Monday, March 28, 2011

Matthew 14:22-33


The question to ask when reading this passage is: who is this Jesus?

Jesus has been up on the mountain alone while the disciples have been out on the boat for the night. In the morning Jesus simply walks out on to the water to meet them. That would definitely be a frightening early morning sight!

But Jesus tells the disciples not to be afraid.

Then there is Peter. Good old Peter. We give Peter a hard time sometimes don’t we? But in fact Peter recognizes something important here. He asks Jesus to call him out on to the water and by doing this he recognizes that Jesus is the only one who can make this happen: he puts his faith in Jesus. Obviously it wasn’t enough because a step or two in and he becomes afraid and sinks like a rock (everyone loves puns right?). Anyway, even when Peter starts to sink Jesus does something that he is very good at: he rescues Peter.

It’s interesting that Jesus tells the disciples not to be afraid. It’s interesting that it is fear that comes before Peter sinks. Isn’t it easy to let our fears govern the way we live?

“Fear cannot dominate our lives if we have a good work to do. ‘Good work to do’ is but another name for worship.”

-Stanley Hauerwas, SCM Theological Commentary on the Bible: Matthew (London: SCM, 2006), 141

That’s a great thought.

That is why it is important to come back to the question: who is this Jesus? As the disciples confess at the end of this passage: Truly he is the Son of God.

So to him we are called to be faithful. We need not be afraid; it is risky but when we find ourselves in over our head like Peter we can say “Lord save me!” This is a prayer Jesus is more than willing to answer.

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