1/27/15 Jesus Walking on the Water

Monday, January 26, 2015


Matt. 14:22-33

Morning Meditation 1/27/2015

The outcome of this miracle reveals the reason for it. Verse 33 says, “Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” Here we have Jesus receiving worship. When an attempt was made to worship Paul and Barnabas in Lystra, they immediately set the record straight and refused worship. Acts 14:14-15 gives their response: “Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:” But Jesus never once says, “You men are wrong to worship me. I am just a man as you are.” He does not say this because he was not just a man. Their confession was correct: “Of a truth thou art the Son of God.”

The setting for this miracle is seen in verse 24: “But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.” The disciples were having a real struggle. Remember, of the disciples some were very familiar with this sea. They had fished on it for a living. They were commercial fishermen. They had embarked on this sea with their destination being “the other side.” They had done this before night. The time that Jesus came to them was “in the fourth watch.” This was between 3 and 6 a.m. They had been on this troubled sea almost all night. To say the very least, things were not going their way. It is usually in times like this that the Lord Jesus chooses to manifest himself to us in special ways. We need to see in times like this an opportunity for a special manifestation of his presence.

Then we have the miracle: “And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.” A miracle is defined by American Heritage Dictionary as “An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God:” A miracle is where natural law is suspended by God for the purpose of some special thing he wants to do. If it is a miracle science won’t be able to explain it. It is not a normal happening. Jesus walking on the water is not normal.. It can’t be explained by science. It is not a trick. Jesus walked on the water like you and I would walk on land.

The effect of this miracle is seen in verse 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.” The words “they were troubled” (tarasso) mean “to cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of mind, disturb his equanimity.” This miracle had about the same effect on them emotionally as me finding myself in a pit full of snakes. The words “they cried out for fear” describe the depth of their fear. It is an aorist tense which speaks of a sudden loud scream. That pretty well describes my action if I woke up in a pit full of snakes. Not quite, but it is a beginning!!!

The words “saying, It is a spirit” describe the effort to explain the miracle in a human way. This is the problem with the natural man. He wants a god that he can explain in natural or scientific terms. This explains the liberal Bible scholars. They do not approach God’s Word by faith, they approach it with human scholarship. And what Jesus did here, can’t be explained by science. Natural law had to be suspended so that Jesus could do something that was not contrary to his power but totally contrary to man’s. They said, “It’s a ghost!” They were wrong. If they had known it was Jesus, there would have been no fear. Has anything ever happened to you that caused great fear and later you discovered it was Jesus at work all the time? They were trying to find a human explanation for a divine operation.

Verse 27 says, “But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” The word “straightway” means “immediately.” Jesus allowed them to experience fear and scream out which was the emotional response to that fear. But he did not allow it to last long. He immediately revealed who he was. This response was threefold. First, he said, “Be of good cheer” (tharseo) and is the translation of a word that means “be comforted, take courage.” This is good. They were fresh out of courage. It is in the imperative mood so it is a command. The command expresses urgency. It is very important that our emotional responses to divine manifestations are under the direction of faith. It is natural to make immediate wrong responses because we still have the adamic nature. But we glorify God when we rebound from that immediate wrong response by saying “This is the Lord’s doing.” We are in a circle and the circle represents the will of God. And nothing can come through that circle that is not allowed of God. And if he allowed it, and he did, he will make it work for our good and his glory (Rom. 8:28).

The second thing he said was, “It is I.” This translates the Greek “ego eimi” which is “I am.” He said to them, “Be of good cheer; I am.” This is the exact equivalent to what God said to Moses at the burning bush. Now when the disciples considered the miracle along with what Jesus said here, their response was to worship him and say to him, “Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” This was the effect that the miracle was designed to have on them. John brings this out in John 20:30-31: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” Why does he say these are written? Miracles were for the confirmation of his word. Jesus is God incarnate in the flesh (John 1:14, 18). He told his disciples this and they confessed it as truth.

The third thing Jesus said is, “be not afraid.” This is the translation of “phobeo” which has been transliterated into the English language with our word phobia. It is a present imperative verb. The word means, “to put to flight by terrifying (to scare away).” In other words “Don’t run!” You say, “Well, where were they going to run?” I don’t know. But they were about to take off sea or no sea. We don’t do things that make sense when we are seized with fear. I heard a story about a man who was walking through a grave yard. Well they had dug a deep grave in the path and it was night. You guessed it. He fell into the grave. All attempts to get out failed. So he settled down for the night. During the night another man came along and fell into the same grave. He jumped and clawed trying to get out. The other man sat over in the corner amused. He waited until the man wore himself out. Finally, he stood and tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “You can’t get out of here.” But when he did that, he discovered the man could get out!!! Jesus said, “Be not afraid.” These were calming words to the disciples. Has Jesus ever said to you, “Be not afraid.” I know what it is for him to say that. What a comfort.

Then Peter wanted to take a stroll on the water. He said to Jesus, “if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” Peter started with doubt. He used the word “if.” When you start with doubt, you are probably going to wind up like Peter, sinking! Jesus had already said, “It is I.” That should be enough for us. I am sad to say, it is not always enough. Jesus said one word: “Come.” This word means “to go from one place to another” and it is an aorist imperative. The aorist tense suggests a sudden response. The imperative mood is a command to be obeyed. This is what faith is. It is a response to a heavenly order. God has to authorize every move that faith makes or it is not faith.

Jesus works the miracle, reveals who he really is, deals with doubt and also reveals something very important to us all. That is, he will not allow one of his children who has “little faith” to sink. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24). This means that God is in control of the ultimate outcome as well as the circumstances that he uses to develop our faith.

Jesus will also come walking on the stormy waters of our lives. Look for him in the storm. He will always be there for you.

God bless you.

In Christ

Bro. White

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