The Calm Before the Storm (vss. 15-21)
When evening approached, the disciples panicked. It was getting late and the people were hungry. How were they going to feed thousands of people? The disciples went to Jesus and asked Him to send the people away. They told Him they did not have the resources, nor the budget, to feed more than 10,000 people.
Not much has changed today. Churches and their leaders complain that they do not have the budget or resources to help the needy or for evangelism.
In verse 16, Jesus said to the disciples: “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat!” But the disciples answered: “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish.” As if Jesus did not know how much they had!
Jesus was testing their faith in Him. He knew that, on their own, they could not feed all these hungry people. What they had was very little, so they were giving up. He said, “Bring [the food] here to me.”
What Jesus wanted was for the disciples to believe in Him and trust Him; He would do the rest. What God wants from us is to believe and trust Him. He does not expect us to do what is impossible for us, but He does expect us to be faithful and to give Him what we have so that He can bless it and do the impossible.
Things had gone so well. Jesus had fed more than 10,000 people (including women and children). After a long and busy but wonderful day, they were all tired so Jesus sent them away in a boat to the other side, and He went up on the mountainside to pray. Everything seemed to be so calm. But this was the calm before the storm.
It must have been between 3 and 6 a.m. when things started going bad. While Jesus was praying alone, the disciples were in trouble, struggling with winds and waves. They panicked again. They didn’t know what to do!
Once more Jesus came to help them deal with this new situation. While the disciples were terrified by the high waves and realized that there was nothing they could do, they saw Jesus coming toward them, walking on the terrifying waves.
You, too, may be facing terrifying circumstances in your life and are panicking or are about to panic. Picture Jesus walking on the terrifying waves to help the helpless disciples. He will do the same for you, too.
The Invitation to Faith (v. 29)
Peter wanted to test his own faith and asked Jesus to let him walk on the waves. Jesus immediately invited him to join Him.
There are more than 1,900 invitations in the Bible. Let’s look at some of the invitations of Christ.
Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me, and I will give you rest.” Jesus invited children to come to Him (Matthew 19:14). He invited the thirsty to come to Him (John 7:37). Those who come to Him will be received (John 6:37).
Come to Jesus, He will receive you the way you are!
The Adventure of Faith (v. 29)
As a fisherman, Peter knew very well the dangers of the sea. He had seen friends drown and he knew the power of the sea. Yet there is something within most of us that loves adventure, mountain climbing, sky diving, car racing, space travel, etc. Peter, through his adventure of walking on the water, quickly learned that Christ is Lord of all.
By believing God’s promises, and through the adventure of stepping out in faith we learn to: trust God instead of man, to give without knowing how God will provide, and to go, trusting that the Lord will lead the way.
The Enemy of Faith (v. 30)
As long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he was able to do the impossible. But the minute he turned his eyes away from Jesus, the powerful wind scared him and he started to sink.
What about your circumstances? Have you had troubles this week? Are you struggling with temptation? Fear? Grief?
Peter’s fears were the enemy of his faith. Fear and faith are opposites. As faith increases, fear decreases.
The Resource of Faith (v.30)
Peter prayed when all looked hopeless. It was a short but intense prayer. He cried out: “Lord, save me!” His prayer recognized the power of Christ to answer and save.
Jesus immediately stretched out His hand and saved Peter. And then He gently rebuked him, saying: “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
The Christian life, like walking on water, is humanly impossible. It can only be lived by the power of the Holy Spirit. As long as we look away from every other distraction and focus only on Jesus, we will be able to experience a supernatural life. But the minute we become occupied with ourselves or our circumstances, we will begin to sink. Then we must cry out to Jesus for restoration and divine strength to continue our spiritual journey.
May God help us to remain focused on Jesus our Lord and Saviour. Amen.