Jan. 22, 2018

The most powerful prayer; Immediately Jesus...

Matthew 14:13-36 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 14 When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.

15 When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” 17 They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” 18 And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” 19 Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, 20 and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. 21 There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.

22 Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”

34 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick; 36 and they implored Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured.


Throughout the years much has been written and many sermons have been preached, based on these 23 verses of scripture. There is of course the miraculous feeding of ten thousand or more people, there were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children, from five loaves and two fish. God cares about and provides all we need. The portions weren’t rationed. These people we given as much as they wanted. In fact, they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. God’s provision exceeds our need. Philippians 4:19 says:  God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.   There is no lack in God’s supply. There is abundance. Jesus, of course, could have provided the meal on His own. God rained down manna, in the wilderness, for the nation of Israel for forty years. Jesus though chose to work with and through the disciples. He supplied the provision for the thousands from the little that the disciples had. God doesn’t need us to do things for Him, but He has chosen to allow us to work with Him. He wants us to give what we have so that He can multiply it for His purpose and His glory. In John 12:24 Jesus says:  "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”  Romans 12:1 says: I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.   If we will give ourselves, the little we have to offer, to God, which is more than reasonable when you consider all that He has given us, the fruit of our lives will become immeasurable. Just as the ripples caused by throwing a stone in water go out and increase, so too, every act of kindness, love, grace and service to God goes out and touches others who also become changed.

Then of course, in today’s text there is the miracle of Jesus walking on water. It is pointless for us to attempt to convince an unbeliever of the truth of these miracles which are recorded for us. Scripture tells us that the world sees God’s wisdom and truth as foolishness. These accounts are meant to encourage us and to increase our faith. If we then, who believe, will respond in faith to Jesus call and commission on our lives from Mark 16:15-18, where He says:  “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.  He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”    The world will not need to rely on the recorded miracles of Jesus and the early church. Jesus will work with us and through us to reveal the signs of the kingdom of heaven on earth. In John 14:12-14 Jesus says:  “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.  Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” 

Indeed in today’s text, Peter did also walk on water, like Jesus did. So, we have all of the teachings based on both the faith it required to step out of the boat; and Peter’s loss of focus, seeing the circumstances around him, the wind and the waves, rather than remaining focused on Jesus. For us, it is not a matter of how much faith we have. Like Peter, it is about the object of our faith. Jesus says: “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20)    It is not the greatness of our faith that matters. It is the greatness of the One our faith is in. He says: “I will do it.”

All of this and much more is found in these few verses to encourage us and to be an example for us. But of all that we can see, read and come to understand from today’s text, perhaps nothing is more important than verses 30-31But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him.   Those three words, which Peter cried out, are perhaps the most important and powerful prayer ever uttered or recorded. God, speaking through the prophet Joel in Joel 2:32 says: "And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered.” Romans 10:9-13 says:  If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Whether we are in a desperate time of peril as Peter was or we have come to recognize the desperate peril of our spiritual condition, it is neither complicated nor difficult, we need not make a lengthy plea nor try to justify ourselves in God’s sight. God doesn’t need us to butter Him up telling Him how good He is or how sorry we are. The simple, powerful prayer of Peter, “Lord save me!” will have the same result for all who cry out believing.  Immediately Jesus will stretch out His hand and take hold and they shall be saved.

Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit for all of the wisdom and encouragement found in Your word. Thank You most of all that when I cried out, Lord save me, You were faithful. I do give my life to You. It is the only reasonable thing to do. May it truly bear much fruit for Your kingdom and Your glory.  Amen.