Fix Your Eyes on Jesus

Matthew 14:22-33

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Our devotion yesterday pointed us towards the refuge found in the name of the Lord. Even in the midst of the storm, we are safe if we make the Most High our dwelling (Psalm 91:9). We can live with confidence knowing that His shelter will shield us. It feels wonderful to hunker down with the Lord and let His arms enfold us, but there are moments in our lives where Jesus calls us out into the storm. At some point, Christ calls us all out of our shelter and challenges us to do something impossible. The success of our steps is contingent upon our willingness to block out the world and keep our eyes on Jesus. Many things attempt to distract us. Others’ actions and opinions, world events, fear, self-will… this list could easily fill up the page!

In this story, the disciples are dead in the water. The surging waves stopped all progress. After hours in prayer, Jesus walks across the water to them. We have already seen Jesus rebuke the storm in Matthew 8:23-27, demonstrating mastery over all of creation. Here in chapter 14, Jesus is doing something different. He could certainly put a stop to the storm, but instead he invites Peter to join Him on the water. He calls him to do the impossible. The faith required of Peter to take even one step out of the boat should not be understated. For one whole verse, Peter is doing what Jesus did. “But, when he saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink” (v. 30). Of course, Peter could not see the wind itself, but he could see its effects. The point is that for the time Peter could successfully fix his eyes on Jesus (see Hebrews 12:2), he experienced success in moving towards the vision Christ had cast for him.

As our gaze drifts anywhere other than on the face of Jesus, we lose our complete connection with Christ and walking on water will simply not happen. Each of us in Christ has a unique calling upon our lives (remember our Ephesians series… “Made for More”). In this world, storms never cease, but neither does God’s grace! It is always enough, always sufficient. The Lord orders our steps and will never call you out into something He won’t bring you through. To do what Jesus did, we must lock eyes with the one who makes it all possible. When we do this well, we don’t even notice the chaos calling for our attention. All we see is Jesus. Today, listen for His invitation and seek His face above all else. With the help of Jesus, we are all water walkers!

Reflect

  1. What was Jesus doing before walking out to the disciples (v.23)? As we seek to model our Savior, what role should prayer play as we step out of the boat? 
  2. We may not see the wind, but we can certainly see the wind’s effect on the world around us. What are three things that might distract you from looking to Jesus?
  3. Jesus’ invitation to “Come” (v.29) is for us as well. In what way is Jesus inviting you to step out of the boat?  
  4. How might you disciple another and encourage them to step out in faith today? 

Pray

Holy God, in a world of distractions it is so easy to lose sight of you. Restore my sight and fix my eyes on the face of your Son. May your Spirit guide me in leading others to the author and finisher of our faith. I thank you and praise you in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Zac Holt, March 26, 2020
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