James and John grew up in Zebedee’s boats on the Sea of Galilee. Peter and Andrew had similar upbringings in and around Capernaum. The fishermen knew the oddities of the local weather, having often experienced the dangerous storms that blew in suddenly, turning the placid waters intensely turbulent.
That’s precisely what happened on a certain memorable night.
The previous afternoon, Jesus had miraculously fed the multitude of five-thousand weary men and their families. “When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, ‘This truly is the Prophet who is to come into the world.’ Therefore, when Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself” (John 6:14–15, CSB). Jesus must have been tempted to allow them to coronate Him as king, but seeking the Father’s will and direction, He prayed until the wee hours of the morning. As Jesus was fighting His own spiritual battle, He was fully aware of those He loved and the battle they were fighting.
When Jesus retreated to that solitary place on the mountain to pray, he sent the twelve back across the Sea. “The boat was already some distance from land, battered by the waves, because the wind was against them” (Matthew 14:24, CSB). Galilee is a huge body of water, seven or eight miles wide. They may have been halfway across. Though Jesus was far in the distance, He knew their challenges and fears.
Remember that the next time you find yourself in tough spot. Though Jesus is ultimately high, he is always intimately nigh!
Peter and his pals were fighting for their lives, battling against the wind and waves. Maybe someone said, “If Jesus was here, we wouldn’t be in this mess!” About then, they caught a glimpse of Him. He was right there, standing on the waves. “ ‘It’s a ghost!’ they said, and they cried out in fear” (Matthew 14:26, CSB). If I saw a big dark figure walking toward me through a midnight storm, I’d scream like a little girl! Wouldn’t you?
That’s when Peter popped off. “Lord, if it’s you ... command me to come to you on the water” (Matthew 14:28, CSB). Unbelievably, he did. Peter swung his leg over the edge of the boat and stepped out onto the water. Slowly, deliberately, Peter walked toward the Master. As long as he kept his focus on Jesus, he stayed top-side, but when he looked away, he began to sink. Peter blurted out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30, CSB). Rescuing people is Jesus’ specialty. Jesus reached out and plucked the drowning man from doubt and doom.
“When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those in the boat worshiped him and said, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’ ” (Matthew 14:32-33, CSB). Jesus saved them, and they worshipped!
What is worship? Worship is responding to God... acknowledging Him, thanking Him, and praising Him for who He is, and all that He has done!
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor