By Allen White
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33
Often the line that stands out in this passage is “You of little faith,” yet the most used command in all of Scripture is “fear not.” Starting with the Lord telling Abraham not to fear (Genesis 15:1, KJV) to Jesus’ words to John in the Revelation, “Fear not; I am the first and the last” (Revelation 1:17, KJV), God tells us to “fear not” more than any other command in the Bible. We are only commanded to “not kill” three times.
Jesus is the only person alive who doesn’t live in fear. Fear comes from a lack of knowledge or a lack of experience. Anyone giving a speech for the first time understands fear. Anyone facing uncertainty experiences fear. Jesus is all-knowing. He is God. There is no knowledge that He lacks. Yet, as a person on earth, Jesus sought out solitude to spend with His Father.
You and I don’t know everything. (Go ahead, forward this to your mother-in-law). But, we know God, and God knows everything. And, His command to us is “Fear not.”
If the Son of God felt the need for solitude with His Heavenly Father, how much more do we, His little brothers and sisters, need time alone with the Father. He might not tell us everything we want to know, but He will give us all that we need to know.
Jesus has all knowledge. Jesus has a close connection to the Father. Jesus also knew His power over creation. He could walk on water.
I’m not sure which is the greater miracle: walking on water or catching up to the boat. Our impression is the boat is not anchored in the storm. They were progressing to the other side. Jesus with supernatural buoyancy, balance and speed crossed the sea and caught up with His disciples in the boat.
We like to look down on Peter. He was so flakey. He was so impetuous. Yet, Peter is the only one who asked to walk on the water. Peter was the only one who got out of the boat. He lacked the faith to sustain, but he certainly had the faith to start. The other disciples were huddled in the boat.
Calm in the storm comes from solitude with God. If our attention is drawn to the wind and the waves and away from Jesus, this is evidence that our time with the Father is lacking.
“But, I’m busy. But, I’ve got little kids who need my attention. But, but, but…” As John Maxwell says, “If if’s and but’s were candies and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas.”
Lock yourself in your car, your closet, your bathroom – you pick the chair. You don’t need half a day. Try half an hour. When do you come out? When you hear “Fear not.”
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