6th April 2023
Read (Matthew 14v22-36)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
The Lord had sought solitude to mourn the loss of His friend John and after the miraculous feeding of five thousand men, Jesus once again travelled to a quiet place to pray (v22-23). In this instance even the disciples had been sent on ahead of the Lord to facilitate a peaceful moment of prayer. However as the Lord prayed, the disciples found themselves in the midst of a storm. They were attempting to travel to the other side of the lake but were beaten by the wind and the waves (v24).
At some stage between three and six in the morning Jesus went to His disciples (v25). They were at sea and He was on dry land but this situation posed no difficulty for the One who made all things. The waves became Christ's personal bridge and He made His way to His friends who were getting nowhere fast in the middle of the lake. Jesus the king of creation was doing the impossible by walking on the water.
When the disciples saw Jesus they were absolutely terrified - people don't walk on water and so they cried out in fear "It is a ghost!" (v26). But there was no ghost walking on the waves that night, it was the Lord and He spoke to His disciples saying “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” (v27). Throughout history some have argued incorrectly that Jesus merely gave the appearance of humanity. In other words He was not a true human but just looked like one and that's why He could walk on water. We reject such thinking. Christ was true God and true man without sin - flesh and blood walked upon the waves.
As the disciples heard the Lord's voice it was Peter who replied saying “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” (v28). Peter was a fisherman and knew all too well the danger of the sea, but when he heard Christ's call to "come" (v29), Peter got out of the boat and walked towards Jesus. We can only imagine Peter's surge of adrenaline as the boat got further away and Jesus got nearer and we can only imagine his sense of awe as his feet found the waves to be firm beneath him. Nevertheless as the wind whipped around Peter, his fear swamped his faith and he began to sink (v30).
Thankfully Jesus was near and He reached out His hand to answer Peter's cry of "Lord, save me." (v30) before asking Peter "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?". We must resist the temptation to harshly criticise Peter. In him we see ourselves when moments of extraordinary faith are tempered by moments of extraordinary doubt. We are simul justus et peccator - at the same time justified and sinful, and all of us require the strong hand of the Lord to reach the finish line.
When the Lord entered the boat, the wind ceased (v32) and when He arrived on dry land many who were sick were brought to Jesus and they were healed by a mere touch of Christ's garment (v34-36).
As the wind stopped blowing and as dawn approached, a growing realisation was rising in the hearts of the disciples. They had witnessed many miraculous deeds and they themselves had been sent out to do mighty works in the name of God. But the walking on the water, the calming of the wind and the saving of Peter had brought the Lord's disciples to their knees. In response they worshipped and said “Truly you are the Son of God.” (v33)
This worship wasn't a pat on the back or the highest form of praise given to a really special someone, this was worship that should only be offered to the Lord God. This was a declaration of their certain belief that Christ was indeed the only begotten Son of God.
To those who are sinking fast, remind yourself today that Jesus has not changed. He is still able to save to the uttermost those who call upon Him. Just as He stood on the water, so too He will stand again upon the earth and with all of God's people we will see Him and say "Truly you are the Son of God."
Q13 Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created? Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate wherein they were created, by sinning against God.