How many were on the ship?
And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. (Matthew 14:22 KJV)
Even if it were just the twelve and no more, it would stand to reason none of them were asleep.
But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. (Matthew 14:24 KJV)
Ivan Aivazovsky’s portrayal of this scene is much calmer than some of his other stormy sea paintings, but his painted waves are attention getters. The scene of Christ walking upon water certainly caught the disciples’ attention and caused them fear.
And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. (Matthew 14:25-26 KJV)
Although this wasn’t one of Jesus parables, it is a beautiful picture of our lives. Fear of so many things accompany us, until He speaks:
But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. (Matthew 14:27 KJV)
Peter, just as most of us, wanted more.
And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. (Matthew 14:28 KJV)
Did you notice that Jesus’ response didn’t name Peter?
And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. (Matthew 14:29 KJV)
That invitation could have been answered by anyone on the ship. Any one of the disciples could have stepped forth and walked toward Jesus, just as any one in a congregation can step forward during an invitation. Only one disciple did. Only one disciple walked on water with Christ. Only one. And, he failed, too.
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. (Matthew 14:30 KJV)
When Peter walked, his eye was on Jesus. As he stepped forward toward Christ, the world caught his attention, he lost his focus. He knew Christ could save him, for it was to Jesus he cried for salvation. Yet, he began to sink. So often, we do, too, and we must hear the same question:
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (Matthew 14:31 KJV)
Peter did not sink, neither did the ship. The disciples were doing what Christ sent them to do, though the storm impeded their work. They were not fleeing, as Jonah. They followed His instructions, trusting they would meet on the other side.
How did they expect Him to join them? Another ship? We cannot know. But walking out to them in a storm would not have been the first idea that came to mind. We cannot imagine how Christ will come to us, either. There is no formula that will bring Him to us, and only faith will keep us standing by His side through any storm.
How did He call you?