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The Apostles’ Obedience and Faith

24 Jan
walking-on-water-3

from Google Images

Not long after Jesus calmed the winds and the waves on the Sea of Galilee (Luke 8:24), there was another voyage on the lake that would be of some significance (cf. Matthew 14:22-33). At that time Jesus walked upon the lake’s waters from where he fed the five thousand to where the disciples had been toiling fruitlessly against the winds. Just as in Luke 8:22-25, Jesus told the disciples to get in the boat and row to the other side, and a storm developed during their voyage (Matthew 14:24; cf. Mark 6:48). In Luke’s storm Jesus was asleep in the rear of the boat (Luke 8:23), but in Matthew’s storm Jesus wasn’t with the disciples initially, but he walked to them on the Sea of Galilee and then got into the boat (Matthew 14:22, 25).

In Luke’s account we are told that the disciple had stopped doing what Jesus commanded in order to take measures against the storm (Luke 8:22-24). However, in the next voyage Matthew shows us that the disciples continued to do as Jesus told them to do despite the storm at sea (Matthew 14:24; cf. Mark 6:48).

In Matthew’s voyage Peter asked the Lord to command him to come to Jesus by walking on the sea (Matthew 14:28-30), and when the Lord told him to come, Peter walked on the waters of the lake. However, when he saw the waves he was afraid and began to sink, and immediately cried out to the Lord to save him. Jesus then stretched forth is hand and pulled him up out of the water, implying they both walked back to the boat (Matthew 14:29-31).

During Matthew’s storm Jesus seems to be glad over Peter’s overall response and his mild rebuke in Matthew 14:31 testifies of Peter’s growing faith. However, in Luke 8:25 the disciples showed absolutely no faith in Jesus’ words. They were completely overwhelmed by their circumstances. While there was a great calm in both accounts, in Luke’s storm Jesus commanded the calm in order to show the disciples they should have trusted him (Luke 8:24), but, in Matthew’s storm the calm occurred after the disciples had expressed their trust in Jesus’ words (Matthew 14:32). In Luke they heard but didn’t respond, but in Matthew the disciples both heard and obeyed the word of the Lord.

When Jesus and Peter returned to the boat, the disciples were astonished, overwhelmed with the miracle they had just witnessed (cf. Mark 6:51). The reason for their astonishment was that their hearts were hardened, because they had forgotten, or at least didn’t consider, the miracle of the loaves and fishes just prior to this event (Mark 6:52). While in their astonishment, i.e. while their hearts were in a hardened condition, they admitted that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God (Matthew 14:33).

At this point one cannot help but think of Peter’s great confession that took place a short while later. In both Matthew 14:33 and Matthew 16:16 (cf. Luke 9:20) the words are the same. That is the disciples in Matthew 14 admitted to what Peter claimed in Matthew 16:16. Nevertheless, they are not the same, because in Matthew 14 the disciples were completely astonished over the miracle they had just witnessed. They might have admitted to anything without taking it to heart. They were as overwhelmed by the miracle in Matthew 14:33 as they were by their adverse circumstances in Luke 8:24. However, Peter’s confession in Matthew 16:16 (cf. Luke 9:20) comes after considerable contemplation. It was not said under emotional duress either from dire circumstance or from astonishing miracles. It came from Peter’s heart.

In Luke’s storm we are told the disciples stopped doing what the Lord told them to do and they had no faith (Luke 8:22-25). However, in Matthew 14:22-33 the disciples continued to obey the Lord despite their adverse circumstances, implying growth in their faith in Jesus, which Jesus had been looking for and cultivating (Luke 8:25).

 

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Posted by on January 24, 2017 in Gospel of Luke

 

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