Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary
Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33
It is worth noting that when Jesus came to the boat it was the fourth watch…probably between 3am and 6am in the morning. The twelve had been struggling in the teeth of the wind for anywhere from nine to twelve hours. It is very possible that, although thankful for the relief He brought, those in the boat may have thought that Jesus took a long time to ‘show up.’ We usually do, don’t we?
If we read this passage, or think about our own lives and experiences, We would do well to cross over to the Gospel of John, in the chapter about the death and raising of Lazarus:
Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.”
It is a reasonable assumption that for the twelve in the boat, as for the twelve going to Bethany to see Lazarus raised, the reason for the delay is that they might believe. Us, too.
When Peter is foundering from on the water…to in the water…headed toward under the water…Jesus does not delay, but immediately takes hold of Peter’s hand and raises him up. There are obviously times when Jesus lets us wait, and times when He grabs us by the hand right now.
That does, of course, raise a question. Were the twelve in the boat ever actually less in Jesus’ hand than Peter was? Were they ever less caught up in the Triune God’s completely holy, wise and powerful preserving and governing of creatures and actions?
When you are in the midst of the storm…are you?