Jesus Walking on the Sea

Matthew 14:23‑33  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Bright was the witness, as it is still, to the rejected Messiah. This glory is great, but He is greater still—Immanuel and Jehovah-and it shines out the more that men despise Him.
"And having dismissed the crowds, He went up into the mountain apart to pray. And when even was come, He was alone there, but the ship [or boat] was already in the middle of the sea tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. But in the fourth watch of the night He went off to them, walking on the sea. And the disciples, seeing Him walking on the sea, were troubled, saying, It is an apparition. And they cried out through fear. But Jesus immediately spoke to them, saying, Take courage; it is I: be not afraid. And Peter answering Him said, Lord, if it be Thou, command me to come to Thee upon the waters. And He said, Come. And Peter, having descended from the ship, walked upon the waters to go to Jesus. But seeing the winds strong he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught hold of him, and says to him, O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt? And when they had gone up into the ship, the wind fell. But those in the ship came and did homage to Him, saying, Truly Thou art God's Son." J.N.D. Trans.
Whatever His own title, and it was truly divine, our Lord had become man and loyally maintained His dependence on God, of which prayer is a signal expression. It is peculiarly prominent in the Gospel of Luke, where His humanity is most brought before us in all its lowliness and sympathy, in all its piety and obedience. And it has its due place in Mark's Gospel of His service. But the disciples on the tempest-tossed sea were as distressed as their boat, and the wind was contrary, so that they toiled in vain at the oar. He waited long enough for them to realize their danger and their powerlessness, and then came unto them, walking on the sea. Troubled at what they thought an apparition, they cried for fear; but immediately He bade them take courage. "It is I; be not afraid."
No doubt the enemy stirs up storms of every kind to alarm and endanger the disciples; but what of it, if the Lord sees all with watchful eye and fails not to give His guardian presence? This will be true and sure for His Jewish remnant in days to come as well as then when He was on earth; so it is assured to the Christian and the Christian assembly now, however few they may be. He who has His way in the whirlwind and in the tempest, with the clouds as the dust of His feet, was there in the Person of Jesus walking on the waves to say, Be courageous. It is I; fear not. They ought to have known already that winds and waves obey Him, their Creator.
Peter yields a little intimation of what was at hand. He quits the boat at the word of the Lord, and goes to meet Jesus on the sea, as the Church did, gathered to His name, apart from the Jews and the Gentiles (1 Cor. 10:3232Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: (1 Corinthians 10:32)). But he quickly displays the instability of his faith. To the Christian also, Christ is all. If we look away from. Him, we begin to sink as he did. What if the storm raged and the waves rose ever so high? Had the sea been smooth instead of rough, could Peter have walked across it? But he saw the strong wind and began to sink, and cried, Lord, save me. And the Lord's outstretched hand was the answer, though there was the loving reproof, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" Such is He to us now-faithful, gracious, and superior to all circumstances. But we have to walk by faith, not by sight. Yet, if our faith fail, He does not fail to deliver.
By-and-by He will rejoin His Jewish disciples in their unequaled trouble at the end of the age, bespeak a calm which is not the Church's portion while on earth, and bring at once the old ship into the desired haven [see John 6:2121Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went. (John 6:21)]. For heaven and for the earth, for the Church as for Israel, Jesus is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." Isa. 45:2222Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:22).