He said, Come! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and he came toward Jesus. But when he perceived and felt the strong wind, he was frightened, and as he began to sink, he cried out, Lord, save me [from death]! Instantly Jesus reached out His hand and caught and held him, saying to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt? And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat knelt and worshiped Him, saying, Truly You are the Son of God!—Matthew 14:29–33
Let’s take a closer look at this story. Peter believed and stepped out, and then doubt filled his mind, and he started to sink. His rational mind reminded him that people can’t walk on water. As soon as his mind turned from the spiritual and supernatural, he failed.
Jesus had already said, “Take courage . . . Stop being afraid!” (v. 27). Those few words were meant to assure the disciples that both the presence and power of Jesus were there to take care of them. Yet only one man responded—one out of twelve. Peter stepped out and started walking toward the Master . . . then he faltered. He focused on the storm instead of the ¬presence of Jesus, who was only a few feet away from him. As soon as he diverted his attention, doubt and unbelief pressed in on him.
I’ve often wondered if his feet slowly sank into the water or if he instantly plunged downward. The Bible account doesn’t give us that information, but it does tell us Jesus’ response. He grabbed Peter and saved him from the waves, the wind, and the storm.
Even that’s not the end of the story. After Jesus and Peter climbed into the boat, another miracle took place: The storm ceased. It’s easy to spiritualize this incident and point out that whenever Jesus is with us, the storms of life cease and peace fills our hearts. That is true, but this was a real storm, not a figurative or spiritual one, and the winds instantly stopped.
Matthew makes a point of telling us what happened after the storm. During the storm, Peter exercised faith. He believed and he proved it. The others watched and listened, but there was no response from them.
I believe they were still so scared that they hadn’t even moved. They heard Jesus’ voice telling them not to be afraid, but still they didn’t do anything. No one else moved or spoke a word.
Verse 33 tells us that after the storm, the other disciples knelt and worshipped Jesus. I would certainly hope so! Look at the miracles they witnessed. The storm came, the winds blew, and Jesus came to them, walking on the water. He tried to calm their fears by saying, “Stop being afraid,” but they were not ready to hear Him. Only after Peter exhibited his faith and Jesus calmed the storm were they able to say, “Truly You are the Son of God!” I’m glad they were able to say those words—finally. It shows that the message got through. But what took so long? How much proof did they need before they were ready to worship?
How much proof do you need of Jesus’ love and presence in your life?
Lord Jesus, sometimes I’m like one of the fearful disciples, requiring all kinds of proof before I can believe You. How many miracles do I need to see before I can call You the Son of God? Help me to be more like Peter, ready and willing to walk with You in any and all storms of life. Thank You for loving me and encouraging me to follow You in faith. Amen.