Theme: Peter’s Walk
This week we see how to turn failing faith to robust faith.
And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.
After Jesus had rescued Peter the two of them climbed into the boat and the wind died down. That was impressive in itself. A similar effect had caused the disciples to react with awe on an earlier occasion (Matt. 8:23-27). But this is not the climax of the story in Matthew 14. The climax here is not the stilling of the waves or even Jesus’ earlier words to Peter; “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” The climax is the disciples’ confession of faith in Jesus and worship of Jesus in verse 33: “Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ’Truly you are the Son of God.
This is the first time Jesus is called the Son of God by the disciples, and the words are an advance on what they had said earlier. In chapter 8 they had asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him” (v. 27). Here they say, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Still they had a long way to go. If Peter’s confession in chapter 16 is the all-important breakthrough in the disciples’ spiritual understanding, what they say here could not have had its full spiritual significance. But it was a step on the way. They were growing in their faith and understanding.
And let’s not forget their worship. For this is also the first time the disciples are said to have worshiped Jesus. In chapter 2 the Magi from the east worshiped Jesus (v. 11). Later a leper is said to have worshiped Jesus, though the New International Version translates the word merely as “knelt before him” (Matt. 8:2). A synagogue ruler does the same thing in chapter 9 (v. 18). But this is the first time the disciples themselves are said to have worshiped, and it is important to note that their worship in 14:33 is joined to their confession. This is what worship is! it is acknowledging who God is and praising both for who he is and for what he has done. in this case the disciples take the first step and worship Jesus as God’s Son.
I notice too that they focus on Jesus entirely in their worship. Peter had experienced a great deliverance, but they didn’t ask Peter to give his testimony. The wind had died down, but they didn’t hold a discussion about miracles. They worshiped Jesus, and they worshiped only him because they were entirely taken up with him. We need this greatly today in Christian churches, though there is little of it.
Meanwhile the work that Jesus had begun months before continued as he now moved into the region of Gennesaret and healed those who were sick there. Jesus did not seem to have been here before, because the people did not know him by face. But when they recognized that this traveling teacher was Jesus they brought their sick to him to be healed.
These people had heard of his reputation, and one of the things they had probably heard was that the woman with uncontrolled bleeding had been healed by merely touching the edge of his garment (Matt. 9:20-22). So this is what they did too. The text does not say that these masses of people believed on him, any more than those in the upper regions of Galilee. (Gennesaret was a plain between Tiberias in the south and Capernaum to the north.) They were using Jesus only for their own ends! just as the people who had been fed with the loaves and fish wanted to use him by making him a king. Nevertheless the Lord had compassion on these people and healed them anyway.
Jesus has also been caring for you, even if you have not committed your life to him. The health you possess, the possessions you own, even the life you are living are God’s good gifts to you. Do not be like the people of Gennesaret and let it stop with that, and perish in your sins. Turn your eyes to Jesus. Trust Jesus. Commit yourself to Jesus. Say, as Peter did, “Lord, save me!” Cry out with the disciples, “Truly you are the Son of God.” That is how a person passes from spiritual death to life.
What is the climax of the story?
What first-time event occurs?
Explain the concept of worship.
How would your church be different if it were consumed only with Jesus?
Cry out with the disciples, “Truly you are the Son of God.” That is how a person passes from spiritual