May 4

Text: Matthew 14:24-26

But the boat was already many stadia away from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary.  And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were frightened, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. (NASB)

Darkness plays strange tricks on our thinking.  We fail to realize how sight dependant we are until darkness limits our sight.  We strain to see, but cannot.  We cannot distinguish between what we fear and what we really see.  Fearful minds become overactive.  The deer hunter sees a stump as a charging buck.  The camper sees a boulder as a hungry, cunning bear.  The lost hiker sees a dark that is filled with mysterious dangers.  Things that would never be reality in daylight become probabilities in the dark.  The ridiculous becomes real, and the impossible becomes plausible.

Jesus insisted the 12 cross the sea in the darkness.  They rowed hard, but a “head wind” began to blow.  A bad sign!  They rowed harder.  The wind produced waves.  The dangerous became the urgent.  The waves began to whitecap.  They rowed hard in the knowledge that the boat was in danger of filling with water in the darkness!  Yet, they made no progress.  The situation was terrifying!

All night they rowed!  It was the last watch before dawn.  Exhaustion, frustration, and terror make a terrible combination!  They were “ripe” to be dominated by fear.

Then they saw something!  The wind blew, the waves white capped, the boat bobbed, and it was dark.  Nothing they knew could survive in those conditions—including them!  This mysterious sighting was on the crest of a wave, then hidden by a wave, then on a wave crest again.  They made no progress, but the unidentified thing did—it came closer and closer!

They were scared senseless—they could not explain what they saw, and they could not outrun it!  It must be a ghost (fear always assumes the worst)!  These men were so scared they began to scream.

Observation: If we deal with Jesus, we confront the unknown.  The evaded becomes the unavoidable.

Suggestion for reflection: What do you fear in your life?  (Read Philippians 4:4-7.)

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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell