“And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.”
In this passage in Matthew, we see something that is very significant. Jesus had preached and, as usual, had attracted a large crowd. Five thousand men, besides women and children, had gathered to hear Him, and He not only taught them, but He also fed them all, possibly as many as ten thousand people through a miracle of provision. After He had fed them, He sent them away, and instructed His disciples to get into a boat and go out onto the Sea of Galilee while He Himself went to be alone to pray. While Christ was in prayer, the wind became boisterous, and the waters of the sea became severely troubled. But in the fourth watch of the night, He went out to the boat, walking on the water! When the disciples, who were, I’m sure, already very concerned about the weather, saw Him, they were frightened, and thought they were looking at an apparition! Knowing this, Jesus said “Be of good cheer,. it is I; be not afraid!” Peter, always the first to speak up, good or bad, said “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water!”. So Jesus instructed Peter to come on out to Him. Peter, following Christ’s instruction, proceeded to go out to Jesus, and he too was walking on the water! But when Peter realized what was going on, and saw that the wind and the waves were tempestuous, he was afraid, and began to sink down into the water. Peter immediately cried out to the Master, and Jesus stretched out His hand to catch him. And as Jesus caught him, He said “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? ” Jesus then took him, and they got into the boat, and when they did, the storm immediately ceased, they were immediately to the other side of the sea. And they all worshipped Jesus, saying “Of a truth thou art the Son of God “ It is to our loss as believers, that so oftentimes we forget the simplest teachings of the Scriptures. Peter was able to walk on the water by faith, until he took his eyes off Jesus, looking at the storm’s tempest instead. What a truth! So often we take our eyes off the Lord, because of troublesome co-workers, marital difficulties, rude people, unfair situations, life’s problems, et cetera. The lesson is simple—keep your eyes on the Lord and you won’t go under! When we find our self in these situations-frustrated, discouraged, and angry because of people—we need to focus our eyes once again upon the Word of God, i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ. It is quite easy to lose sight of one’s Christian beliefs, when overshadowed with adversity and grief. It can be overwhelming at times. People can be so cruel. In 2nd Timothy 3:1 KJV ” This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” This verse warned us that “perilous times” would come, when people would be… lovers of their own selves. The majority of Americans today have become selfish, self-conscious, and self-centered. Sadly, America’s Christians aren’t much better. The Biblical account of Peter walking on the water to Jesus, is one of the first lessons which Sunday School children should learn, and a lesson which every adult Christian should never lose sight of. When we focus our thoughts upon the divine Truths of God’s Word, we are able to withstand the attacks of Satan. The Bible says, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13 KJV You see, our Lord has gone up. And we are left here below to face the storm. Yet, we do not have to face the storms of life alone; He is ever with us. It says in the Bible, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25 KJV As long as we hear His Voice, and obey His Word, we will be on top of the troubled water, or, on top of the storm – the situation that troubles us – we will be on top of LIFE. But when we take our eyes off Him, and begin to go our own way, and focus on other things, we will begin to sink down into that which we are focused on. When Peter followed the Master’s instruction, He was on top of the water, as troubled as it was. But when Peter took His eyes off Jesus, and began to look at the troubled water all around him, he began to sink down into that water. What He was FOCUSED on began to CONSUME him! And it’s the same with you and me. You see, just as Peter sank into the troubled waters, we too will sink if we focus on the trouble that is all around us! Now, I know, there are many things out there to trouble the waters. There will be storms in life. But do not focus on the storm! Because what you are focused on will consume you! That is why we must keep our eyes on Jesus! Because as we are focused on Him, we will not be consumed by the storm, but will be consumed with our Lord and Master Jesus Christ and His precious Holy Spirit as He becomes more and more the centre of our lives! And when we are focused on and consumed with the central figure of all the ages, we will NEVER be shaken! The Bible says, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” Psalms 118:8 KJV We are indeed in a very troublesome time in the history of our people. Wickedness abounds, and the righteous are pressed down. The turbulent wind and the tempestuous waves are all around us on every side, and the trouble and hopelessness of our situation would seem to be almost insurmountable. Life is full of storms. What are you going to focus on? We must be as determined as Job was when he said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” Job 13:15 KJV No matter what happens, we must remember that God is absolutely SOVEREIGN, and that the rulers of all nations and kingdoms of this world are but pawns in His Hand, to accomplish that which He desires. Don’t focus on the troubled water, and be consumed by it! Live your life according to God’s Word, keep your eyes on Jesus and put your trust in Him, and you’ll be on top of the troubled waters! Because right out there in the middle of all that trouble is the ROCK OF AGES, and He’s a FIRM FOUNDATION! This makes me think of a spiritual principle in the Bible. Instead of concentrating on the sins we want to avoid, we are told to focus on the positive actions Christ desires for us. “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” We are to discard old ways of thinking and acting and “put on” new ways of living. When Christ and His interests are the focus of our lives, the lure of the old life remains in the corner of our eye, while we aim to land squarely in the center of God’s will.
God Bless, Jeff Ellinger