(22) And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. (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 to 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 in the ship, the wind ceased. (33) Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. ( Matthew 14: 22-33 KJV)
The famous passage of scripture of Peter walking on water. Often times when this is preached we hear about Peter’s lack of faith or if we go the other route we hear about not his lack of faith, but about his willingness to be the only on of the twelve the disciples to actually be bold enough to step out on faith. Personally, I think that Peter showed both he showed faith in stepping out of the boat but somewhere on the walk to Jesus he lacked the faith to keep him afloat. How many of us have been there? We have the faith to step out into the unknown but somewhere along the way when things got rough we lose faith and we start to sink, even when we know that it was the Lord who bid us to come. In verse 22 it says that Jesus constrained his disciples to get in a ship and to go before him to get to the other side. One of the definitions of constrain means to compel or to force someone toward a particular course of action. Jesus disciples were so used to following him every where that he went that Jesus basically had to compel them to get into the ship without him in order to go to the other side. After putting his disciples into a ship and sending the multitudes away the scripture says that Jesus went to the mountains alone to pray.
(23) And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when 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.
So while Jesus was praying, the disciples found themselves in the midst of a storm. The scripture says that they were tossed which means to throw something somewhere lightly, easily or casually. For the verse continues saying that the wind was contrary, meaning opposite in nature, direction, or meaning. I want for you to get the importance of this. In verse 22 Jesus sent his disciples to go before him to get to the other side, but before they could reach this other side the disciples ran into a storm which easily threw them about. For the winds were contrary to where they were going. Or I can say it like this the storm that the disciples were facing was complete opposition to where Jesus told his disciples to go. Have this ever happened to you. You know without a shadow of doubt that God wanted you to go in a certain direction. Maybe it was a business that he wanted you to start, or maybe it was that missions trip or starting a new ministry in your neighborhood, maybe it was blazing a trail, or maybe you know that God called you to be the voice for those who can’t speak for themselves. Whatever it is you know that it was God who sent you to it, but then a storm or should I say a trial came that you were not expecting and it seems that this trial took you in the complete opposite direction that God told you that you were going. Don’t worry that trial was never meant to stir you off course. It was meant to strengthen your trust in the Lord!
(25) And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
The fourth watch was the last part of the night. That time between three and six in the morning. Night can signify obscurity of the mind or a spiritual obscurity and obscurity is something that is unknown. The verse says that Jesus came unto them in this fourth watch of the night. Meaning at a time when the disciples were unsure of where they were going. He came to them at a time when they started to doubt whether they were still on the right path. I want for you to know this as well he also came to them at a time where they might have given up! When you’ve been in a trial especially a long one you can reach a point where you start to believe that a change will never come or that it’s too late for that miracle that you have been praying for. Jesus came through at a time most people would have been asleep! He also came to them in an unconventional way. Walking on water during a raging storm! It was so unconventional that even his disciples cried out in fear so much so that Jesus had to tell them to Be of a good cheer; it is I be not afraid.
It was then that Peter answered and said Lord, if it be thou, bid me to come unto thee on the water. In essence Peter was making the declaration Lord if it is you, I know that I can do the impossible because with you all things are possible, but if it’s not you then I want even attempt to come. I believe that we should all be like this when it comes to our faith. God if its you bid me to come to you, but if it isn’t help me to stay where I am at until you do bid me to take another step. Jesus answered Peter with one word. Come. That one word gave Peter the confidence to do what those around him feared to do and that was to get out of the boat and walk on water towards Jesus. One word from God can give us the confidence to do what those around us would not dare to do.
(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.
I want to clear up a common misconception about this verse. A lot of the times when we hear this taught we hear things like it was after Peter stepped out of the boat and into the water it was then that the storm came. Not true. The storm was raging even as Peter stepped out of the boat. So Peter had the faith to step out of the boat even in the midst of a storm. So where did the lack of faith come from. Peter had enough faith to step out when everything looked contrary to what Jesus had said, but still he stepped out on faith. It’s common knowledge that the moment Peter took his eyes off of Jesus was the moment that he begin to sink. It was actually more than that. In verse 30 it says that when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid. I asked myself, well wasn’t the wind boisterous when he stepped out. Then I begin to realize that yes it was, but Peter begin to look at the storm at a time when he thought that he should have reached Jesus by now. Sometimes it’s not the trial in our lives that causes us to sink and cry out in fear. It’s when we think that we should have reached a certain area in our lives and we haven’t that we begin to doubt. It’s those times when we thought that our business should have been booming, or that our ministry should have taken off. It’s in those times where we thought that our marriages would have been restored, or when you’ve reached that age where your still single when you thought that you would have been married by now. It’s also that time when you’ve been sick a long time and now you doubt was it ever God’s intention to heal you in the first place. I love the fact that the moment Peter cried out to him in fear the scripture says that Jesus immediately stretched forth his hand and caught him saying O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? Just to be clear Jesus wasn’t calling Peter’s ability to get out of the boat a lack of faith, but it was in the fact that he didn’t have enough faith to believe that the same one who bid him to come in the middle of the storm, would also be the one to sustain him in the midst of the impossible.
I don’t know what it is that God has called you to. I don’t know what personal promises that he has promised you. What I do know though, is that if he told you to meet him on the other side. That no storm, no lack of faith and definitely no doubt will keep you from that. I want for you to be encouraged in the fact that even if you begin to slip your never to far from Jesus where he can’t reach you. Just don’t be afraid to step out on faith. After all God has bid you to COME!!!