“Lord, Save Me!”
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Matt. 14:30b (Holman) And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
When panicked, Peter prayed. Some people make light of fox-hole praying. They say it is nothing more than verbal desperation, an attempt to bribe God. So what? Pray anyway. When panicked, pray boldly, and pray loudly if need be.
Though not in church, Peter prayed. Learn to pray anywhere. Some people pray only in a worship service. It’s a good thing Peter didn’t feel this way.
He wasn’t in church but was in nitty-gritty life, and felt a need to pray. We gather in our meetinghouses to learn how to pray not only here, but everywhere.
He had other things to worry about at the moment, but Peter prayed. The Bible teaches us to pray without ceasing. Peter would disagree with believers who claim they don’t have time to pray. No time to pray? Do we take time to breathe?
Praying is a Christian’s breath, our spiritual oxygen. Without it, everyday living has no spiritual undergirding. Without praying, how can we confidently rise from our beds in the morning, and leave our homes to face the world?
How can we go to sleep in the evening without giving thanks, or endure insomnia in the night, without prayer? How can we think of our family, nation, or world without being compelled to pray? Life should be one uninterrupted prayer.
Pray in a panic, pray anywhere, pray all the time. Whatever, wherever, whenever–we should pray because we feel we must pray. Something in us should drive us to pray. The issue is not situation, place, or time, as much as it is a matter of the heart being tuned in to God. If we have the heart to pray, we will pray.
Matt. 14:31a Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of
him, . . .
Poor Peter. The Lord seemed to always be rescuing Peter. This speaks well of Jesus. In a way, it speaks well of Peter. Did he mess up often? For sure, but he never gave up. Remember, we are still in God’s game as long as we don’t quit.
Samson made the roll call of faith (HB 11) due not to his sterling character, but to his refusal to quit. After his Delilah fiasco, his hair began to grow back (JG 16:22), symbolizing his return to the Lord’s favor. With arms around the pillars, he prayed, “Lord God, please remember me. Strengthen me, God, just once more” (JG 16:28). God honored his request, letting him do his mightiest deed at the end.
Moses murdered, but got up. Aaron committed idolatry, but got up. David committed adultery and murder, but got up. Elijah slipped into cowardice, but got up. Peter sank and denied, but got up. Thomas doubted, but got up.
Our goal is perfection, but our reality is, never giving up. Don’t ever say things like, “I’m through praying. I’m done with church. This isn’t working for me anymore.” Never quit. We will falter often, but must always get up.
Matt. 14:31b . . . and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Little faith? Yes, but real nonetheless. Isn’t this what we all have? Little faith, yet real. Our faith is genuine, but not always perfect and strong. Sometimes when our faith feels its weakest, Jesus shows Himself the strongest on our behalf.
God lets us go as far as the strength of our faith will take us. When we have gone as far as we can go, and begin to sink, God steps in, proving His faithfulness to us, showing us He still wants to be strong on our behalf even when we’re weak.
At our sinking point, we learn what triggers our faith’s collapse. Knowing what made our faith fail, where God had to step in to rescue us, helps us know where our weakness is, and how to better pray for our faith to go farther next time.
Matt. 14:32-33 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those in
the boat worshiped Him and said, “Truly You are the son of God!”
Once the wind accomplished its God intended purpose, it stopped. Our life is this way. If winds of trouble are blowing, there’s a reason. Life is not random.
In one evening, the 12 saw Jesus overcome hunger, stop a rebellion, and command nature. They had never seen anything like this. Only one response seemed adequate. The waves had yielded at Jesus’ feet. The 12 bowed at His feet.
This was the first time the 12 worshiped Jesus and called Him “Son of God.” They worshiped Him, and–don’t miss this–He accepted their worship.
Matt. 14:34-35 Once they crossed over they came to land at Genneserat. When the men of that place recognized Him, they alerted the whole vicinity and brought to Him all who were sick.
In these healings, Jesus the ultimate Hero was aided by a strong supporting cast. The sick would have never known Jesus was present had the local men not gone to tell them. Because these men went, the sick came. We who know Jesus should be inviting others to Him. Don’t attend worship alone. Bring someone.
This crowd of sick people was not a pretty sight. Roman nobles snubbed common people, labeling them “the profane rabble,” but Jesus called them sheep without a shepherd, and said He was the Shepherd. He saw in them the very reason He came to earth. He sees in each of us the very reason He came to earth.
Matt. 14:36a They were begging Him that they might only touch the tassel on His robe.
The tassel was the part of a man’s robe that marked Him as devout. God told Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and tell them that throughout their generations they are to make tassels for the corners of their garments, and put a blue cord on the tassel at each corner. These will serve as tassels for you to look at, so that you may remember all the Lord’s commands and obey them” (Numbers 15:38b-39a).
The tassels were made a special way and had a unique appearance. Men could feel them when they walked, and see them every time they looked down. The purpose of the tassels was to remind God’s people to obey His laws.
The tassels on Jesus’ robe were the evidence He desired to live wholly and totally for the Father. The sick were attracted to this sign of Jesus’ faith in God.
The people knew the most important fact about Jesus was His connection to God. The same is true of us. Our most important trait is not our jobs, knowledge, or talents. Our connection with God matters most. Do people know we have one?
Matt. 14:36b And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.
It is appropriate the chapter ends here. It marks the spot where most of these healed ones ended their interaction with Jesus. Once they were physically healed, they did not want to have anything more to do with Him.
They came to Jesus only for what they could get from Him. They wanted what they wanted, not what He wanted. They desired the benefits of following Christ without the accompanying responsibilities. Ingratitude is ugly and awful.
Spiritual concerns, a search for truth, wanting to be right with God–none of these brought them to Jesus. Their only motivation was self-love. Nevertheless, Jesus loved them anyway. He neither rebuked them nor turned anyone away.
No one in this crowd had to deserve or earn Jesus’ mercy. Our Master freely healed people physically in order to demonstrate His desire to freely heal people spiritually. When people die unhealed spiritually, it is their own fault.