Jesus told the twelve, in Matt 14:22-31, to get into the boat and meet him on the other side of the lake. Then he agitated the lake so the twelve battled against swirling nature. Why did Jesus deliberately set them up in these frightening circumstances?
When Jesus walked on the waves toward them, he said, “Don’t be afraid. It is I.” (Literal translation, “It is I AM!”) They were probably thinking, Give us one reason not to be frightened out of our drenched tunics. And He did, “Because Jehovah is with you.”
Peter responded, “Since it’s you, let me come to you.” He climbed out of the boat and immediately walked on the waves. Although the disciples knew the Old Testament Scriptures, they probably were a little too scared to recall Job 9:8b, “God walks on the heights of the sea.”
Jesus also walked on the peaks of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus identified himself with God and thus they were one. Why did Jesus set them up? To confirm his Deity to those clinging-for-their-lives disciples.
Because Peter let the waves fill his eyes instead of Jesus, he sank! But Jesus was saying to his still-in-training disciples “Keep looking to me to overcome life’s obstacles so you won’t, like Peter, sink!”
The night school lesson is not about Jesus and Peter walking on the water, nor about the lake settling down to normal, but about those storm-soaked, fear-filled, wind-whipped disciples worshiping the God who just climbed into their barely floating vessel and solicited from them, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
*Brian Jekel’s painting, Walking on Water, used by permission from DaySpring Cards.