Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-52; John 6:15-21
The story of Jesus walking on the stormy seas has some great encouraging lessons. It’s another story of where God moved suddenly. One needs to study the story across Matt 14:22-33, Mark 6:45-52 and John 6:15-21 to get the full picture.
The context: on some particular evening, Jesus had just finished feeding 5,000 men with 5 loaves and 2 fish. Afterwards, the people were so amazed that they wanted to force Him to be king. Jesus made the disciples get in their boat and cross to the other side while He sent the multitude away.
- Jesus sent the disciples to go ahead of Him to the other side and surely knew they would face a storm on the seas. So why did Jesus allow His beloved disciples experience a storm when He knew He wouldn’t be with them? It has to be that He wanted to test their faith. Remember Jesus had just performed an extraordinary miracle then He put their hearts to the test. This trend is the same we saw with Elijah: just after God sent great fire down from heaven, he got scared and ran away following Jezebel’s life threat, causing God to question why he had run away. Same also with the Israelites after crossing the Red Sea. Basically this is an example of how God works with us: we experience His great power but He tests us again to see if we truly acknowledge what/who our source is. Are we able to stand on the evidence of what He’s done in the past and trust that no matter how long or intense the fire is, Jesus is with us?
- Ordinarily, this journey should have taken 2-3 hours. It started in the evening (between 6-9pm) but only ended in the morning (between 3-6am). Jesus was on the mountain praying and could have gone to them early in the storm but He didn’t appear to them until around 3am. His ‘delay’ surely allowed the revealing of what was truly in their hearts and tested their faith.
- Peter had faith to step out of the boat but didn’t have enough faith to survive the storm. Basically he started sinking in the storm when he took his eyes off Jesus and started focusing on the power of the raging storm. He gave in to fear and anxiety instead of focusing on Jesus who is ALWAYS in control of the storm.
- Mark says that in the evening, Jesus saw them straining at rowing but instead went to pray on the mountain. I believe He was praying for their faith and survival. Now when Jesus came to them, at the darkest hour of the night, “He would have passed them by”. 😧 Basically, if they were not in tune with the spirit, able to recognize Jesus or His voice when He spoke with them, they would have missed their miracle hour!!! Oh how important it is to set our mind on things above, meditating on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praise worthy. Yes we set our foundation on God’s word but our ecosystem needs to be right as well, so that we can hear the still voice when it speaks, or like Moses recognize the supernatural (fire) when it presents itself.
- Life’s storms come to us for a reason. It may look to us as if Jesus has forsaken us but He’s promised to be with us always, till the very end. He has the power to control the length and intensity of the storm but this is a function of how we respond in the storm. After Peter’s faith was tested and he called out to Jesus for help, IMMEDIATELY Jesus grabbed his arm.
- The most miraculous thing in this story is that IMMEDIATELY Jesus got into the boat with them, the storm ceased and they IMMEDIATELY arrived at their destination. Just. Like. That. 🙌🏾😁
Immediately we appeal to Jesus and bring Him into our situations, He instantly calms the storms (fears & anxieties) in our life and gets us to our destination. But how long is immediately?
- One relevant example I can find for when God moved so sudedenly is in the story of Hezekiah in 2 Chr 29:36. After the Israelites’ “acts of faithfulness” (fixing the house of God; repenting of sins; keeping the Sabbath et al; giving first fruits, tithes and offerings etc – see my previous blogpost), God “suddenly” and quickly turned their situation around. We may not see clearly what He’s doing but once we involve God, you can be sure that He’s already working for us. 🕺🏾💃🏾
- Joseph had also consistently proved his faithfulness over many years and within a day, he was elevated from prisoner to ruler over the land. It was an act of faithfulness that Joseph had performed 2 years prior that eventually brought him to rememberance before Pharaoh and turned his life around. Joseph was tested to see if he would still proclaim the goodness of God (to the butler and cup bearer) even when he hadn’t been rescued from his own trials – and though he passed that test, it stil took two years before he was saved from the prison.
I believe that faith isn’t just a mental state; it also requires a physical manifestation of what we believe (i.e. in our works), consistently over time, and God who’s justice is not mocked and wouldn’t give His glory to unbelievers, will reward us in due season if we do not give up. 🙅🏾♂️😇