Daily D – Matthew 14:29
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter answered him, “command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus.
MATTHEW 14:29 (CSB)
Chuck Lawrence was the overnight disc jockey at one of the radio stations where I worked during my college years. Seven nights a week, Chuck was on the air. He also gathered the trash and completed sundry other duties more easily done when most of the world was asleep.
He decided to take a two-week vacation and I got to sit in for him. Midnight to three AM is not a bad gig. The late-night crowd can be fun. Since the boss is asleep, we did not have to adhere quite as close to the station’s set musical rotation. It was a more freeform experience.
The hour from three o’clock in the morning to four o’clock is the hardest time to stay awake. Sometimes there is not enough coffee to keep your eyes open. The song requests change as well. One regular caller worked overnight at a nursing home. Sometime between three and four AM, she would call and ask for Misty by Johnny Mathis.
Dear friends, if you ever require an adult lullaby, this is the song for you. It works especially well in the wee hours of deepest darkness. I wanted to curl up on the dirty shag carpet and nap while that song played.
The events of Matthew 14:22-33 took place about the same time of night. Earlier in the day, Jesus and his disciples had walked from Nazareth. Jesus healed many sick people. Then he fed the five thousand. Jesus put the disciples in a boat and sent them to the other side of the lake while he went up on a mountain alone to pray (verses 22 and 23).
Strong winds prevented the disciples from making much progress. You have heard that fatigue makes cowards of us all. It also leads to our minds playing tricks on us. It was at such a point of the night, in such fatigue, and in such a state of mind that Jesus came walking on the water. Verse 26 says, “they were terrified.”
Jesus immediately encouraged them. He placed his courage at their availability. He said, “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid,” (verse 27). If you are living your God-given mission, there is no guarantee that you will not become fatigued. There is no guarantee that you will not become frightened. There is a guarantee that Jesus has all the courage you need for whatever you face and he offers it to you freely without finding fault.
Have you noticed yet that the most oft-repeated command in the Bible is, “Don’t be afraid?”
Peter, at wit’s end or seeking to accept the courage offered, made his request to join Jesus in jumping from wave to wave. Jesus said ever so simply, “Come.” Please note that when we decide to exercise true faith, we always receive a welcoming invitation from Jesus.
Verse 29 says, “Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. How many steps? Enough to set his goal and direction. Feel free to give Peter grief for noticing the strength of the wind and beginning to sink. Here’s guessing, however, that you have never stepped out of the boat like he did. Here’s a suggestion that you should not do so unless Jesus is standing there and says to you also, “Come.”
Jesus responded to Pete getting all wet with, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” I wonder what it would have been like if Pete had not become afraid? How long would they have danced on the waves? Apparently, it would have been quite a bit longer.
I cannot help but see Jesus smile when he asked Peter about doubting. Before there was Doubting Thomas, there was Doubting Peter.
This episode clarified some things. If there was any doubt about who Jesus was before, it was gone now. Listen to the bottom line of this episode: “Truly you are the Son of God,” (verse 33).
When was it you discovered Jesus is the Son of God, your savior?
When did your doubts get washed away?
If you have not arrived at that point yet, what’s stopping you?
I will freely confess and joyfully declare that Jesus is the Son of God, my savior.
Our Father, thank you for another reminder that courage is available to all who live on mission with you. Thank you for another reminder to stop being afraid of life. Thank you for another reminder that there is nothing you cannot empower us to overcome. Thank you for adventures under your leadership and in your company. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”