There they were in the boat being buffeted by the wind and waves when they see someone or something coming toward them. Matthew 14:26 tells us, “they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear (NASB).” Jesus immediately tells them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid (14:27).”
Keep in mind that the disciples just thought they saw a ghost walking on the water. They’re scared and on edge as the wind and waves continue to buffet them. I think Peter has the right response. He shouts out, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water (14:28).” It is a question we should ask in the middle of the storms in our life: “Lord if it is you, ask me to follow you, to follow your lead.”
Too often when we are in the middle of a storm, a scary time in our life, our judgement can be confused. Unlike periods of calm where it’s easier to see what’s ahead, waves crashing around us and darkness can confuse us. The evil one take advantage of this fear, causing us to see things differently. He can cast doubts in our mind: “Is that really Jesus or is it a ghost?” It’s a tactic that’s been around since Eden: “The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die (Genesis 3:4).”
Doubt is something the evil one uses on us to dilute our faith. Isn’t it interesting that 1 Peter 5:8 tells us, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” I like to think that verse had its origins in that moment when the disciples thought Jesus was a ghost on the water. Peter is of sober spirit; he is alert; he asks the right question: “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water (Matthew 14:28).” He wants to make sure it is Jesus.
In the midst of your fears, when your judgement is cloudy and you’re not sure it’s Jesus you see, ask him to confirm it is really him. When you hear His voice calling you to step out of the boat, go to him despite the waves that buffet you. Even when doubts try to sink you, cry out to Jesus, “Lord, save me (14:30)” Feel his firm grip, the familiar grip of Jesus on your life, as he says to you, “You of little faith, why did you doubt (14:31)?” When Jesus calms the storm in your life with His peace as he joins you in the boat, exclaim, “You are certainly God’s Son (14:33)!”
© 2020 CGThelen