Finding Compassion in Matthew 14
Jesus goes to a deserted place by himself. Twice in this chapter, Jesus pulls away from the crowd to spend time alone with God. This tells me that it’s important for me to do the same. If Jesus, the Son of God, needed time away from the cares of the world, how much more do I, a mere mortal?
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Chapter 14 – O Ye of Little Faith!
Matthew 14 – Observations
Herod heard the stories about Jesus and fears that John the Baptist had been raised from the dead.
- Jesus goes to a deserted place by himself. Twice in this chapter, Jesus pulls away from the crowd to spend time alone with God. This tells me that it’s important for me to do the same. If Jesus, the Son of God, needed time away from the cares of the world, how much more do I, a mere mortal?
- Jesus provides bread from heaven and feeds more than 5000 people!
- He walks on the sea and encouraged Peter to do the same.
The story of Peter walking on water is one of the passages that everybody knows. We may not remember exactly where it’s from, but we do know the key points of the story. Now traditionally everyone blames Peter because he doubted.
“He didn’t have enough faith.” We mumble. “He should have just kept his eyes on Jesus and he would have been fine.”
Easy words to say… let’s put the story into perspective:
Peter had been a fisherman for years. We don’t know how long, but we do know that he was old enough to be married and therefore needed to sustain his family. According to Matthew’s account, the ship was in the middle of the sea being tossed by the waves because the wind was contrary.
He was a fisherman! He knew that water wasn’t solid. He knew there were no hidden stepping stones out in the middle of the sea. Yet he chose to step out of the boat.
He was the only disciple who dared to try something extraordinary.
All the others were quite content to sit in the boat and watch him either sink or swim. That was his witness: not that his faith failed, but that he had dared to do something he knew was impossible. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and did something you knew you couldn’t do?
I did a mock exam for a Certified Payroll Professional course. I’ll be honest and tell you that I didn’t read all of the material because I had told myself that I couldn’t do it. It’s a lot of material to cover and I really don’t have the capacity to cover it.
Yet, I came so close to passing – 7 questions shy (and then realized that there were at least 5 other questions I could have gotten right but I misunderstood what was being asked) why am I telling you all this?
Because – doing the test really took me out of my comfort zone. I attempted something I thought was absolutely impossible. Yet with the grace of God, I proved something to myself. I may have failed the exam but I learned a valuable lesson that success is possible only if I don’t give up.
Peter experienced that same thing. When he stood up in the boat in the middle of the storm at nighttime no less, he could have said, “Okay Jesus, I’ve changed my mind” because that boat would have been rocking something fierce.
When he put his foot out of the boat, he could have pulled back. At any time, he could have sat back in the boat, but he didn’t. He chose to press forward and he really did walk on water! He didn’t make it all the way, but he did try.
There’s another awesome thing about this story. Peter wasn’t ashamed to call out for help and the minute he did – Jesus was right there to save him. Our compassionate Savior reached out His hand and pulled him up and the two went back to the boat. Jesus is still in the life-saving business. The minute you realize you’re in a sticky situation, just call out to Him and He will be there to rescue you.
Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the power to walk on water. Thank You for saving us when our faith fails. Help us to be totally dependent on You in the midst of our stepping-out-of-boat moments. In Jesus’ name. Amen.