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“Take Courage… I Am With You”

“The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.” (John 10:25)

But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well. (Matthew 14:24-36)

In this series of articles we have taken note of a number of Jesus’ miracles which offer incontrovertible proof that Jesus is the Son of God. We have also noted that Jesus didn’t set out to be a ‘side show’ or merely a ‘miracle worker.’ In fact, not every miracle was public; some were worked privately and were known only to a few (see

John 2:1-11).

However, some of Jesus’ miracles were very public (cf. Matthew 14:13-21, feeding the 5000+). These miracles opened a wider audience to the fact that someone extraordinary was standing before them, and they should also listen to what He had to say. By the grace of God many of those who heard Christ speak came to believe in Him as the Son of God. Jesus’ miracles–even after His Ascension–served well to confirm the power and authority of His Word (see Mark 16:20).

The miracle we consider this time is also of a more private nature. It was the evening after Jesus had fed the 5000+, and while Jesus went off to pray alone (see Matthew 14:22-23), He directed His disciples to cross over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.

Jesus’ disciples, some of whom were seasoned mariners, ran into some bad weather along the voyage. They were trying to make headway against the wind which required their focused attention when they saw Jesus walking to them on the surface of the sea!

They were spooked, thinking that they were seeing an apparition.

Jesus didn’t want their imagination to carry them away (as the waves were), so He immediately called out to them, “Take courage; it’s I. Don’t go on being afraid.” (author’s translation—ed.)

We should take these words of the Savior with us not only when we go boating but whenever we leave the apparent safety of our homes. After all, it doesn’t even take a weather event to make us afraid. We often worry about what might happen and convince ourselves that we know what is going to happen so that, before the storm even starts, we are ready to, as they say, ‘throw in the cards.’

Would it help us to write these words of Jesus on a card and keep it in our pockets or purses?  Would it be helpful in the midst of a troubling day to be reminded of the words of our Lord Jesus? When the waves of life seem to be crashing into our boat, we are comforted when we remember that the same God who was with Joshua and Moses is with us, saying, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6,
NIV 1984).

On this occasion Peter asked that Jesus confirm His presence by enabling him to walk on the surface of the water to Him. For a time, supported by Christ’s power, Peter did just that! However, when he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the roiling waters, he began to sink.

Let’s be reminded that it’s not ‘my faith’ that saves me; it’s the object of faith, the Lord Jesus Himself. I can stand in the face of trial and trouble not because I have a strong faith, but because I have a strong Savior who supports me with His strong Word. The strong Savior reached out to grasp Peter, saving him from himself.

Rather than looking down on Peter’s weakness, let’s recognize the same in ourselves. Let’s also remember that the same Jesus who died to deliver us from our sins of doubt is with us day by day to personally support and protect us.