My Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
For several days now, I’ve been thinking about one of the most remarkable episodes from the life of our Savior. It’s one that I’m fairly sure most of us are familiar with. We find it recorded in Matthew 14:
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
For a brief season, in the early morning dark between 3 and 6 AM, the world inhabited by our Lord’s disciples became most terrifying indeed.
They found themselves in the middle of a vast lake, far from shore, in the bullseye of a terrible storm which exhibited an intensity that dismayed and horrified even those seasoned fishermen among the Twelve. The vessel they occupied was filling with water as it was being smashed to pieces by the great swells and squalls. In terms that are surely understated, Matthew simply explains that “ the wind was against them” (v. 24).
I would suggest to you that this episode, as it ultimately (and happily) unfolded, presents to us a most accurate picture of our lives as fellow-disciples of Jesus.
The twelve original disciples found themselves in the heart of this great storm simply because they had obeyed the voice of their Master, who had ordered them to travel to the other side of the lake (v. 22). Our Savior knew full well that this journey would take His men through a most terrible trial, one that would bring them face-to-face with their own mortality and the horrible fears associated with such a realization. And especially for one of them, Simon Peter, the terror would be particularly intense and personal.
As we reflect upon this event, there are a few observations that we might enumerate for our consideration and encouragement:
- Jesus not only knew that the storm was approaching, as the Divine Son and Lord of all creation He had ordained it for His good and holy purposes.
- There are lessons that we disciples must learn that are best taught and applied in the tumultuous events of life.
- Our Father loves us way too much to grant us smooth sailing all the time.
- Disciples must experience the Lord’s power and comfort in the storm in order to be witnesses of that very power and consolation.
- Our faith in Christ is made both stronger and richer as we come to the end of our strength and our abilities.
- Despite the ferocity of our tribulations, we are never really in danger at all! Jesus is always with us! Our souls are ever safe in His strong hands!
- As we make our way down such frightening pathways, we are gaining a greater understanding of our Lord’s power and love.
On this Monday, we are certainly in the midst of a great storm. It is dark. The waves are crashing against us. The world is aflame. 2020 will be a year that we shall never forget, and it is not even half way over!
But. . .
Jesus our Lord is the sovereign Commander of the storms! He will yet come to us, and we shall witness His great power! And as we do, we too will worship Him, and shall declare, “ Truly you are the Son of God”!
I love you all. You are my joy in Christ!