Matthew 14:22-36 – May 31, 2020
Jesus Walks on Water
Review 8:23-27 The beginning of understanding.
When Jesus got into the boat His disciples followed Him – they had made a decision and were not waiting to follow Him. Then the storm. Many of them may have been seamen, fishermen, but the waves were breaking over the sides of the boat. They tried all they could and it was not enough. They became fearful of dying. In their fear they awakened Jesus. He was not upset by the storm or at being awakened, but was upset at their fear as it indicated a lack of faith. Notice the use of the term litte-faith. After Jesus calmed the wind and the water, they were amazed as even nature obeyed Him. This was the true beginning of their understanding of who Jesus really was and is.
It would be a long time before John would write his gospel and where we would read in John 1:1-3: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. Knowing this, we know Jesus is God and our Creator. They did not yet know this and were amazed as they began to understand who Jesus really is.
14:22 Immediately. Many theories have been written about why Jesus sent the disciples leave immediately and at the same time dismissed the crowd. Most center around the idea the crowd would want more miracles or would want to make him Messiah and king immediately. I think the next verse tells us it was something else.
14:23 Jesus prays. Finally Jesus has time alone to pray and in my opinion to mourn the death of John the Baptis. Recall v13a When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Why was He looking for solitude? Remember how He had spoken of John a bit earlier in 11:11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. John was the man who baptized Jesus. While they were in their mother’s wombs, they had a connection as noted in Luke 1:39-44.
14:24 The boat tortured. The word translated as tossed, buffeted, etc is literally tortured and to question by torture. In reality it was the men in the boat who were being questioned by torture. Their faith was being questioned and tested in preparation of understanding finally who Jesus is.
14:25-26 Terrified. The Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) tells us they screamed with fear. The Contemporary English Version (CEV) tells us They were terrified and started screaming. We think we are used to seeing many crazy things through horror/monster movies and books, but are we? How would we react in reality?
14:27 Courage. Many translations say, Be of good cheer or Have courage. What do you think He said to these men who were clearly terrified? What was it He said that actually calmed them down, removed their fear? It was what He said next. It is I. Don’t be afraid. They recognized His voice. We know this from Peter’s reply in the next verse.
14:28 If it is you. Peter recognized the voice and wanted to join Jesus on the water. An incredible change from terror to be with Jesus walking on the surface of the water.
14:29-30 The Command and the cry. Come in many Bible versions is followed by an explanation mark (!) making it more a command or strong directive. Peter in great faith followed the directive and also walked on water until he forgot his faith and began to sink … as many of us do in our lives when we lose our trust and faith in Jesus. Like Peter, we also cry out “Lord save me!” in our trials and tribulations. A short reading from David Wilkerson’s ‘The Refiner’s Fire.’ This was Peter’s experience as he sank. Now he knew Jesus for who He was then and there.
14:31-33 Jesus immediate reaction. Little faith once again, now as a gentle rebuke. They walked together on water back to the boat and climbed in. The result for His disciples? They now understood and knew who Jesus was and is – the Son of God and they worshipped Him.
14:34-36 His cloak. Pett says We can only imagine the awe of the remainder of that voyage. They would never see Jesus in quite the same way again. Also John 6:21b tells us immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading. The Source of all their healing, which was by their ‘coming and believing’ and according to Pett again The Pharisees would have shrunk from the touch of common people lest they be rendered unclean. But such things mattered not to Jesus. Anyone who touched Him in faith was made clean. The message is that all who come to Him and believe in Him, however faint their touch, will find healing and restoration. This caps off the threefold picture of Him, He feeds, He protects, He makes whole.
BOTTOM LINE: Where is our faith. What is our personal relationship with Jesus. Will we call upon Him in our time of need saying, “Jesus, save me!” as Peter did? It is only Jesus who can save us and take us through the fire.