Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. - Psalm 119:105

Bible Study Notes

Matthew 14: 22-36

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Jesus Walks on Water

Jesus Walks on Water

General Idea: Here is a picture how our Lord intercedes for us, comes to us, and shows us the way of faith. When we fail, He gives us His hand and places us where we need to be. The way to open this door so He can work is to put our key of trust in the keyhole. He is the keyhole; He is the door. He gives us the key of faith to open His treasures, and secures us through the storm.  

After Jesus is interrupted from His needed rest and goes to minister to over five thousand families, teaching and feeding them, He sends them on to continue their lives and put into practice what they have learned. We are not told what the long term effects were on those people. Did their lives change; did they become Christians after Jesus' resurrection, adding to the Church; or, did they just go back to their lives with a great story to tell, but with no impact, no application, and no real meaning? Jesus then returns to His rest and His much needed solitude with the Father. He sends the disciples across the lake; He will make His way to them later. A storm of such magnitude that it frightened even sea-hardened fisherman, comes up abruptly. Jesus goes to the rescue of the disciples, cutting though the storm, and literally walking on water to them. The disciples are astonished, seeming to have forgotten the impossible nature of their Teacher; even after a magnificent miracle. They once again leave out faith and trust and only see their situation. Then they realize, for a time, that this is Someone to be feared and worshiped.  

1.   Sent the multitudes away. As the Teacher, He controlled the audience. Teachers had more respect and influence then. He was not rejecting them just to get some rest; rather, He was sending them off to put into practice His message.

a.   By Himself to pray. Most pious teachers would often go alone to pray. The customary time for this culture was two hours a day for rabbis and Pharisees. Some teachers did this to show that they were pious, while others actually sought after God.

                                                  i.   Here is an image of the intimacy of the Trinity as well as a model for us on the importance of prayer.

                                                ii.    The mountains were often used as a place to get away from the crowded towns, and retreat to recharge the spiritual batteries-just as we do today.

b.   Tossed by the waves. Just as in the passage of Matthew 8:23-27, storms would come up suddenly through the mountain passes to the Sea of Galilee in the valley below.

c.   Fourth watch was between 3:00 and 6:00 a.m. It is the final night shift. Normally, the Jews divided the night from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. in three shifts/watches. However, the Romans used four, and by this time, the Jews were using Roman time.

d.   It is a ghost. Just as today, ghosts were a part of the cultural folk mindsets, imaginations, and superstitions, but not the religious theology. Jews believed the dead are taken to "Abrahams Bosom;" no one stays behind. However, just as many Christians today believe in ghosts when the Bible emphatically teaches otherwise. Here is a typical, scary scene of a dark, powerful storm in the middle of a large lake, and it does not take much imagination to picture their plight. So, when they saw a man walking on the sea, it must have caused considerable fright-especially since Jesus was not with them, or so they thought. But, Jesus was there, and they had to recognize Him before they could trust Him.

e.   This passage is also a reflection of God creating the world as He hovered over the waters-"Trod" (Gen 1:2).

                                                  i.   Jesus reflects the Father and walks on the water, showing us His Deity, power, and care! 

                                                ii.    Moses, Joshua, Elijah and Elisha all did water miracles; however, they did them by God's power. Jesus is God, showing us His power.  

2.   It is I. This literally means, the self revelation of God, "I AM," as the name God uses to reveal who He is to Moses (Duet. 32:39; Ex. 3:14; Isa. 41:4; 43:10-13, 25; 45:18; 52:6; Hos. 13:4; Joel 2:27).

a.   A step of faith is easy to do when we can see, but, in a storm, we usually cannot see. We cannot wait until it clears up; we have to step out and obey His precepts, regardless of the weather or what others say. Do not let doubt and fears adjoin to the storm; see Jesus cut across the storm, so you can see His hand! We must obey with joy (John 2:5)!

b.   Peter… he walked. Most Bible teachers like to emphasize Peter's lack of faith when he sank. But, this passage also shows his strong sense of faith, as he does a miracle of OT prophet proportions. He did walk on water; when was the last time you did? Despite failure, Peter did trust and obey. But, like many of us, as soon as his eyes were off Jesus and his attention was on the storm, he sank. Then he cried out in desperation without exercising much faith.

c.   Come points to a picture of how Jesus rescues us. We all need to be rescued. He reaches out to us; we all need to respond to Him by taking His lead (Psalm 69).

d.   Worship, as in awe and praise, was a proclamation of respect given to a king or an idol (1 Sam. 24:8; 25:23). Jesus, being God, who rescues us, deserves our utmost respect, awe, and praise. This praise must not be given to anyone or anything else!

e.   Son of God was the recognized title of the Messiah in this time.  

3.   When they have crossed. We, as Christians, need to know that storms will come; storms always come. Either you are in a storm, coming out of a storm or in the middle of the eye of a storm-surrounded by a storm, but, not seeing it. We all will experience rough times, either because of our disobedience, or, from the misdeeds of others affecting us. Since most of humanity is interconnected by just two or three degrees of separation, all of our actions and decisions affect one another, for the good or for the bad. But, even in a storm, He takes us to the shore!

a.   Brought to Him. Many are touched and are made well. Here, Jesus continues to exercise His Godhood and compassion, taking the time to heal people who probably were only there to get something, not there for deeper spiritual things or to know the God of the universe.

b.   Jesus loves us even through our frailties, even when we are chasing the wrong things in life.

c.   Fringe refers to the tassels at the end of the garment (Matt. 9:20; 23:5).

d.   Gennesaret was a small plain and town at the northwest end of the Sea of Galilee.

e.   This final passage in Chapter 14 is a summery statement for the chapter in narrative form. Remember, chapters and verses were not added until 500 years ago.  

        Again, the disciples must have known that Jesus was more than an ordinary teacher. After all, He had performed many greater miracles thus far, such as the feeding of five thousand families from one person's lunch just a day before.  How often do we receive His blessings or see His miracles work, then forget it the next time; or, go on, and not trust Him, even though Jesus has brought us through so much. Complacency is the evil of our will that does not recognize what He has done before, so, we do not look ahead and trust Him. We become stuck in ourselves, perhaps too comfortable, too fearful, or just do not care. We have to see who He is, and what He has done so we can see ahead for what He will do. He knows you; He knows your situation, your needs, and He cares! We have to know firmly in our mindsets and in our faith that although Christ may seem absent from us, He is not. He is watching; He is near. In fact, He is right beside us, walking on water. Forget your will; forget your past; forget what you may not be able to see. Reach out and take His hand! He will lead you, lift you up, and place you in His will.  

 

 
Questions:  

1.   If you were in a boat, and someone came by, walking by on water, what would you say?

 

2.   How has our Lord interceded for you in the past?

 

3.   Have you ever considered that Jesus secures us through the storms of life? How so? Why not?

 

4.   Why do you suppose the Disciples were astonished? Consider the many miracles and the power Jesus had demonstrated prior to this event.

 

5.   Why did Jesus send the multitudes away and welcomed them, after He told the disciples not to do it?

 

6.   Why do you go alone to pray? Or, do you?

 

7.   Some people pray to show that they are pious, while others seek after God. What is the difference, and, which does God delight in?

 

8.   Read Genesis 1:2. How are these passages similar?

 

9.   Why do many people, including some Christians today, believe in ghosts? What are other explanations for such supernatural occurrences, such as demon manifestations, and mind play?

 

10. A step of faith is easy to do when we can see; but, in a storm, we usually cannot see. Why is that?

 

11. Why do most Bible teachers like to emphasize Peter's lack of faith when he sank? Do you think he lacked faith? Yes, he did, or he would not have sunk; however, would you have stepped out of the boat?

 

12. Do you believe and have faith, even in the storms of life? If not, what stops you? What takes your eyes off Him so you sink?

 

13. Read Psalm 69 (if too long, choose the first three verses). How are you represented in this Psalm? How can you see yourself more in this Psalm? How can you know more about yourself here? In knowing your plight in life, how can you stretch out your hand more to Christ as your Lord? 

 

14. Why should we, as Christians, need to know, and prepare our hearts and minds that storms will come; storms always come? What happens when we do not?

 

15. Jesus, as our Lord and example, took His time to heal and minister to people who probably were only there to get something, and not for deeper spiritual things. How can this motivate and encourage your church to reach out without expecting results? Remember, the results are in the hands of the Holy Spirit-not us!

 

16. Jesus loves us, even through our frailties, and even when we are chasing the wrong things in life. How can this fact encourage you and help you encourage others?

 

17. How often do we, as Christians-perhaps even you-receive His blessings, or see His miracles work, and then next time forget it?

 

18. What can you do not to let doubt and fear adjoin to the storms of your life so they become worse? How can you see more clearly that Jesus cut across the storm?  

 

19. Complacency is the evil of our will that does not see what He has done before, so, we do not look ahead and trust Him. What can you do so complacency does not rule in your heart?

 

20. What do you need to believe and do so that you are able to forget your will, forget your past, and forget what you may not be able to see, and reach out and take His hand in life?  

 
 
© 2003 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org  

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