Storm Rider: The Cosmic Signs of Jesus’ Glory
The biblical passage from Matthew 14:22-33 (ESV) recounts a powerful narrative that unveils the divine glory of Jesus. In the wake of the tragic death of John the Baptist, this story portrays Jesus performing cosmic signs, demonstrating that God’s victory is imminent.
The First Miracle: Feeding the Multitude
After the death of John the Baptist, his disciples sought solace with Jesus, who was, to them, the next best thing to their beloved teacher. These disciples had heard John’s teachings about Jesus being the Messiah, and they carried their doubts to Him. Jesus performed an extraordinary miracle to console them, feeding approximately 25,000 men, women, and children with just five loaves of bread and two fish. The symbolism of the twelve baskets of leftovers speaks to the disciples’ mission of spreading the Gospel to the twelve tribes of Israel. Jesus’ command to gather the remnants signifies the importance of sharing the Gospel across all of Israel’s tribes. These twelve baskets serve as a reminder that the disciples’ work is far from over, and they are to take the “bread of life” to all the tribes of Israel.
The Second Miracle: Walking on Water
The impact of the previous miracle was so profound that it made people want to make Jesus their King. However, Jesus withdrew to a mountain to pray. But the miracle to follow would mark the beginning of an incredible intrusion of the invisible nature of Christ into the visible world. Jesus, the one who once calmed the storm, was now going to ride the storm.
The Order of Events
In a land by the Sea of Galilee, a group of disciples, their hearts heavy with sorrow, gathered around Jesus. The news of John the Baptist’s tragic death had shaken them to their core. They sought refuge in the company of Jesus, who had been the object of John’s teachings, the one they now looked to for guidance.
But even in the midst of their mourning, a new chapter of incredible events was about to unfold. Jesus, sensing the weight of their grief, wanted to show them a glimpse of His divine glory.
With a sense of urgency, He ordered his disciples to board a boat and set sail for the other side of the Sea of Galilee. However, they were not without their hesitations. The disciples, their eyes clouded by uncertainty, may have been reluctant for various reasons. They longed to witness Jesus being crowned as a king, and perhaps the thought of venturing across the sea in the face of an impending storm stirred their fears.
As the disciples embarked on their journey, Jesus made His way to a solitary mountain. It was on this lofty perch that He sought solitude and communion with His Father. The mountain served as a sanctuary, free from distractions, where Jesus could find solace. His heart probably weighed heavy, bearing the news of John’s demise. He sought to pray, to glory in his Father’s presence.
The boat sailed on, and the disciples found themselves in a precarious situation. Fierce winds whipped at their vessel, hindering their progress. They toiled against the relentless tempest, their efforts advancing them only slowly. Their journey became an arduous battle against the raging elements, and they realized they were far from their destination.
But on that mountain, Jesus gazed down upon His struggling disciples. The stormy sea raged beneath them, but they laboured tirelessly, rowing with all their might. It was in the darkest hours of the night, between 3 am and 6 am, known as the fourth watch, that Jesus decided to reveal His glory.
Descending the mountainside, Jesus made His way to His disciples by walking on the very waters that had challenged them. His figure emerged through the storm, a radiant beacon of divine power. It was a sight to behold, a testimony to His omnipotence and an assertion of His glory.
But as He approached the boat, the disciples, lost in the throes of their struggle, mistook Him for a ghost. Fear gripped their hearts, their despair so profound that they could only see malevolent apparitions. They cried out in terror, their voices trembling as they confronted an otherworldly presence amidst the turmoil.
Without delay, Jesus spoke to them, breaking the grip of fear. “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid,” He reassured them. His words were a revelation of His divine identity, echoing the ancient name of God – “I AM.”
In this extraordinary moment, Jesus intended to pass by them, just as God had passed before Moses, cloaked in His divine glory. The storm had not thwarted His passage, nor had the darkness concealed Him from their sight. He was with them even in their darkest hour, showing them His presence and His glory.
Peter, known for his impulsive nature, couldn’t contain his awe. “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water,” he called out, his faith overriding his doubts. Without hesitation, Jesus granted his request, beckoning Peter to join Him on the water.
For a moment, Peter walked on water, his eyes locked on Jesus, his trust unwavering. But then, he noticed the relentless howling of the wind and felt the tumultuous sea beneath his feet. Fear and doubt crept in, and he began to sink. In his desperate moment, Peter cried out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!”
With compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and rescued Peter. His gentle rebuke then was not for Peter’s faltering faith, but a reminder that even in moments of doubt, His unwavering presence would hold them firm.
As they both returned to the boat, a remarkable transformation took place. The winds ceased, and the storm abated. The disciples, witnesses to this astonishing series of events, couldn’t help but worship Jesus. They acknowledged, “Truly you are the Son of God,” a profound recognition of His divine identity.
In the end, this remarkable story serves as a testament to the fact that even in the most turbulent storms of life, God’s glory shines through. It reminds us that doubt may creep in, but as long as we fix our gaze on the divine, we can walk on the waters that torment us, guided by our unwavering faith in him.
The narrative of Jesus walking on water serves as a cosmic sign of His divinity and power over nature. It encourages us to trust in God, even when we find ourselves in the midst of life’s storms. Like Peter, we may sometimes falter, but Jesus is always there to extend His hand and save us.
This passage reminds us that no matter how powerful the storms in our lives may be, God is more powerful, and His glory is evident, even when we can’t see a way out. We are called to keep our faith unwavering, to walk on water, and to trust in the Son of God, who walks on the storms of life with us.