Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Storms are part of life, aren’t they? And in this true story, the disciples found themselves stuck in the middle of stormy Lake Galilee, and they were rowing for all they were worth, because the wind was against them. Now you would have thought wouldn’t you, that as soon as Jesus saw the predicament His disciples were in, He would have sprinted down the hill to rescue them, but according to verse 25, he waited for at least six hours (until the fourth watch of the night – which is between 3.00am and 6.00am), before He went to them. And sometimes Jesus does delay His help a) because His timing is not our timing, and b) because He wants to stretch our faith, and c) because He wants to bless us in the waiting, and d) because He wants us to experience an even greater miracle. But even though Jesus remained on the mountain in prayer, He absolutely knew the dilemma His friends were facing, which reminds us that, when we are facing stormy situations, although at times, the Lord may seem to be absent, He is absolutely aware of our distress and He is also fully in control of what may seem to be OUR out of control situations.
Please notice too that Jesus did not immediately STOP the storm – He could have done of course, but He came to the Twelve IN the storm. And although Jesus isn’t immediately quelling the Covid -19 storm, He promises to come to us and meet us in it, and in any storm we face.
Well as we see from these verses, these men – some of whom had spent their entire lives on the Sea of Galilee, knew that people were not capable of walking on water, and so no wonder they were troubled and fearful as Jesus approached them. They thought that they were seeing a ghost, and when Jesus made His presence known, bold and impulsive Peter, wanted the experience of walking on water himself. In a way, we have to admire Peter’s audacious faith here, as in these torrid conditions, Peter was willing to abandon himself completely to Christ. And at first, as Peter climbed out of that boat, everything went well. Peter found that he could walk on that stormy sea. The wonder of it! But please note that the minute according to verse 30, Peter took his eyes off Jesus, and began looking around at his stormy circumstances, he began to be engulfed by fear, and he began to sink. In other words, Peter was doing well, until he stopped looking at the Lord.
To be honest, I think that all of us wish that storms could be avoided in life don’t we? But it seems from this passage that we have two choices. We can either choose FAITH or FEAR. We can either fix our eyes on Jesus and see Him INthe storm and experience His power THROUGH the storm, or we can fix my eyes on the storm that is raging around us and sink in fear. Peter’s faith was strong all the time he kept his eyes on the Lord, but his faith was weakened the moment he focused on the boisterous wind. Our faith during these difficult days will not be strong if we take our eyes off Jesus. May we understand from this passage that just as Jesus was holding BOTH the disciples and the storm in His hands, so He is holding today’s storm and US, in His hands too.
“Increase our faith.” (Luke 17:5)