Fish, Fishermen and Boats . . . Part III

“Lord, Save me!”

Rev. Sudha Mehta©

Jesus pulls Peter up Po_vodam photo from Wikipedia.jpg

Jesus and Peter on water Photo from Wikipedia

Matthew 14: 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 About five thousand men were fed, in addition to women and children.

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowds. 23 After He had sent them away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone, 24 but the boat was already far from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 During the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went out to them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately spoke up: “Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it is You,” Peter replied, “command me to come to You on the water.”

29 “Come,” said Jesus.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and took hold of Peter. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they had climbed back 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!”(BSB)

Five thousand men were fed in addition to women and children whose number we are not given (verse 21). Safe to say multiple thousands ate the heaven-blessed feast of fish and bread. A boy offered to share his own lunch. Jesus blessed this offering and it multiplied in His hand to become more than enough to feed the crowd of thousands.

the-feeding-of-the-5000 photo from rockofhelp.com

the-feeding-of-the-5000 photo from rockofhelp.com

Nothing was wasted! Let’s say Jesus was careful to teach a lesson in no wastage and to protect the environment.

The boy left home in the morning with mama having packed a lunch with two fish and five small loaves for him. A boy under twelve! How do I know this? If he was past his bar-mitzvah he would have been called a man. He is called a boy, so we know he was below the age of accountability. A well-taught child with a good heart.

He returned home later the same day with helpers carrying twelve basketfuls of leftovers of anointed from heaven fish and bread. Imagine mama’s wonder, awe and delight! I suspect mama had a feast for the community of this heaven-blessed fish and  bread. The secret of God’s multiplication lies in the generosity of sharing! How I wish everyone would get this lesson!!

abundance-of-bread-and-fish photo from holyspiritlavington.org.au

abundance-of-bread-and-fish photo from holyspiritlavington.org.au

I suspect this bread and fish meal brought healing to those that needed . . . but that is a subject for another day!

After such an awesome miracle you would think the disciples were riding high on faith! They were . . . for a short while!

Jesus MADE the disciples get in the boat and go ahead of Him across the sea. He went up the mountain for some private time with His Father. He conversed with Father while they were out on the water making some headway, far from land, yet struggling for the winds worked against them. Seasoned veterans of the sea like them knew the seas and understood the winds. What they did not know was how Jesus was planning on joining them. I am sure they wondered . . . another boat? Perhaps! They were not prepared for what happened next!!

Dark skies, high winds, choppy waves . . . and someone walking on the water as sure-footedly as on land! Hmm!! Would you be any less taken aback? They had just been partakers of a huge miracle, many thousands were fed on two . . . just two fish and five little loaves of bread. They had felt the “high” of faith just a few short hours ago, but this?? Someone walking in water . . . it must be a ghost, a spirit from the netherworld!

Suddenly grown and seasoned veterans of the seas felt like loosing their lunch on the sea!

Jesus understood their agitation and called out to them assuring them that it was Him walking on water.

jesus-walking-on-water photo from LDS Lamplighter.jpg

jesus-walking-on-water photo from LDS Lamplighter

Twelve men hear Him, twelve men shaking in their sandals in a boat on a choppy sea. One man hears the Master’s voice and calls out, “Lord, if it is You,” Peter replied, “command me to come to You on the water.”

Could it be?? . . . Could it be His Master, the multiplier of fish and bread, maker of water into wine, healer of lepers, raiser of the dead, giver of sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf . . . that He . . . this Man . . . could also walk on water? Why not?!

I sense excitement in Peter’s voice: “Lord, if it is You,” Peter replied, “command me to come to You on the water.”

I hear sermons talk about Peter in a negative way, perhaps you do too! Peter was stubborn, he spoke too fast, lacked self-control . . . Peter often opened his mouth only to stick his foot in. Peter was careless in His speech . . . etc. etc.

I see differently, I see a man passionate for his Lord and his cause! Yes, he was imperfect, but when did any of us become perfect?!

Often have preachers chided Peter for looking at the waves and losing faith. Yes, Jesus rebuked him for that!

But let me share what I see . . . I see twelve men hear the voice of Jesus saying, “Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.”

I see one man get so excited that he can’t contain himself. I see one man instantly look at this as an opportunity to do something he could never do otherwise. I don’t see the statement  “Lord, if it is You,” as a doubt statement, rather I see it as an AWE statement that says, “If You can walk on water, then with you so can I!”

He needed Jesus to issue the command “Come” for he understood that when Jesus commanded something to happen, it did!

True, when he looked at the waves, seeing their strength he began to waver and sink, but he still called to the only person who was capable of saving him. “Lord, save me!” Who else would or could? Huh??

Jesus pulling Peter up 2 Photo from Pinterest.jpg

Jesus pulling Peter up 2 Photo from Pinterest

Of course he was chided correctly, but in that statement “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?” I see the Lord desiring to show Peter he could have walked so much further had he just kept his eyes on Jesus! I see a bit of exasperation, but delivered with a friendly chuckle, like a big brother helping a little brother. Isn’t He our brother also?!

Meanwhile . . . eleven men sat in the relative safety of the boat, looking but not daring!

I think Jesus would have loved it if all twelve of them had dared to respond to the command “Come” and gotten out of the boat. I can only imagine the joy on His face and theirs, had they chosen to do! What a party on the water!! The command was not specific to Peter. Jesus said, “Come” not “Come Peter.” No one else asked or dared, no one else looked to leave the safety of the boat. Eleven chose to wait for Jesus to come to them in the safety of the boat, one was excited enough to want to run to Him and meet Him on the waves.

Let me give you some more information you might enjoy: It is believed that the Gospel of Mark was written by Mark but Mark was not eyewitness to all. He wrote what was narrated by Peter.

So, in Mark 6 we find a different twist of this same incident.

Mark 6: 47 When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and Jesus was alone on land. 48 He could see that the disciples were straining to row, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went out to them, walking on the sea. He intended to pass by them, 49 but when they saw Him walking on the sea, they cried out, thinking He was a ghost—50 for they all saw Him and were terrified.

But Jesus spoke up at once: “Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 Then He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. And the disciples were utterly astounded, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves, but their hearts had been hardened.(BSB)

Jesus intended to pass them and walk to the other shore before they arrived! Hmm . . .

Mark says nothing about Peter’s little adventure. I believe Peter was too embarrassed about the fact that on that night only one man took a real soaking in the sea . . . he himself. No one else got as wet as he did! So, he didn’t want to talk about it!! Funny!!!

Thankfully, John and Matthew chose to tell.

How many times have you been like Peter? Excited in your faith enough to try something bold and daring. I hope many times. Faith exercised is faith strengthened. Just don’t get so embarrassed about your little failures that you don’t talk about them. That is all part of learning humility. God doesn’t spend time mocking us, He only wants us to learn, and His every attempt is to draw us closer.

The hand of faith photo from pnterest

The hand of God photo from pinterest

You may feel quite under water at times, but He always reaches down to rescue when we call out. Remember, all you have to say is “Lord, save me!” just like Peter!!

I speak from plenty of experience!!

Fish, Fishermen and Boats . . . Part II

Fish, Fishermen and Boats . . . Part I

Baa-aa-h! . . . Part I

Baa-aa-h! . . . Part II

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