Pentecost 10 “Doubt”
August 9th, 2020 – Matthew 14:27
May you receive from God the good you have not deserved, not get the bad you have, and may you have peace with God through the blood of your Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Doubt & Fear
The word “doubt” as a word carries the definition on google “a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction.” It comes from the Latin word dubius which comes from the Latin word to hesitate.
Hesitation in something you do or say is caused by something holding you back. Usually a thought.
And if you hesitate long enough that thought can turn into fear.
For example, someone at church cuts you off just before you are about to pull into the church parking lot. You intend to confront them about it once you get out of your car (let them know they almost damaged your car and forgive them when they apologize for the near mishap) when you hesitate. You see them and you doubt. You might think, “what if they are really mad and chew me out for saying something to them? Don’t really feel like having that happen as I walk into the Lord’s house.” What if it wasn’t their fault and it was really me who somehow caused the near miss by driving so slow?” Your hesitation has gone on long enough for you to begin to fear being attacked or acknowledging that it is your fault. The doubt, hesitation, and fear are all connected.
We see this played out the time that Jesus walks on water to the disciples in the boat. The disciples see Jesus. They see Him walking towards them and they doubt that Jesus could be walking on water. Instead of concluding that Jesus really is the Son of Man and can walk on water their next best, most logical conclusion, is that Jesus must be a ghost.
Their doubt that what they are seeing really is Jesus causes them to cry out in fear.
In their fear, Jesus calls out to them and says “Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.”
Jesus assures them that He is not a ghost as they say but it really is Him walking on the water.
This is the first time they doubt Jesus.
Next, Peter doubts again, by saying “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” This sure sounds a lot like something Satan says to Jesus earlier “If you are the Son of God… command these stones to become bread… thrown yourself down” (Matthew 4).
This time, Jesus indulges Peter and Peter walks on water towards Jesus. But Peter sees the wind, he doubts again, and begins to sink.
Peter has to cry out, “Lord, save me” and Jesus grabs him by the hand, pulls him up, and says, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
It would be easy to look only at this last part and see how when Peter has faith he will be able to walk on water he can walk on water, but when he doubts it, he begins to sink. This falls in line with the popular inspirational quote “you can do whatever you put your mind to.” The treasure we would pull out of the Scriptures is that you must believe in yourself and do not doubt. Fear is the enemy.
To come to this conclusion would be missing the whole point that God is trying to tell us.
God is not trying to tell us we can do the supernatural whenever we put our mind to it. He is not telling us that Peter was weak and not to be emulated when he cries out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!”
Who Jesus Is
This whole passage is about who Jesus is. The disciples see Jesus walking on the water and they are afraid because they doubt Jesus could do that. Jesus tells them he is who he looks like he is and to not be afraid (not to doubt).
And Peter, after having this assurance, keeps doubting it is Jesus both by what his eyes are showing him and by what his ears are hearing! Peter asks Jesus to prove Himself and command him to come on to the water.
When Jesus commands, Peter hears and is brought to walk on the water. And for the third time, Peter is afraid, he doubts Jesus and His power, and he sinks.
And ironically, one of the greatest shows of faith from Peter is when he is on the verge of sinking and cries out, “Lord, save me.”
After Peter doubts repeatedly who Jesus shows, tells, and proves He is Jesus asks him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Jesus is asking why he doubted all along.
This event is not about who Peter is, it is about who Jesus is. The last part of the account confirms it by saying after Jesus and Peter came back into the boat those in the in the boat worshipped Him, saying” Truly you are the Son of God.”
They conclude what they were meant to conclude all along that Jesus is the Son of God. For those of you who may conclude that the title Son of God doesn’t mean much, simply look at what these followers of the ten commandments do which first commandment is to have no other Gods. They WORSHIP Jesus. They worship Jesus as GOD! Does Jesus object? Does Jesus say, “no, don’t worship me worship God alone?” No! Jesus does not object now or when they do it later because their worship of Him as God is spot on – just as the title of Son of Man refers to Him as God coming to dwell among us and save us.
In this world filled with death, lies, and countless things to doubt and be afraid of – Jesus and who He is; is not something we need to hesitate on. We do not need to doubt that Jesus is God, that He loves us, that He died for us, and that He rights our wrong relationship with God. And is coming back again. We do not need to stand still in hesitation not living out our lives as Christians because we have not made up our minds yet if He is truth or fiction.
We can act under His laws, loving our neighbour, worshipping Jesus as Yahweh, and in everything we do, act in the reality that we are forgiven, He has good laws for us, and He is coming again.
Brothers and sisters in Christ,
In Jesus name