Matthew 14: 23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
It takes a lot of faith to stay true to the Lord. The only way we’ve made it this far is by faith. We’ve not fought the battle ourselves. It’s through Jesus. What he asks and expects shouldn’t have to be spelled out all the time. The power is all ours if we but keep our faith in the Lord. Take the Word seriously. Jesus means what he says.
After Jesus brought Peter back into the boat, he chided them all a bit asking why they doubted. They were never by themselves. His eyes are on us and that’s as good as his hand. Don’t get blindsided by what’s going on in your life. Hold on and let faith get your boat through the water to the other side.
The disciples had a hard lesson to learn. Most failure lies in our doubt when it gets weak. Tomorrow you may find yourself in the midst of an unexpected storm. The devil will test your faith. Life will. The world will come at you to squeeze and crush your faith. Jesus doesn’t have to be in the boat so you can cruise through the storm. He may seem far away but his arm can still reach the storm. His eye is still on you. No distance can separate you. When Jesus was on earth in his physical form he could only be one place at a time but his eye was all around. He’s a lot closer than we realize.
When Jesus pulled Peter up he was close to Jesus but he lost faith. We do that. Peter was bold enough to say Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. Jesus told him to come. It is one thing to believe Jesus can walk on the water and another to believe he can walk on our water. Peter was the first to step out and when his feet hit the waves it was just like us walking down this aisle.
When they first saw a figure on the water, they thought it was a ghost. So what if Jesus isn’t as clear to us as he is in church? So what if tomorrow we’re plunged into a dark sea? Jesus is saying ‘don’t worry about it.’ The disciples thought they would perish. Jesus told them they didn’t have to be afraid. Remember Jesus came to give us life—more abundantly.
My brother Lee and I used to climb trees when we were growing up. Going up was one thing and getting down another. We needed someone taller than we were to help get us down. Dad was our help. Jesus is bigger than the trees, the sea, and the diagnosis. The hounds of hell may be barking at your feet but we have a Savior who can take care of it all.
It was the recognition of Jesus’ voice that helped the disciples. He assured them who he was and told them not to be afraid. It’s easy to frown. If you listen hard enough over the winds and thunder you’ll hear him. Jesus is not and never will be a ghost. Some will tell us he is a ghost of the past on the same level as Mohammad or Confucius, or Buddha. Our Savior died, was buried and on the third day he arose. He wasn’t a ghost. The next 40 days he appeared anywhere he wanted. Jesus can be exactly where you are, and where you are, and where I am—all at one time. There is no reason not to see or recognize him. Use your ears but more so use your heart. Listen for the still small voice. No matter what comes or how rough it is you can hear him. We can’t go by feelings. We go by faith.
We were saved by faith and that’s what gets a response from Jesus. We can fail in our faith. Jesus asked the disciples where the faith was that they had when he fed the 5,000. They believed his hands could do it and should have known he could take care of them. He said to them O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? You know what that means? Is this you? It there is a sorting going on here, it’s not me; it’s the Lord. Did you feel it? I did. Where’s my faith? Jesus knows how to put a burr in our saddle. That’s what he did to Saul. No doubt he was prodding that horse as fast as it could go when the Lord knocked him off it and blinded him with the light. Jesus said ‘see there, Saul, it is hard to kick against the pricks.’
Don’t be known by the Lord as one of little faith. Are you using your faith? There is no top on the faith thermometer like there is on a temperature thermometer. Your faith may feel all right now. What about tomorrow? One time the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith. He told them that if they had only the amount of a grain of mustard seed they could move a mountain. Peter thought he had it but Jesus put him in his place. He told him he needed to put more faith in him. He’s told me I need more faith in him. Do you? The reason Peter began to sink is that he took his eyes off Jesus and put them on the storm. Stop believing the devil is bigger. Faith works fine when the object of it is perfect. Jesus is. Direct it there and keep it on Jesus. Let what the Lord has told us point you in the right direction.
What size is your faith? Why do you doubt? Be like Peter and say ‘Lord, if it’s you bid me come.’ Jesus is saying ‘come’ to us today. We need him.