Like the Greeks of old their erudition has lead them away from the simplicity of the gospel.
Keep your eyes on Jesus. Listen to Him. Don’t doubt.
(4) When faith falters, come back to Christ.
There’s more to the narrative that we sometimes miss. Jesus calmed the wind. They got back into the boat. They came to Christ. Worshiped him. And said, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”
Peter didn’t allow his momentary lapse of faith created by fear and doubt to cause him to quit. And neither should you. Jesus has a hand out calling you to “come.” Release your fears and doubts. Refocus your faith. Return to Him. And render Him worship worthy of His Sonship.
Never forget, in your darkest night of doubt and fear, Jesus says, “Be of good cheer. It is I. Be not afraid.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman