The incident in this passage happened after the feeding of the five thousand. It tells us about the fears and doubts of the disciples. Let’s see how Jesus dealt with them.
II. BIBLE READING
Matthew 14:22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt? 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (NIV)
A. Jesus Walking On Water (v. 22-27)
- What did Jesus do after sending the multitudes away? (v. 23) What lessons do we learn from this, and why do you think we ought to do the same?
- How did the disciples react when they saw Jesus walking on water? (v. 26) Why are people afraid of ghosts? How can we overcome such fears?
- Why was Jesus able to walk on water? Some people find it difficult to believe in miracles. They believe that laws of nature cannot be violated, and treat the biblical miracle accounts as “myths”, as events that have spiritual meaning but no factual basis. How do we respond to this kind of thinking?
B. Peter Walking On Water (vv. 28-31)
- What request did Peter make, and what happened afterwards? (vv. 28-31)
- What made it possible for Peter to walk on water? Are miracles still happening today? How? Many of us have experiences wherein God intervened directly in our lives. Share these experiences.
- Imagine yourself to be Peter walking on the water, with the wind and waves splashing around. How would you feel? Why did Peter begin to sink? (v. 30) What lesson can we learn from this? Cite examples.
- What does focusing on Jesus and having faith in Him mean?
- When Peter saw himself sinking, he had the sense to cry out to Jesus, and Jesus immediately stretched out His hand to lift Peter up. Sometimes when we are really down, why is it that some of us refuse to (or take a long time to) cry out to the Lord? Share experiences.
C. Jesus: Son Of God In Control Of Nature (vv. 32, 33)
- From the whole episode, how did Jesus show that He is in control of nature? How does knowing this affect us?
- What was the reaction of the disciples after the miraculous event? (v. 33) What lesson do we learn from this?
- REFLECTION: How big is God in my life? Do I just agree that He can do anything, but deep in my heart I feel there are certain things He cannot do, like changing my character (short temper, laziness, etc.)? How am I experiencing Him in my life?
Jesus is continually discipling us, leading us into a fuller knowledge of Himself. We can “walk on water” if we focus our attention on Him and take Him at His Word, instead of looking at our problems or surroundings. Let us learn to “live by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7)