Faith over Fear: Matthew 14:22-36

Focus Passage: Matthew 14:22-36 (GW)

22 Jesus quickly made his disciples get into a boat and cross to the other side ahead of him while he sent the people away. 23 After sending the people away, he went up a mountain to pray by himself. When evening came, he was there alone.

24 The boat, now hundreds of yards from shore, was being thrown around by the waves because it was going against the wind.

25 Between three and six o’clock in the morning, he came to them. He was walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified. They said, “It’s a ghost!” and began to scream because they were afraid.

27 Immediately, Jesus said, “Calm down! It’s me. Don’t be afraid!”

28 Peter answered, “Lord, if it is you, order me to come to you on the water.”

29 Jesus said, “Come!” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he noticed how strong the wind was, he became afraid and started to sink. He shouted, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately, Jesus reached out, caught hold of him, and said, “You have so little faith! Why did you doubt?”

32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped blowing. 33 The men in the boat bowed down in front of Jesus and said, “You are truly the Son of God.”

34 They crossed the sea and landed at Gennesaret. 35 The men there recognized Jesus and sent messengers all around the countryside. The people brought him everyone who was sick. 36 They begged him to let them touch just the edge of his clothes. Everyone who touched his clothes was made well.

Read Matthew 14:22-36 in context and/or in other translations on!

The event in this passage that we most often pay close attention to is the main storyline where Peter steps out of the boat and walks to Jesus.

However, while this event in itself is amazing, we often read ahead too quickly and let the significance of Peter’s faith be overshadowed by his fear.

Jesus has spent the night alone on the mountain praying, and in the early hours of the morning, He decides to walk out to them on the lake. When the disciples see a figure walking towards them on the water, it freaks them out, but Jesus tries to calm their fear by saying who He is.

Peter then responds, “Lord, if it is you, order me to come to you on the water.” (v. 28)

Perhaps Peter is trying to call a bluff, or maybe he wants to see if this ghost would actually respond to a question. Jesus responds to Peter in verse 29 by saying “Come!”, and this leaves Peter no choice but to expose his lack of faith and break his word, or get out of the boat.

We are really quick to focus on Peter’s failure and on the time when he begins sinking that we forget to notice the simple fact that only one of the disciples had the faith to even step out of the boat in the first place. Peter’s faith and Jesus’ invitation prompt Peter to make one of the biggest steps of faith possible: Step out of the boat during a storm because Jesus asked you to.

Granted, Peter sets up the request, so technically, Peter is partially responsible for Peter being challenged to step out of the boat.

With all this said, faith trumped fear in Peter’s life that prompted Him to step out of the boat. It takes an extraordinary level of faith – a level that only God can give – to step out of the boat during a storm when Jesus calls you to come to Him.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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