“And Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’” (Matthew 14:28-30)
In Job 38 the Lord proclaimed His power over all creation, over all the forces of nature. In the story Matthew tells us of Jesus walking on the water we see this portrayed in a graphic and powerful image. As we have noted earlier in previous readings from Matthew, the Jews of Jesus’ day expected the coming of the Messiah to be accompanied by many signs and wonders. The feeding of the 5 thousand was one sign Jesus performed akin to Moses giving manna to the Israelites in the Wilderness. In addition, Jesus, like Moses, had power over natural forces. Moses parted the waters of the Red Sea so the people could pass through the waters. But Jesus is Lord of the sea. He did not need to part it. Jesus walked on the surface of the water. He showed the apostles, as He shows us, that He is no mere man like Moses. He is greater than Moses. He is no mere political or military leader. He is the Creator and sustainer of all life.
Jesus’ power over the natural forces in the world is certainly a great encouragement to us. If Jesus can control the wind and the waves then we really should realize that He certainly has the power to help us to “walk on water”, to endure with grace the suffering and persecution that assault us. But, like Peter, we doubt Him especially when we look at the circumstances that fill us with distress. We call out to the Lord to save us, yet we are still afraid of the dangers and the pain. The Lord understands what we feel but He wants us to know that nothing will overtake us that He cannot enable us handle. And yet He will forgive our doubts and will always encourage us to carry on. He will never condemn us for our weakness.