Updated: Feb 15
Pleasant View Ward 1-16-22
Faith & Miracles - Mathew 14:22-33
By Michael Fox
The Setting: Verses 22 -24
1. Immediately after the miracle of feeding the 5,000 on the plains of Bethsaida
2. Jesus sends the apostles to take a boat across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum, ahead of him.
3. Jesus dismisses the multitude and desires time alone to commune with Heavenly Father in a nearby mountain and rejuvenates his soul before rejoining his apostles.
4. As the apostles went from the east side of the lake toward Capernaum on the west side, high winds began blowing against them and caused dangerous waves.
5. They left in the early evening and were about 3.5 miles out in the middle of the 7-8 mile wide lake.
Read Vs 25:
“And in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went unto them,
walking on the sea.”
1. Half these apostles were experienced fishermen on the lake.
2. This storm had greatly spent their energy for 8-10 hours at night.
3. They were very concerned for their safety, and I am sure they were praying to God to help them and calm the raging waters.
4. Notice in this verse it says, “Jesus went unto them”. The wording implies to me that Jesus saw and knew of their situation, by his divine omniscience, and decided it was time to go unto them, “in the 4th watch of the night” (between 3 am – 6 am).
5. This illustrates a pattern that the Lord often employs. He allowed his apostles to toil and put forth their best efforts to accomplish the task. He allowed them to see the need for, and probably asked for, divine help and deliverance.
6. He waited till the 4th watch of the night ( each “watch” was a 3 hr block of time) to test their diligence, humility, sincerity, or “real intent” of their prayers, and test their faith in Jesus Christ and HF – before he came to them.
7. So, it is with us in our trials and tests we must experience, as we face the storms and perils of this life. We too must exercise our best efforts and evidence our diligence, humility, sincere prayers, and faith in Christ and HF – and ask Them to guide us, strengthen us, assist us, and maybe deliver us, - in accordance with our faith and God’s will – believing that He knows what is best for our growth and improvement.
Read vs 26:
“And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled,
saying, It is a spirit: and they cried out with fear.”
1. I would be freaked out as well, if I were in a storm-tossed boat, in the darkness of night, and I saw a ghost coming toward me walking on the water.
Read vs 27:
But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying
Be of good cheer; It is I; Be not afraid.”
1. This is Christ’s often used perfect greeting.
2. “Be of good cheer” (Calm down, cheer up, be happy). “It is I” (I am here). “Be not afraid” ( I got this, do not fear, all will be well)
3. The Lord offers this perfect salutation – as do our Prophets and Apostles today – to all of us weary and struggling disciples in our storm-tossed lives, who toil in faith through turbulent waters and who genuinely seek for the comfort, guidance, strength, and peace our Master can provide.
4. I am sure the apostles were greatly relieved, they were cheered up, and their fear was reduced. But, notice the verses that follow. The Lord did not stop the storm, nor calm the waves yet. He had the power to do so but chose not to at that moment. I think the Lord wanted to develop greater faith in Him, and a stronger witness of Him and His power, as the divine Son of God. These were strong and righteous men, chosen by the Lord. But the Lord knew their faith and testimony needed to be rock solid firm to face the persecutions and hardships their future ministries would require.
5. He specifically allowed Peter to exercise his great faith - knowing in advance what Peter intended to do.
Read vs 28:
“And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou,
Bid me to come unto thee on the water.”
1. Peter’s request may at first seem impetuous and reckless. But remember, that - Faith is a principle of action. (Lectures on Faith). We must act on our faith and beliefs, to truly show our faith, and to thus grow and develop our faith. Peter acted in great faith!!
1. Then in verse 29 the Lord said to Peter “Come”. Here Jesus expresses His universal invitation to “Come”. “Come unto me” “Come follow me” “Come and believe on me” “Come, and I will heal you” “Come and see” “Come and be converted”
2. Jesus invites us to draw closer to Him, to feel His love, mercy, succor, grace, and strengthening power. And, to come and receive faith-building knowledge and an increased testimony of His divinity and personal care for each of us.
3. Continuing in verse 29, Peter came “down out of the ship and walked on the water, to go to Jesus” How amazing and incredible that was!! Peter exercised great faith! And the Lord was able to give him the power to walk on the water, because of his faith. He was focused on Jesus and his faith sustained him.
Read vs 30:
“But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid,
And beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord save me!”
1. When Peter looked away as the wind and the waves were boisterous – (like the distractions of the world) – he lost focus on Jesus – he doubted and feared. (And we know that doubt and fear diminishes faith). His faith connection to Jesus was weakened – even after Jesus had just told him to “Be not afraid” – and he began to sink into the water!
2. So, it is with us in this life. When our thoughts and efforts are centered in Christ and what he wants us to do, we too can “walk on water” by our faith, as we work through and overcome the trials, tests, and distractions of this fallen world. If we take our eyes, our heart, and mind, off of Jesus Christ and His commandments, covenants, and example, we too begin to sink into the mire of the world.
3. As Peter was sinking into the wild waters, he cried out saying “Lord, save me!!” Many of us have uttered similar words of pleading to God in our times of trial and despair.
Then vs 31 says:
1. “And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand and caught him,” as Peter reaches up to grasp the Savior’s hand. He “reaches my reaching” – as we sing in the comforting hymn “Where Can I Turn for Peace”
2. Then Jesus tenderly chastens Peter. “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt”. Have you, like me, felt that chastening applied to us at various times in our lives? I hope we can exercise greater faith and less doubt when we are faced with another major trial.
We then read vs 32 –
1. Almost as an afterthought – “And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.” I can visualize Jesus lifting Peter up by his out-reaching hand of desperation, to bring him out of the water – and clutching him to His side as they both walked back to the ship. Peter was then closely connected to Jesus and his faith was strengthened by his closeness to, and support by, the Lord - so he was enabled to walk on the water again back to the ship !! Another evidence of Peter’s great faith and his focus and connection to the Lord.
2. Jesus is immediately ready and desirous to do the same for each of us in our trials and struggles in our lives. We all need that out-reaching hand, and those open arms, of our Master.
3. When Jesus and Peter were in the ship, Jesus calmed the wind and the storm ceased.
In vs 33,
1. It says they “worshipped Him saying, “Of a truth, thou art the Son of God”. Their knowledge, understanding, and faith in Jesus Christ had been strengthened by witnessing these miraculous events that confirmed Jesus’ divine identity and his power over the natural elements.
2. I am sure the Holy Ghost added spiritual light to their souls to confirm their testimony of this critical spiritual truth.
3. I personally believe, this whole experience may have been orchestrated by Jesus to strengthen and confirm the apostles’ testimony of His divinity as the Son of God.
President Nelson, in the Church News last week, shared counsel on this same topic of greater faith and trust in the Lord in an article titled “Trusting the Lord During Untrustworthy Times”, by Jason Swensen of Church News, Week of Jan 8, 2022. I conclude with a few of President Nelson’s statements.
President Nelson testified that placing trust in Jesus Christ and His gospel is what is needed “in this confused, contentious and weary world”.
He then offered five suggestions to anyone seeking to deepen their faith and trust in the Lord:
First, study the words of Christ and His prophets and apostles.
“The more you learn about the Savior, the easier it will be to trust in His mercy, His infinite love and His strengthening, healing and redeeming power”
Second, increase trust by choosing to believe in Christ.
“Study with the desire to believe…” “Allow the Lord to lead you on your journey of spiritual discovery”
Third, act in faith. “Receive more faith by doing something that requires more faith”.
Fourth, partake of sacred ordinances that will unlock the power of God in one’s life.
Fifth, ask Heavenly Father, in Christ’s name, for help.
“If everything and everyone else in the world whom you trust should fail, Jesus Christ and His Church will never fail you”’ added President Nelson. “The Lord never slumbers, nor does He sleep. He is the same yesterday, today, and [tomorrow]. He will not forsake His covenants, His promises, or His love for His people. He works miracles today, and He will work miracles tomorrow.”
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen