Walking on the Waves – Matthew 14

Many years ago, my brother-in-law Larry and I went overnight fishing with another brother-in-law, Steve. Steve’s small motorboat was quite adequate for the mild ocean waves we encountered at the east end of Long Island, New York, off Montauk Point. The fishing was good and the company pleasant.

But during the night, a storm came up. Larry and I were sleeping in the back of the boat, and Steve woke us up to have us move to the front of the boat, “or we might not make it back”. I remember that there was enough light to see the large waves just behind us, and it was a frightening experience. We made it safely back to shore and went back to sleep – in the car.

The following morning was sunny and calm, and we returned to fishing. On the way, we saw a Coast Guard vessel towing a large sailboat. But all that was visible of the boat was the very top of its tall mast – the rest of it was submerged, a stark reminder of the tremendous power of a stormy sea.

Jesus’ disciples found themselves in a very similar situation on the Sea of Galilee, on which violent storms can also quickly arise. We read about it in Matthew 14, speaking about Jesus:

23 After dismissing the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already over a mile from land, battered by the waves, because the wind was against them. 25 Around three in the morning, He came toward them walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 Immediately Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s You,” Peter answered Him, “command me to come to You on the water.”

29 “Come!” He said.

And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those in the boat worshiped Him and said, “Truly You are the Son of God!”  Matthew 14:23-33 (HCSB)

Peter comes under a lot of criticism for his wavering faith, but from my own night on the boiling sea, I have only the deepest admiration for him having the courage to step out of the boat. None of the others did! And for a brief time, he did walk truly upon the waves, held up by a miracle of God.

Our own desperate situations are also resolved when Jesus reaches out His hand to us. No matter what trials we face, He is always there, and has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. We can trust Him to calm the waves that toss us about whenever the storms of life are threatening. May He safely carry you through any that are troubling you today.


Would you have joined Peter to walk on the waves?

Father God, thank You for protecting us whenever the storms of life rise up to confront us. We lean upon Jesus to take our hand and bring us through. We ask this in His name, Amen.

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