And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26 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 courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”
The comforting words of Jesus, “take courage, IT IS I; do not be afraid”. Has God ever spoken to you about something, I mean something big or life changing?
The disciples are freaking out about seeing a ghost—absolutely terrified. The waves are battering the boat during a storm at sea, and I’m sure there a few disciples, the non-fishermen, who are probably seasick. And then all a sudden, someone spots it there in the distance: it’s a GaaaaaaHOST!
I love how Matthew records that immediately Jesus spoke to them, “IT IS I”.
Peter, being the brave one decides to throw his fleece on the ground, and says, “Jesus if it is really you, let me walk out there.” Jesus tells Peter to step out of the boat, onto the water, and walk out to him. Peter starts his walk and when he gets to Jesus he starts to notice the wind and the waves and begins to sink. And “Immediately” (here is that word again) Jesus grabs him, pulls him up and walks back to the boat.
I imagine that this entire story could have simply ended at verse 27. Having heard the voice of Jesus, the disciples give each other high fives, and have a laugh that they really aren’t crazy because there wasn’t a ghost! They simply wait for Jesus to join them on the boat and journey on the rest of their way. We would read this version, and we talk about how when we get scared, Jesus speaks to us and we continue on our way.
But Peter represents a lot of us. We hear God speak to us, yet we want more proof.
So we make like Gideon, and we throw our fleece on the ground and ask for something of God to be done. In this case, Peter tells Jesus, “command me to come to You on the water”. Peter steps out of the boat and he doesn’t fall in—he is walking on water! I tell myself, that if it was me walking on water, I would know for a fact that what Jesus spoke to me was real and it was going to happen! But again, how many times are we so much more like Peter than we recognize?
We start second guessing what we have heard from God, our trust begins to waiver, and the seeds of doubt start to take root. The waves and winds of life seem to become too big so we take our focus off what Jesus has spoken to us and we begin to sink.
Immediately – oh how that word brings comfort when it comes to Jesus! Immediately Jesus grabs us and helps put our focus back on what he has called us to do.
He helps us with our doubt. He sends confirmation. He builds our faith by revealing things in scripture. Jesus takes care of us. Peter not only asks Jesus for confirmation, but he is asking Jesus for a miracle. Peter wants confirmation that He is really Jesus by having Jesus do the impossible. But God loves to meet us in the realm of impossible. Why? Because when Jesus meets us there and takes the impossible and makes it possible, the glory of God is shown for everyone to see.
My prayer is that if God has spoken to you, that you listen to His voice as he calls out to you “take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” If the words God has spoken to you seem far from possible, I pray that you step out of the boat and allow God to make the impossible, be possible.
God loves us, He is our number one fan. God doesn’t trick us by calling us out of the boat only to watch us fall into the water. God wants us to stand in His calling out on water, secure in His power. If you feel discouraged or distraught, my hope is that you reach out to God, because I know that “immediately” he will take hold of you and remind you that He is walking side by side with you.