“but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down.”
The short answer to the title of today’s devotional is: Because He needed to get to the other side of the lake! HA! No, but seriously, Jesus had to get out to a boat in the middle of a lake, which was full of disciples, so He walked on water to accomplish this feat.
He and his closest followers had just fed over 5,000 people. I say over 5,000, because the Bible says “5,000 men,” it doesn’t say women and children (see Mark 6:44). So with my hypothetical theory, by the time you add up wives, widows, and kids—Jesus had just filled up the bellies of over 10,000 people!
For those who don’t know the story, Jesus miraculously multiplied a few loaves of bread and fish which fed a very large crowd—and there were leftovers! He didn’t just provide what they needed, but also, what they wanted, which was more than enough!
But that’s just what Jesus does, He shows off! All of His miracles were performed for our benefit, not His. He already knew who He was. He did what He did because He wanted the people following Him around to believe that He was the Son of God. The only way to do that was to perform some godly tricks, also known as, miracles.
This is why He performed every miracle–so we would believe Him! If it weren’t for the miracles, we could easily chalk Him up as one of the craziest people who ever lived. Performing miracles is what makes Him God in the flesh! He even told the legalistic Jews who were trying to stone Him, “If you don’t believe what I’m saying, at least believe me based on my miracles” (see John 10:31-39).
So when Jesus and His 12 disciples had just fed all of these people, He went up on the side of a mountain for some one-on-one devotional time with the Father. While He was there, the disciples took off in the boat to get to the other side of the lake without Him. When Jesus looked out onto the water, He saw that it was very windy, a storm had blown in. The waves were going crazy, and the rowing of the disciples was not helping! So what does Jesus do? The Water-Walker just strolls on out toward them, right into the storm! No big deal.
As they see Him coming, they freak out and say, “It’s a ghost!” but Jesus just gets closer, and closer, and then finally, He calms them down. “It’s just me, relax. Don’t be afraid.” Now, in the book of Mark, his account doesn’t record Peter getting out of the boat (Mark 6:47-51). Neither does John’s writing of this event (John 6:15-21). But Matthew tells us about Peter getting out of the boat, and walking on water!
Peter is just a regular person, like you and me! But yet, he walked on water like the Son of God! Why?! How?!…Because his focus was on Jesus. His eyes were set on the power of Christ–not on the waves. Jesus had just trekked 3.5 miles on H2O (see John 6:19), and I’m guessing He is a power-walker because He got out there fast. Maybe He just kinda glided…I’m not sure, but I’m going to ask Him one day.
So with this huge storm happening all around them, and Jesus standing out on the lake, Peter says, “If it’s you, tell me to come out on the water” (Matthew 14:28). So Jesus does just that! Imagine it! Getting to walk on water!
The Bible says Peter “walked on water and came towards Jesus” (Matthew 14:29)…Wow…I wonder how that felt! Here he is, in the middle of a huge storm, in a little dingy, and Jesus Himself says, “Come out onto the water with me. It’s safe. I’m here.”
That’s just mind-blowing to me! And it shows me the heart of Christ! He is not afraid! And He tells us to not be afraid! Even when life is crashing and smashing all around us, when we are in the middle of the storm and nothing seems to make sense, Jesus says, “I’m with you.” That is amazing! That is comforting! THAT’S MY JESUS!
Friend, even when we think we’re going to drown because we’re obeying Christ as He calls us out onto the water, He still says, “Come with me into the storm, deeper. I’m here. I won’t let it hurt you. Don’t be afraid.”
So many of us don’t even want to get out of the boat! So many of us Christians want Jesus to hurry up and get into the boat with us, in our safe little spot! But He is saying, “No, walk out on the water with me. I won’t let you sink.”
This is what we gotta do! We can no longer be afraid of what will happen to us when we stand up to the storms in our lives! We can no longer be afraid when the devil uses people to discourage us! All we gotta do is continue to look forward with our eyes fixed on Christ…He is right there…wind, waves…and all.
And He is smiling warmly, gesturing with His hand stretched out, saying, “Come.”
Peter had that focus, briefly. He started to walk on the water but got afraid and began to sink. He cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30)…and, Jesus did. He reached down into the water, lifted him up and said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). Then they climbed into the boat where the storm died down. Baffled, all of the disciples’ eyes were wide open and fixed on Jesus, absolutely astonished at what they had just witnessed!
And there’s Jesus, sitting there. I believe He was grinning from ear to ear. I can almost hear Him saying with eyebrows raised, “See?…” as the disciples stared in awe, worshiping Him, knowing that a fact was now clear. They had actual evidence which would cause them to alter their entire lives: “Truly you are the Son of God” (Matthew 14:33).
A prayer for you: Good morning Lord! Thank you for yet another day on your planet! What an honor it is that you’ve chosen me to be alive today! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. I ask that you help them to understand just how big you are. Help them to understand you created the very notion–the idea–of gravity. It was your thoughts which made the very law of it! Therefore, you are not bound by any law of nature, because you are nature’s Creator! I know this is why, and how, Jesus walked on water, as you’ve revealed this to me through your Spirit. You created the very laws of nature which are necessary for this planet to float and spin–and for it to be at just the right distance from the sun to give us light and warmth! Help these dear readers to not doubt your greatness! Help them to realize you created all of this, for us–so that we could have a place to live out our lives. But even more, you created our lives so that we could join you in a loving relationship forever, starting now. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 1. Get your copy here!