The Private Night: 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 BibleGateway.com!

In between two of the most well known events in the four gospels, we are often tempted to simply skip over a verse that is incredibly relevant for us today. Perhaps we skip over it because the gospel writers don’t focus more on it, or perhaps it is simply because they chose to use it as a transition-style statement to set the stage for the big event that follows. Maybe we simply see it as a part of the transition rather than being important on its own.

However, because I like to draw our attention onto overlooked verses like this one, we’ll ignore the stories on both side and focus in on what this simple verse means. To give a tiny bit of context, the verse we will focus on follows one of Jesus’ big food multiplying, feeding-the-crowd events, and the miraculous event where Peter walks on the water comes after it.

Between these two events, we read, “Jesus quickly made his disciples get into a boat and cross to the other side ahead of him while he sent the people away. After sending the people away, he went up a mountain to pray by himself. When evening came, he was there alone.” (v. 22-23)

I include two verses there to give a little more context to this whole transition, but the part I want to focus us on is verse 23 where it says that Jesus “went up a mountain to pray by himself. When evening came, he was there alone.

This is important because Jesus valued and prioritized alone time with God. While He may have slept for part of that time, He likely spent the majority of it praying and focusing on God.

This is important because it is often times skipped or ignored because it is not glamorous. But that leads us to the big idea that I see supported in Jesus’ actions: Our public platform is only as solid as our private foundation. Jesus modeled both how to build the private foundation through prayer and how this foundation is the most important key to having a successful public “platform” (i.e. ministry).

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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