I was reading through the familiar account in Matthew 14 of Jesus walking on the water and Peter getting out of the boat to walk on the water too.
What stood out to me this morning was how the word “immediately” was mentioned three times in just ten verses.
Immediately was the description of how quickly Jesus instructed his disciples to leave after the feeding of the 5000. They had just witnessed Jesus take five loaves and two fish, look up at the heavens, bless the food, and then break the bread for the hungry crowd. The disciples had been charged with the task of being the servers, distributing the meal and then collecting all the leftovers so that nothing was wasted.
Scripture says that immediately Jesus made them get into the boat, without him, and move on. For some reason, this abrupt transition from being witnesses to such an amazing scene one moment to being instructed to leave the next moment captured my attention. Personally, I think I would have wanted to recline in the grass for a bit and reflect on the glory of it all. Whoa, Dude! But just as Jesus didn’t waste any of the leftovers, Jesus didn’t waste any time moving on to the next faith building lesson that was waiting out on the sea for his disciples.
Here’s my thoughts. Jesus didn’t see the need to dwell on one moment of glory because wherever He was, His glory would be too. Life with Him would be one glory filled moment after another…not because His disciples’ circumstances would be perfect or without struggle, but because holy moments are possible whenever Jesus is present. And Jesus knew that another one of those beautiful and unforgettable moments would be waiting for his disciples out in the middle of a dark sea. His disciples left one whoa, Dude moment in order to be positioned smack dab in the middle of another whoa, Dude moment.
And, as we can tell from how quickly fear wrapped around their hearts again while they were all alone on that boat and suddenly placed in a position of uncertainty, they needed yet another lesson reviewing the fundamentals of their faith again:
Who should you depend on for all your needs? Jesus
Who can calm your fears in times of uncertainty? Jesus
Who does the rescuing? Jesus
Immediately was the description of how quickly Jesus spoke to his disciples when they became filled with fear at the figure walking towards them on the water. I love the urgency Jesus used to reassure them with His voice. Peter’s response makes me smile too. It’s so human. He essentially challenges Jesus. If you are who are say you are…then prove it. And so Jesus does! And then what happens? Even after Jesus “proves it”, Peter takes His eyes off the “proof” and looks at his circumstances again. Can anyone else relate?
Immediately was the description of how quickly Jesus reacted when Peter began to sink and then cried out for Jesus to save him. I love the knee jerk reaction of Jesus. He instinctively does the one thing He was sent to earth to do…rescue.
This moment wouldn’t be the last time Peter would need rescuing from his fears and his failures. Jesus knew Peter. Even as He stretched out His hand that night to save him, Jesus had full knowledge that this same man would one day deny Him, run away in fear, and need rescuing again.
Jesus’ mission is to rescue. Despite our indecisiveness, our apprehensions, our fears, our doubts, and our failures, Jesus’ mission never changes.
It’s His character and nature to rescue us, redeem us, and restore us.
Every decision He makes, every direction He sends us, is perfectly timed and strategically planned to teach us, yet again, Who we must depend on.
I take comfort in this Truth.
” Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After dismissing the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Well into the night, he was there alone. Meanwhile, the boat was already some distance from land, battered by the waves, because the wind was against them. Jesus came toward them walking on the sea very early in the morning. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said, and they cried out in fear.
Immediately Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter answered him, “command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strength of the wind,he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those in the boat worshiped him and said, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14: 22-33