This evening at Wednesday night service, our congregation (Grace Covenant Church) had the privilege of receiving the Word from Pastor Stephen Mansfield. He preached on Matthew 14:22-33, otherwise known as the story where Jesus walks on water. Dr. Mansfield told the story from a perspective that I bet not many of us have heard before.

In this passage, the disciples are alone at sea after having witnessed Jesus feed 5000 people will 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. They are traveling across the Sea of Galilee. Jesus told them He’d meet them at the other side. They didn’t expect Him to walk over though!

Before the sun came up the next morning, Jesus approached His disciples by walking toward them on the water. They thought He was a ghost and were terrified. Peter, being the bold man that he was, told Jesus to call to him, that he might walk on the water with Him. Jesus did so and Peter started walking, then sunk into the water as the wind made him lose his focus.

Dr. Mansfield made 3 points that really stuck out to me:

  1. Peter was a fisherman, so he was very familiar with the sea’s currents.
Basically, Peter was no rookie to the waves and wind. It wasn’t the wind that threw him off. There was a deeper issue going on in his heart. You see, Peter knew that the wind signified the fact that a storm could be on its way. Instead of keeping his eyes on Jesus, Peter had fear and anxiety about a previous time that he was stuck at sea. He should have known that no harm was going to come his way since the Lord of the universe was standing just a few feet in front of him. THIS situation wasn’t THAT which might have happend to him before. He was distracted by his past and it made him stumble and not walk in the victory that the Lord wanted him to have.
2. Jesus answered them as “I AM.”
When the disciples thought Jesus was a ghost, they cried out in fear. Jesus calmed them by telling them who He was. In the NIV, the phrase He used is “It is I.” However, Dr. Mansfield explained to us that in the original Greek text, Jesus said, “I am.” I AM is the name of the Lord. It is the name that God told Moses at the burning bush. It encompasses His power and glory. By telling them His name, Jesus gave Peter all he needed to successfully walk across the water with Him. It is the revelation of Jesus as the Son of God that caused the disciples to do nothing but worship Him when they finally got back into the boat.
3. Jesus allowed Peter to remain in the situation for a while longer before they climbed back in the boat.
Jesus didn’t immediately lead Peter back after He picked him up from sinking down into the water, I learned. Instead, He dealt with the fear and anxiety that were in Peter’s heart. He talked to him for a bit and allowed Peter to build his confidence back up. The word here is that Jesus doesn’t take us out of our rough patches until He’s accomplished what He started in us. It wasn’t until Peter got back in the boat that the wind died down. This is because all of the issues in Peter’s heart (at that moment) were finally settled. His soul was finally calm.

Dr. Mansfield kept emphasizing that he wanted the word to have practical application to our lives. For me, I am in a place where I’m trusting God for sufficient financial provision. He has blessed me with a job and I’m continuing my freelance writing on the side, but I have fear that it’s still not enough. Instead of keeping my eyes glued on Him, I am getting distracted by new opportunities that come my way that look appealing. I need to believe in my spirit that He is more than enough for me and He won’t let me sink.

I hope this blesses someone. Thanks for reading!