A Bible study prompt asked me: Read Matthew 14:25-32. (It’s the story of Jesus walking on water). Did the wind die down before Christ told his disciples not to be afraid? No. After? No. What would be the basis of their courage since the storm continued to rage?
There’s just a one line blank in the study. I think my answer was simply supposed to be “His presence.”
But for whatever reason, I found myself tallying the “Jesus in the storm” stories in my head, and I remembered that this wasn’t the first time that the disciples and Jesus weathered a storm together. So it’s not just his presence that would give courage, it would be the experiences and track record that came along with it. They knew Jesus could calm the storm. Maybe this is why Peter had the gumption to get out of the boat. He was taking the next step. After all, Peter was the kind of guy who leapt first…and then tried to figure out the landing part. Even in this story, he stumbles. But Jesus is right there to keep him from going under. And the whole time the storm is raging. But what gives him courage? Trust. Trust that comes from knowing who Jesus is, what he can do, and what you’ve already been through with him.
In any case, when Jesus first appeared on the scene, he simply drew the disciples’ attention to his identity. It’s me. Jesus. I can calm storms. Remember? Don’t be afraid.