Feb 262016

walk-on-water“Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea.


But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear.

But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

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.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.””
(Matthew 14:22–33 ESV)

Like most well known Bible stories, this one has lost it’s bite for the retelling.

In the spirit of “making my own application” I’ve had to revisit it and see if I can get it’s teeth back.

“Walking on the water” is simply a metaphor for “stepping out in faith” which is Christianeze for “taking a chance in which the odds are against you, but God will hopefully save your backside”.

As I feel like I may need to do this, it’s best that I replicate the conditions under which it was successfully done once.

The first condition is a storm.

A “storm” is a metaphor for a really difficult situation.

Water walking does not happen on placid waters in lovely weather.


Got it.

Multiple choice storms if need be.

The second condition is trying to get out of the storm on your own for an extended period of time and failing.


Practice makes perfect.

The third condition is having tried and failed to get out of the storm on your own for an extended period of time you are now utterly exhausted and think your boat is going to capsize and you’re going to drown. “Drowning” is a metaphor for “drowning”.


Once again, practice makes perfect.

This is where things get tricky.

This is the point where Jesus shows up to save the day, but we don’t recognize Him…because His presence is in the problem.

He arrives on the storm and in the storm and sometimes He looks like another problem.

This is where you must carefully listen for the voice you recognize as His.

Once you do, once you have His word, He bids you to act.

He calls you to act personally personally…water walking is not a team sport.

There are many people observing however.

You will still be scared.

You will still be exhausted.

You will be unsure it’s really Him you heard.

Act anyway.

When you sink, you won’t drown.

He will catch you.

He will calm the storm.

I have to go get my feet wet.

Make your own application…


  27 Responses to “TGIF”

  1. Michael, I think this one of the 2 or 3 best you’ve ever written. Thank you.

  2. Fyi,

    Thanks…hope it encourages some folks.

  3. Michael, I need to do some water walking myself. Great post!

  4. Thanks, Andrew. 🙂

  5. Well, it sure encourages me. I’ve kept my feet on dry land (figuratively and literally) for so long that I’ve forgotten why I once called myself Captain. But it’s time for me to make a trip to the sea, and allow Admiral Jesus to pour Himself back into my dry and withered soul…back into the dreams that I’ve given up for one reason or another.

  6. CK,

    You’ll get your sealegs back in no time…

  7. Sometimes there is no way forward but to walk on water.

  8. Judy…amen.

    I’d prefer other options… 🙂

  9. Great word! Impeccable timing. Thank you.

  10. “It is I….Do not be afraid.” So much comfort in those words.

  11. Covered…I’m glad it helped. 🙂

  12. walking on water in a storm? the problem i have with that picture is that i can’t picture our Lord looking like He’s negotiating a big skateboard park… in my twisted mind, i always pictured Him simply completely overcoming the slosh and whoop-de-doos and, well … walking … Peter was quite a guy – wish i could focus on that still point in the storm with half the focus of that Apostle… but then he lost his focus, too, didn’t he? i am so glad that our Lord rescues – focus, Em, focus, focus…

  13. I love Jesus’ response to the drowning Peter. “Why did you doubt?” You didn’t have to doubt because I was there all along and I was going to rescue you because you are my servant and my beloved.

  14. Isn’t there a degree to which this is less a picture of Jesus rescuing them out of a storm, and more Peter being so attracted to the person of Jesus that he manages to forget about the danger around him for a moment and just wants to do what Jesus is doing?

  15. dswoager,

    Could be…

  16. hmm – I would need to look at my notes but I taught this a couple of months ago in view of Matthew showing that Jesus has made for himself a New Israel – the old Israel having continually rejected him.

    So, we see in the OT that the sea is usually a representation of bad things for Israel – and who lives in the sea? Leviathan — and he is not a good creature.

    Jesus walking on the sea is Jesus basically walking on evil – stomping around on evil if you will. Jesus inviting Peter out to the water is to show that the old is gone, the old has no power and that New Israel can walk all over those things that caused Old Israel fault and destruction.

    Like I said – I need to check my notes, as I am sure I developed the issue of the “sea” more.

  17. Amazing how things work out so perfectly when that first step of faith into the scary unknown happens. Once the step is taken the rest is easy.

  18. MLD,

    I would be interested in what more you have on the “sea.” I would agree that the sea often symbolizes disorder or chaos. We see in Genesis 1 that God orders creation from a formless earth covered by darkness and waters (i.e., complete disorder).

    Then in Revelation:

    “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” (i.e., complete order) I don’t know if that means no seafood at the heavenly banquet or just symbolic for no more disorder and chaos. 🙂

  19. Jean,
    Since I usually don’t take anything in Revelation after 1:9 literally I would go with the complete order symbolism.

    Lobster is still on the menu 🙂

  20. I think that I look at this message in the Bible with a slightly different perspective due to being a layperson. There is something here that I have read but have never heard addressed before. In fact, I have never noticed it myself until today.

    I refer to Peter’s request first, for the Lord to “Command” him to come on the water and of course the Lord’s answer was, “Come”. This (to me) is symbolic to a prayer request followed by an answer.

    Peter indicates at least two levels of “Faith” here:

    1-) The level of depending on God to be the one to hear his request.

    2-) The level of him trusting in God’s answer to be what he should do.

    Prior to today I have always thought of Peter stepping out of the boat to be his first act of Faith, when actually it was his first act of being obedient to the answer of his request.

    Peter’s focus changes from there to the surrounding tangible obstacles that he ignored as being a part of his request. In other words, Peter was primarily focused on what the Lord could make possible for him to do without having the Faith of the Lord to include that among all other aspects of the Lord’s will.

    As Peter became aware of the fact that his request was only a small part of the overall picture, that made him begin to realize the insignificant value of his self desiring request.

    In my opinion, it is important to consider that perhaps what Jesus was referring to as being Peter’s “little Faith” was his Faith being focused on his self concerned issue, minus having Faith that the Lord includes all of His will to be manifested at the same time.

  21. hmmm, is the “little faith” quantitative, qualitative or both? … not trying to sound intellectual …
    seems to me, Peter’s first response showed a very strong amount of Faith, but that faith/focus dimmed as he looked at the mess of waves surrounding him … did the others have less faith than Peter or were they just less impulsive, perhaps? … dunno
    as i read folks’ thots here there is much to think on … MLD would not have gotten out of the boat in the first place, Michael would have jumped out with Peter and some of us would be leaning over the side to grab both our Lord and Peter and then, maybe, we’d begin to doubt that it really happened and say… “ahem, … Lord? … do that again…” no two disciples are exactly alike

  22. I have always loved reading and hearing about the supernatural doings and deeds of Jesus. For me they stand on their own. No other holy book on the planet has anything like them. I can appreciate the applications and interpretations both theologians and lay people make of them, but at day’s end on my journey, they tell me first and foremost that Jesus in his very person is the Almighty God who chose to become one of us.

  23. ANOTHER great read, Michael, thank you.

    “Jesus shows up to save the day, but we don’t recognize Him…because His presence is in the problem. He arrives on the storm and in the storm and sometimes He looks like another problem. This is where you must carefully listen for the voice you recognize as His”

    THAT is great stuff, Michael, thank you. BLESSINGS!

  24. Thanks, Mike Q…blessings to you as well. 🙂

  25. This is beautiful and helpful. Thank you.

    I have been reading Tozer’s Pursuit of God (a free ebook). In Chapter 7, The Gaze of the Soul,” he makes a surprising but compelling argument that faith=looking. Peter’s experience on the water reinforces this idea. “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”

  26. Thank you for this post. A few months ago, while I was reading Job, I was asked to teach this story in our church’s children’s class. It was the first time I had realized the connection of Job 9 (specifically vs 8) to this story. It was wonderful to find that Jesus was doing even more -fulfilling Job’s vision- in this miracle. But it wasn’t until reading this post that I connected HoW even Job didn’t recognize God in the midst if his storm (vs 11) and how Job’s trials and the storm on the sea were connected. Thanks again!

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