Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.27 But Jesus immediately said to /them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”,29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” -Matthew 14:22-32
Faith always has an object. Saving faith has as its object Jesus Christ. Faith in your car has as its object the manufacturer and reputation of the car. Faith in the electrical system has as its object the reliability of the electric company.
The disciples were no doubt weary and frightened after a night of struggling to make shore against the wind and the waves on Galilee. Their attention was totally preoccupied by the ferocious wind and waves. Just before dawn, they saw a figure calmly walking on the stormy seas. It was Jesus. They were terrified, thinking they saw a ghost, for no human could ever walk on the storm-tossed seas of Galilee. They screamed and cried out in fear. Their only thought was that surely this was the omen of the end of their lives. But Jesus proclaimed in a voice above the sound of the wind, the waves, and the crying of his disciples: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid!” No, there was nothing to be afraid of, because now the Lord was with them. Peter, in his usual petulance, demanded, “If it IS YOU Lord, tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come!” said Jesus. Then Peter stepped out of the boat and actually started coming toward Jesus. But he took his eyes off Jesus and focused instead on the ominous wind and waves. He was filled with fear in that moment and began to sink – to drown in the sea. But his last words were the shortest prayer in all the Bible: “Lord, save me”. And immediately Jesus reached out and grabbed him and hauled him into the boat. “Why did you doubt?” wondered Jesus.
Our faith must have as its object the victorious and reigning Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior of the world. If our attention is consumed by the wind and waves around us – the Corona pandemic – then we are sure to sink into the abyss of fear. Peter, though briefly, walked on stormy seas while he focused on Christ. It was when he shifted his focus to the chaos around him that he began to sink and drown. We must fix our eyes on Christ if we are not to be drowned in this present chaos. Focus not just on his name, but on what he has done. He has created the world, he controls the world, he lived a perfect life for you, he proclaims himself your substitute, he paid the penalty for all your sins on the cross, he rose again on the third day- proof that all he claimed was true. He is with you in the present crisis, he is with you in every crisis yet to come, he is your advocate on judgment day, he is the one who promised to prepare for you a place in the Father’s house. Focus on that Jesus Christ and go out into the world and do what you need to do. You are not alone. Christ is your shield and your covering.
Lord God, restore our confidence in Jesus Christ. He is our weapon and our defense. Through His blood we are right with God now and eternally. We are ready for heaven, and even more ready to face every challenge of this life. Amen.