Matthew 14:22-33

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray.

When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea.

But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33

For better or worse, for whatever reason, I don’t live with the idea that I have to “prove” Jesus to the world. There was a time when I felt a responsibility to engage in arguments with those who don’t share my faith. A time when I sought to convince people about Jesus. A time when

I felt pressure to “Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3)

Over the years, I have come to a look at all of that from a different perspective. We are not called to “prove” Jesus, we are called to follow Jesus. That is a much healthier, holier, and even more productive, way of being.

If we come at life seeking to “prove” Jesus then our focus will be on the weight of our arguments, our logic, our persuasiveness. We turn the faith into a head game. Our goal would be to convince others to see things differently, to believe things differently, and maybe, in the end, to act differently. The measure of our faithfulness would be the number of people we were able to influence to join the team. We turn the faith into a contest.

When we realize that we don’t need to “prove” Jesus, only to follow him, then the focus shifts from a head game to a way of life. A way of being in the world. A way of thinking about life that changes how we act toward others, how we perceive problems and imagine, and work toward, solutions. We then let God be God as we focus on doing our part as active participants in a community of faith and the new world God is creating in our midst.

As long as Peter thinks it is up to him, he sinks. When he keeps his eyes on Jesus, he walks on water too. As long as the disciples focus on the wind, the waves, and the challenges before them, they are stuck in fear. When they let go and let God, Jesus calms the seas.

This reminds me of a great golf tip I once heard. The teacher said that the goal of golf is not to hit the golf ball, the goal is to get the ball into a cup. So he invited me to set up for a swing and then to think about, to visualize, where I wanted the ball to go. Then, in my swing, rather than focusing on the ball, forcing it to go where I thought it ought to go, I should swing freely, imagining where I wanted the ball to land, and then getting out of the way so it could happen. Imagine my surprise when it actually worked.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, help us keep our eyes on you. In the midst of the chaos and uncertainty, the challenges and the obstacles of our lives, keep our eyes fixed on your presence, your power, your purpose. And when we falter, and when we sink, reach down and take us by the hand. Draw us ever nearer to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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2 Responses to “Matthew 14:22-33”

  1. John L Hank Says:

    Right on!

  2. Sharon Boyd Says:

    Thank you again. God bless you.

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