Read Matt 14:22–36
Mat 14:26-33 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. (27) But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” (28) And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” (29) He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. (30) But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” (31) Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (32) And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. (33) And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
This is one of those passages that teaches us how to apply Scripture to ourselves and when those Scriptures are not speaking to us. What I mean is this, Jesus is not asking us to jump out of boats and walk on the water. If you do, you are going to get wet.
So what then of this passage are we to take away from it? What does it teach us? Well for one, Jesus is on our side. He does not want us to be terrified of him. Jesus came to save us. Jesus came as our redeemer to deliver us from sin, death and the power of the devil. So while it may be our first impulse to run away or fall down in fear when we are in the presence of his Word, he tells us, “Don’t be afraid.” Why not? He’s there to help us.
Secondly, when Jesus does tell us to do stuff in the Scriptures that actually do apply to us, we need not fear. We don’t need to fear succeeding in what he’s given us to do nor do we need to fear failing in what he’s given us to do. We simply need to be about doing what he’s given us to do. And really, Jesus has only given us two things to do in our lives: trust him and love the person in front of us like we love ourselves.
Next we learn as we practice these two things that we often are not acting in faith or we’re not doing anything because we have so little faith. Jesus’ chastisement of Peter does too often apply to us. So like Peter we are to focus our attention more on Jesus and realize who is telling us to do the things he tells us to do. The disciples confession of faith here must be ours as well, “Truly you are the Son of God.” The one who is telling us what to do is the Son of God, which means he is God. He is trustworthy, kind and merciful and he’s on your side. So do not fear trusting him or loving your neighbor. He is with you in all these things to help you carry them out. He died for you to make peace between you and the Father in heaven.
Lord Jesus Christ, grant us your Holy Spirit that we may trust in you in all our ways in all our days and that we may carry out your command to love our neighbors without fear. In your precious name we pray. Amen.