Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
Jesus was compassionate and full of mercy toward the large crowd following Him. They also carefully listened to Jesus’ teaching, which was so delicious to their ears. It was getting late, but they did not leave Jesus. They had not eaten for long time. Jesus, then, called His disciples and told to feed the large crowd. His disciples did not know what to do. In the middle of nowhere, feeding more than 10,000 people (5,000 men only) was impossible, and the disciples also did not have money to buy enough food to feed them. Unexpectedly, one boy approached the disciples, and offered up his own food: five small loaves of bread and two fish. Andres, one of the Jesus’ disciples received the food, and told Jesus, “what good is this small boy’s food with this huge crowd?” Jesus gracefully took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, blessed them, and fed the entire crowd. The leftover alone was twelve basketfuls, which was far bigger than the boy’s food originally offered. Before Jesus, nothing was small, and Jesus saw a humble and sharing heart of the boy. Jesus was really pleased of the boy’s sacrificial offering of giving up his own food, and He multiplied for the large crowd to fully satisfied.
Immediately after feeding the large crowd with His miracle, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. The people were fully satisfied by the food miraculously provided by Jesus. And most of all, their hearts were truly comforted by Jesus’ message and teaching. His teaching was not like other teachers at the time. It had an authority and full of love. All of them were touched by God’s love and peace softly flowing from the mouth of Jesus. They were fully immersed in the love of Jesus and God’s peace while hearing Jesus. Their steps returning home were light and joyful. They experienced Heaven that day. Jesus was a truly good shepherd to the thirty sheep flocked around Jesus.
After feeding the large crowd both spiritually and physically, Jesus went up into the hills alone to pray. By that time, Jesus’ disciples went out the sea of Galilee. Jesus started praying. He continued praying. Stars came out, but He was praying. it was getting darker, and night fell. Jesus was there praying alone, while enjoying the beautiful relationship the Father God. Jesus talked to the God about His disciples, the crowd, those who were healed, and those who soon would be ministered by Him. Especially, Jesus talked to Father God about His main ministry on earth -- completing the salvation plan of God by being crucified on cross to forgive sins for all. This is one wonderful example of Jesus, who prayed alone in a quiet place to God for others with His unconditional love. How many times have we prayed for others with the love of Jesus in a quiet place to God with all our hearts and minds?
Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves Didn’t Jesus know His disciples in trouble? No, not at all. Jesus exactly knew what’s going on with His disciples. Jesus got up, and went down to the hill for His disciples.
About three o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. The strong wind made His disciples difficult to steer the boat. The boat was tossed around by the storm. Yes, they fought against the strong wind. They did everything that they could do. Nothing worked. Even the water was getting into the boat. The ship was slowly sinking. Many of the disciples were the extremely experienced fishermen who were grown up in the region of the sea of Galilee. They were experts who knew how to deal with storms, because they had been in storms many times. For them, storms in the sea of Galilee were a part of their lives, but that night was different. They did everything to get out of the storm, but they couldn’t. The strong wind and waves hit the boat hard. They were purely under mercy of the storm. It was a fearful night. Such fear had never occurred in their hearts before because they were experienced fishermen. They truly struggled in the middle of the stormy water. Those who were not fishermen were more fearful as they saw the big waves approaching toward their boat. They hold tight the boat with all the strength that they had. Some gave up their hopes. Their fearful hearts were tossed around like the boat in the storm. A great fear fell on everyone in the boat including the experienced fishermen.
Jesus who was full of mercy knew their hearts, and waked up toward the boat. Suddenly, they saw something on the water, which was approaching toward them. Unlike the stormy water, it was calmly moving toward to them in the storm. It was a very strange scene. Thus, all of the disciples were carefully looking out. As Jesus was getting closer, they were able to see the shape, which looked like a man walking toward them. They knew nobody could walk calmly on the stormy water. Then one of the disciples in fear cried out, “It’s a ghost!”
Immediately, Jesus calmly spoke to them at once.
“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27b)
Then they quickly realized that it was not a ghost, but Jesus, who waked on the stormy water. It made the troubled disciples calmed down, and they were relieved from the fear. They fought through the night, and they found their master and teacher, Jesus Christ, in the middle of the storm. What a comfort it was!
Peter, one of the twelve disciples, saw Jesus, who was always in action first.
Peter called to Him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” (Matthew 12:28)
Peter did not exactly know what he was talking, but his heart wanted like Jesus, who was calm in the storm, and walking on the stormy water. Without thinking, he boldly asked Jesus for him to walk on the water also like Jesus. Jesus, who was always full of compassion, did not rejected, and granted Peter’s request.
“Yes, come,” Jesus said. (Matthew 12:29)
As soon as Peter heard Jesus’ answer, he immediately jumped off from the boat. His feet hit the water first. It felt like a solid ground. His feet were not sinking. Then he stood up on the water. Peter himself was greatly surprised too. He stood on the stormy water. The rest of the disciples were eye witnessing the miracle --- Peter who was calmly standing on the stormy water. All of them dropped jaw, and they could not close their mouths. Then Peter started walking. Peter’s eyes were fixated on Jesus. Yes, he was walking on the stormy water like Jesus as if he was walking on a solid ground. Initially, Peter himself could not believe what he was doing, but soon he realized that he was actually walking on the water. A joy filled Peter’s heart, which displaced the dreadful fear of the storm, which he had been continuously fighting since he was separated from Jesus, who went up to the hill for prayer.
Peter was walking toward Jesus on the stormy water calmly like Jesus. What he could see was only Jesus, who dearly loved Peter. Suddenly, there was a big wave approaching to Peter. Peter did not notice, but looked at the big wave approaching. He was terrified. His eyes were off from Jesus. Immediately, Peter found himself sinking into the stormy water.
“Save me, Lord!” he shouted. (Matthew 14:30b)
Peter was sinking rapidly. Peter was quickly submerged into the deep water. The rest of the disciples were also terrified as Peter was sinking and struggling.
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” (Matthew 14:31)
Jesus stretched His hand and grabbed Peter sinking into the deep water. Jesus pulled out Peter. Then Jesus lovingly told Peter not to doubt.
Peter had no reason to look at the wave approaching, which was yet another big wave in Jesus. However, Peter saw it, and his heart was quickly filled up with fear because the wave was much bigger than Peter himself. Fixing our eyes on Jesus is not easy. The world continues pounding on us with worldly worries and concerns, which are bigger than us. Logically speaking, these huge waves certainly drown us. However, it will not happen as long as we are with Jesus because Jesus is bigger than anything on earth -- troubles, worries, sorrows, pains and disasters on earth. We need to continue praying to God, and ask to increase our faith to fix our eyes on Jesus always without being fearful on the huge wave approaching quickly toward us.
When they [Jesus and Peter] climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. (Matthew 14:32)
The big storm immediately stopped as soon as Jesus got into the boat. Before Jesus who was the master of the universe, there was no more storm. The entire sea of Galilee became calm and peaceful like a glassy sea. The struggle throughout the night in the stormy water suddenly was no more. Jesus calmed the storm, and His peace of Heaven came on the disciples.
Even at this moment, some of us are in a life storm of broken relationship, joblessness, painful financial and debt problems, severe sickness and health problems, and being under spiritual attacks. Today Jesus tells us, “Fix on eyes on me, not the storm, and walk toward me.” Jesus, who is the master of the universe, surely pour out His comfort and peace mercifully and abundantly on us. Yes, Jesus knows exactly what we are going through as Jesus did know what His disciples were going through in the storm far off from the land and deep in the sea of Galilee. Even in this moment, Jesus, with His open arms, is waiting for us. Just fix our eyes on Jesus Christ instead of the worries, concerns and problems of this world.
"I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27)