Summary: When Jesus walks on water and invites Peter to do the same, he again proclaims that he is the Son of God and, in so doing, strengthens the faith of his disciples.

The Power Over Fear

Jeffery Anselmi / General

The Power of The Gospel / Fear; Faith / Matthew 14:22–33

When Jesus walks on water and invites Peter to do the same, he again proclaims that he is the Son of God and, in so doing, strengthens the faith of his disciples.


• Last week in our Power of The Gospel series, we examined a couple of incidents that shows us that Jesus has the power over life and death; therefore, we should be able to place every situation we face into His hands.

• That sounds wonderful, doesn't it?

• We can read the passages, we can even see how God has worked in the lives of other people and ourselves, but there is still something we need to be able to acknowledge Jesus has power over our FEARS!

• I know we can all relate to fear.

• Fear is a terrible thing to be enslaved to; fear can do several things to you if you allow it to rule over you.

• With that said, I do realize there is a place for fear in life. Fear keeps me from jumping off houses with make-shift parachutes as I did when I was a kid. We are not talking about that.

• I am speaking of being paralyzed but fear to the point where you cannot function, or you live under the strain of so much fear that you never are willing to take a risk.

• Even worse, you are afraid to follow God's calling for you because you are afraid as Moses was when God called hIm.

• Fear is a terrible thing to be enslaved to. Fear can rob us of some great blessings in life.

• In our narrative today, we will see that he has power over nature, but we will also see that He can have power over fear in your life.

• The BIG IDEA FOR THE MESSAGE TODAY IS: When Jesus walks on water and invites Peter to do the same, He again proclaims that He is the Son of God and, in so doing, strengthens the faith of his disciples; therefore allowing Him to have the power over fear.

Matthew 14:22–26 CSB

22 Immediately, he made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side while he dismissed the crowds.

23 After dismissing the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Well into the night, he was there alone.

24 Meanwhile, the boat was already some distance from land, battered by the waves, because the wind was against them.

25 Jesus came toward them, walking on the sea very early in the morning.

26 When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified. "It's a ghost!" they said, and they cried out in fear.


I. How circumstances can inspire fear.

• This should have been a time for a spiritual high for the disciples.

• These men witnessed something incredible! The feeding of the 5,000

• Jesus fed over 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish. Not only did they witness firsthand this amazing event, and there were leftovers!

• After Jesus fed the 5,000 plus people, Jesus was ready to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee to get away.

• Jesus seemed to be in a hurry to get out of the area.

• Although Matthew does not inform the reader why Jesus is insistent that his disciples leave the area, it has been suggested, based on John 6:15, that the feeding scene had turned into a political rally with revolutionary overtones. Jesus knew that his disciples were susceptible to such suggestions.

• With the disciples out of the way, Jesus could then focus his attention on disbursing the crowd, thus defusing a potentially dangerous situation.

• I would think the disciples would want to stay and bask in the glory of the moment for a while. If we read what John says correctly, they would have also invited a Make Israel Great Again rally with Jesus at the center. (College Press Commentary Series)

• Remember, most believed that is what the Messiah was going to do in a sense anyway, so why wait!

• From the meaning of the word MADE, it appears the disciples were not too eager to leave the scene. The word means TO COMPEL or to force someone to do something.

• Jesus is trying to disperse the crowd; He told the disciples to get into the boat and to go the other side.

• After the crowd was dismissed, Jesus goes up the mountain to pray.

• The day's events, as well as the ominous foreshadowing suggested by John the Baptist's death, sent Jesus to find solace to pray to the Father.

• The men got into the boat and started for the other shore as Jesus instructed them to do.

• Here is the thing, the disciples were alone in the boat without Jesus.

• One of the circumstances that can cause us to be overcome by fear when the unexpected happens is thinking we are alone, believing that Jesus is not in the boat with us.

• If you read the narrative, stress, and exhaustion may have played a bit of a role in how the men reacted when Jesus approached them.

• These men were used to the storms of the Sea of Galilee; nonetheless, they were fighting the winds and the waves all evening long.

• While this is going on, Jesus is up in the mountain praying.

• After what these men saw Jesus do, one would think nothing would shake them, but something happens.

• As the disciples are fighting the wind and the waves, they see something on the water.

• The disciples are about three to four miles into the six-mile trip.

• It is around 3–6 am.

› In the fourth watch of the night reflects the Roman custom of dividing the time between 6 pm and 6 am into four equal periods of three hours each.

› Each one of these time periods was called a watch.

› The Jews and the Greeks, on the other hand, divided the night into three watches.

• In the midst of the wind and the waves, Jesus is walking on the water towards them.

• The disciples were not prepared for such a bewildering sight and thus responded with fear and concluded that they see a ghost.

• Given the conditions of the sea and the "popular belief that the sea was the home of evil spirits," it is possible that the disciples thought their lives were in mortal danger.

• So let's see what happens.

Matthew 14:27–29 CSB

27 Immediately Jesus spoke to them. "Have courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

28 "Lord, if it's you," Peter answered him, "command me to come to you on the water."

29 He said, "Come." And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus.

II. When faith defeats fear.

• When Jesus sees His friends' reaction, He speaks to them, telling them to have courage for it is Him!

• When you know Jesus is in the house, you can have courage.

• Amid their fear, they know it is Jesus, and they no longer have to be afraid!

• The secret these men had yet to learn is that Jesus was always with them. He did not have to be in the boat for Him to be with them!

• Now, when Jesus speaks to them, the wind and the waves are still going crazy, the men are still in peril, yet Peter, says something amazing!

• Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.

• Now, why didn't the other men ask the same question?

• The way our English versions read shows that Peter is questioning whether it is indeed Jesus.

• This phrase in the Greek is not a question of doubt but rather a willingness to join Jesus on the sea.

• I wonder what the others thought when Peter made this request?


• Jesus simply replies, "COME."

• WOW!

• For all the grief Peter gets for seeming to be impulsive, he is ready to get out of the boat and do something!

• Jesus responds with a one-word command come, thus challenging him to make good on his word.

• OK, Peter, you going to get out of the boat or just sit there?

• Without hesitation, Peter gets out of the boat.

• Moments before, Peter was one of the scared disciples; now he is walking on the wind-blown sea.

› Once again, Jesus' command makes possible the impossible. Peter initially becomes a great faith model with his willingness to get out of the boat and emulate his Lord by also walking on the water.

Do you know when Jesus calls you to what you think is impossible, that you can do what He calls you to do because Jesus makes the impossible possible!

• Would Peter be able to accomplish this feat on his own? NO!

• Only with Jesus could he do this.

• What is it that Jesus is calling you to do that would be impossible without Him?

• Sometimes, our problem concerning faith is thinking that just because we belong to Jesus, that if something is uncomfortable, that Jesus would not ask us to do it.

• We spend too much time staying in the boat when Jesus is calling us to get out of the boat and hop into the raging sea!

• We cannot allow ourselves to be scared into doing nothing, reaching no one, and going nowhere.

• We have to allow our faith to defeat our fear!

• Well, Peter is on the raging sea; he is walking toward Jesus, the disciples HAVE to be amazed at the sight!

• Here, we will learn a valuable lesson.

• How do we do the impossible with Jesus? When Jesus makes the impossible possible, how do we do it?

• Peter is about to learn a lesson on focus!

Matthew 14:30–33 CSB

30 But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"

32 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

33 Then those in the boat worshiped him and said, "Truly you are the Son of God."

III. When fear overtakes faith.

• Look at verse 30 again!

Matthew 14:30 CSB

30 But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"

• This is why we fail to do the impossible that Jesus makes possible; we take our focus off of Jesus!

• Peter was going strong. Then it occurred to him what he was doing!

• Walking on water is not possible!



• This walking on water in the middle of a storm is impossible, JESUS HELP ME BEFORE I DIE!

• When we start looking around us, fear will overtake faith.

• When we start taking our eyes off of Jesus, fear will overtake faith, which will lead to failure.

• When Jesus calls you to action, when Jesus calls you to do the impossible, Jesus will be with you. He will make the impossible possible!

• Your job is to keep your eyes on Him.

• Your job is to quit saying you cannot walk on water because if Jesus calls you to do so, you can, and you will!

• Look at what happens in verse 31.

Matthew 14:31 CSB

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"

• Jesus pulls Peter out of the situation and asks why Peter doubted?

• Peter's issue was a failure to participate in Jesus' power; thus, he begins to sink in the waves.

• To Peter's credit, he responds to his crisis with the petition Lord, save me.

• The direst of circumstances can only be met with the Lord's saving hand.

• Peter's desperate cry is immediately responded to by Jesus, who delivers him from his peril.

• Why did Peter doubt?

• The term translated "doubt" pinpoints Peter's problem: he lost his single-minded focus on Jesus.

• Nevertheless, Peter's experience is prototypical of discipleship, and Peter's wavering faith is met by Jesus' willingness to rescue him, even in the darkest of crisis.

• When you allow your circumstances to be bigger than Jesus, you will lose faith in Jesus.

• That is what Peter did!

• When Jesus got into the boat, the wind and the waves STOPPED!

• When you allow Jesus into the boat, and when you stay focused on Him, the wind and the waves will stop.

• Even if they do not stop, you will not see them because you are focused on Jesus!


• Jesus will deliver you when you stay focused on Him.

• Jesus has power over fear when we keep our eyes on Him!

• If you trust Jesus, your life will be different, even if nothing else around you is different.

• I believe our application point is exciting!

• If we can do this, life will take on new meaning!

› Application Point: Practicing our faith in ways that are new and potentially uncomfortable forces us to set our fears aside and put our trust in Jesus.