In a sacrament meeting talk recently I was drawn again to the story of the Saviour walking on the water toward His disciples. In this experience, a number of lessons were highlighted and things that can be likened to our experience when out in this voyage called mortality.
The disciples had been sent on by the Saviour whilst He went alone to pray. I imagine that the Saviour in order to fulfill His ministry required close communion with His Father in Heaven. Meanwhile, the disciples were running into a little trouble:
“But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was
contrary.” (Matthew 14:24)
Straightaway we see a parallel with our lives today. Often, we will feel in the midst of the sea in our day-to-day lives. Sometimes we drift peacefully along with the swells and current, moving towards our destination. At others, we will wash up at the end of the day and wonder what on earth happened in the past 15 hours or more! Sometimes the wind is pleasant, at others it can certainly be contrary!
“And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a
spirit; and they cried out for fear.” (Matthew 14:25-26)
In the past I have been surprised that the disciples’ reaction was one of fear. However, it makes sense when you understand that ‘the fourth watch of the night’ is between 3am-6am. It is the dead of night, they are battling against contrary winds and suddenly they see a figure approaching them on the water they are fighting so hard to steer through. Their fear is understandable, but the Saviour soon puts them at ease.
“But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the
water.” (Matthew 14:27-28)
Peter’s reaction is very interesting. For many people, they may be in that scenario and invite the Saviour to enter the boat with them. They may call out to their friend and ask Him to join them. However, Peter calls out to the Saviour and asks if he can join Him on the tempestuous waters. I find this fascinating. There could be two possible reasons. The first is that he wanted to perform the same miracle that the Saviour was manifesting. I doubt this but it is a possibility. The other reason (and the more likely one in my opinion) is that he wanted to be where the Saviour was and walk with Him. Imagine wanting to leave the safety of the boat and wanting to step out into the murky unknown. However again we can see the similarities in our life. We often will need to take leaps of faith towards the Saviour but He always is there to invite us.
And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the
water, to go to Jesus.
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried,
saying, Lord, save me.
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O
thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (Matthew 14:29-31)
Our Saviour is always there. As soon as we begin to doubt or we fall short, His hand will always be there as a constant support to us if we will reach back and accept His help. The parallels are clear in this instance.
This experience has so many lessons contained in it that we can learn a lot. As we move into 2019 and focus on the stories of the Saviour’s life, I look forward to looking more deeply into these stories and accounts to learn more.