We return to our occasional reading from beginning to end through the Gospel of Matthew, which emphasizes Jesus' divine nature and his status as the Messiah—as the Son of David, the Son of Man, and the Son of God.
Read Matthew 14:22-31
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come," he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
With the crowd gone, Jesus again seeks time alone to pray. As the disciples depart across the Sea of Galilee, one of the sea's common and sudden nighttime windstorms overtakes them. Jesus, knowing their peril, comes and confronts them with a very real struggle between fear and faith. In the midst of that storm, when Peter's daring act of faith dissolves into doubt, it's the hand of Jesus that reaches out to save him.
Father, though we know you're in control, even in the storms of life, our faith sometimes waivers and doubt can overwhelm us. Please give us the courage needed to keep our eyes on you. Thank you that your hand is always within reach. Amen.