With A Little Faith
Today’s Text: Matthew 14:22-33
CHRISTIAN LIVING 21C
On my first trip to Israel in 1994, I stood on the pier of Kibbutz Nof Ginosar located on the northwest shore of Lake Kinneret one blustery evening. White caps crashed against the rocky breakwater. The wind was fierce. I had to brace myself from being blown into the water.
The impact of the climate and geography on this unique body of water became evident as I looked around. The 2000-foot disparity between the surrounding hills and the surface of the Sea of Galilee nestled 680 feet below sea level can cause extreme temperature and barometric pressure changes. Cold dry air funneling through the Galilean highlands that collides with the semi-tropical environment of the lake can generate powerful winds.
Lake Kinneret is relatively shallow making it susceptible to the strength of these winds that create dangerous climatic conditions to develop quickly and without warning. Winds from the east can whip-up breakers; and in extreme cases, the waves can grow to six or even ten feet high. In 1992, winds off the Golan Heights sent 10-foot waves crashing into the city of Tiberias causing serious damage.
As I stood in the howling squall with my teenage son, we rehearsed an incident in the life of Peter. Jesus had just fed 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes. It was a spectacular miracle. People were amazed. The disciples were doubtless ecstatic as they distributed the food to the seated crowd.
Matthew tells us that after the people had been fed, Jesus sent them away, compelled the disciples to get into the boat to cross to the other side of the lake, and then, went up the mountain to pray alone. Three important facts stand out as we read the account.
- When evening came, Jesus was alone on the mountain.
- The disciple’s boat was, “in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary” (Mt. 14:24).
- The storm occurred between 3:00 A.M. and 6:00 A.M. during the fourth watch.
Six-foot waves driven by powerful winds would have struck fear into the hearts of even the most seasoned fishermen. Envision them feverishly rowing to steer the bow into the waves so the boat wouldn’t capsize, while frantically bailing water. As morning approached, they must have been exhausted.
Suddenly, the disciples glimpsed a figure striding toward them through the storm atop the surging waves. They couldn’t believe their eyes. Closer to the boat, He hailed them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid” (v.27).
Peter challenged, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to You on the water” (v.28). We’re prone to criticize Peter for his comment. But a moment later, he was walking on the water toward Jesus. Peter did something no other human being has ever done.
People of faith well-know the account. Everything was fine until Peter started looking around, saw the wild wind, “was afraid; and beginning to sink . . . cried out, ‘Lord save me’” (v. 30).
We might expect Jesus to have said,
Hey, at least you tried. You were doing all right there for a few seconds. I actually saw you walking on top of the water. That’s something to tell your grandchildren! You’ll do better next time.
What Jesus actually said was, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt? “ (v. 31).
In faith, Peter responded to Jesus’ invitation and had actually defied the laws of nature. He alone of all the disciples had the faith to get out of the boat. He did the impossible. For a brief time, he walked on the water until he began to doubt.
There’s a simple lesson in the account. Whatever we are called to do as we live the life of faith, God is there to provide all that is needed to make it happen. We are left without excuse.
- We have no reason to say, I can’t do that; it’s impossible.
- We have no justification for saying, I can’t do that; it’s never been done before.
- We have no grounds for saying, I can’t do that; I’m not qualified.
- And, no reason to say, I can’t do that I’m scared.
Don’t doubt God’s ability to do the seemingly impossible in your life. With faith, Peter walked on water. With a little faith, you can do every task the Lord requires, as well. There is no reason to doubt.
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. Known for authentically communicating biblical truth, Rev. McCracken’s presentations are relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.
© Charles E. McCracken 2018, devotional comments only (adapted, Charles E. McCracken Sermon Archives, 1994). Repost/Reprint with permission from the author. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Emphasis added).
1) A Break in the Clouds over Lake Kinneret as viewed from Gamla, Israel. © Charles E. McCracken Archives, Author’s Collection 2006.