Today, we focus on the text of Jesus walking on water and take our devotion from the Bible study Fusion: Water.
Read the propers for today on lutherancalendar.org.
When Jesus walked on the sea toward the disciples, He demonstrated several amazing things about Himself. First, that He is Lord over the wind, the waves, and all creation. Second, that He gives us the faith to trust in Him. And third, most wondrous of all: that He immediately rescues us when we falter and sin.
At times in the Scriptures when something extraordinary or miraculous occurs, the significance is not grasped for a long time. Such was the case also when Jesus walked on water. When the disciples saw him, they did not exclaim, “Look, there is Jesus, showing us that He is the God of Israel by walking on water!” Hardly! Rather, they were terrified and cried out, “It is a ghost!” (Matthew 14:26). Jesus, however, calmed their fears, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid” (14:27).
Peter began to grasp the significance of Jesus’ actions. He said, “‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ [Jesus] said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus” (Matthew 14:28–29). Jesus drew Peter to Himself on the water. He granted this disciple faith to leave the boat, to tread the waves, and to come to Him. Now this is a miracle, indeed!
Ponder how truly miraculous the gift of faith is, even when that faith is small (Matthew 14:31). Atop that stormy sea Peter was safe, for the Lord was with him. In the midst of these tumultuous waters, Peter was given faith—no matter how big or little it was—to cling to the Holy One of Israel, his Savior.
It is not really that different in the church today. God still works faith in the hearts of His people in the midst of water. By His Word spoken over the water of Baptism, Jesus draws people to Himself. Through His Word Jesus grants faith to the youngest of infants and the oldest of adults. Each of us is “Peter” in the font.
Of course, the story continues. It records the feebleness of Peter’s faith. The tendency here is simply to concentrate on the “little faith” of Peter. But to do so is a mistake. Rather than focusing on the smallness of faith, we ought to focus on the largeness of our Lord’s compassion. Note, in particular, that word that is easily overlooked: immediately (Matthew 14:31). Our loving Lord did not let Peter flail about in the water, giving him a tongue-lashing for having such a miniscule faith. Instantly, Jesus came to His rescue. To be sure, He lamented Peter’s doubt, but Peter’s doubt did not affect our Lord’s care and compassion.
What great comfort this is to us! Not one of us has perfect faith. But no matter how strong or weak, how big or little our faith may be, we have our whole Lord. When we, like Peter, are sinking in our own doubts and fears, there is the hand of Jesus, reaching out to save us.
Devotional reading is adapted from Fusion: Water, pages 82–83 © 2004 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.