Matthew 14:27

The answer of the disciples to the sight of Jesus walking on the sea revealed the fact that they shared the superstitious sentiments of their age. They said, "It is a spirit." "Orientals continue to believe, as of old, in supernatural agencies, not only in the all-pervading and all-controlling providence and personal influence of the Deity, which they have ever pushed to extreme fatalism, but also in the existence and activity, either for good or for evil, of spirits and invisible beings, who people the air." Our Lord desired to guide his disciples to worthier apprehensions of spiritual things, through the proper apprehension of himself as a spiritual Being and a spiritual Messiah. Our Lord had wrought many miracles which displayed his power, and revealed him as

(1) Lord of Nature in all her moods;

(2) of death in all its stages;

(3) of devils in all their forms of mischief;

(4) of souls in all their spiritual needs.

Now, by this walking on the sea, he would reveal to them something of the mystery which belonged to his own Person. And this particular revelation was called for by the fact that the disciples had encouraged the attempt of the people to make their Master a merely earthly king (John 6:15).

I. CHRIST'S BODILY PRESENCE DID BUT ILLUSTRATE HIS SPIRITUAL PRESENCE. It should be clearly seen that our Lord was with his disciples in a double sense. He was with them spiritually, just as he is still with us; but, besides that, he was with them in bodily relations, in ways that could be apprehended by their senses. That bodily presence was given to teach them what the spiritual presence is and involves. The record of that bodily presence is preserved that it might do the same thing for us. Christ, by coming on the sea, taught the disciples two things.

1. That he would be with them when they could not see him.

2. That they must not wonder if he came to them in strange forms and manifestations. He was teaching them how to use their wings in the spiritual atmosphere, as the mother bird teaches her fledgelings.

II. CHRIST'S BODILY PRESENCE WAS PRESENTLY TO PASS INTO A SPIRITUAL PRESENCE. The first suggestion was the loss of bodyweight which enabled Jesus to walk on the water. The second suggestion was the passing of the bodily into the spiritual at the Resurrection. The third was the passing of the spiritual body beyond the apprehension of the senses at the Ascension. The illustrative bodily presence has gone now, and gone forever; the reality of the spiritual presence of Christ is the possession and the glory of his Church today. - R.T.

And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled.
Here are presented two points.

I.Human need.

II.Divine help. These two facts are involved in the two aspects of humanity.

I. I ASK YOU TO CONSIDER THE ATTITUDE OF MAN TOWARDS THE SUPERNATURAL AND THE UNKNOWN. "They cried out for fear." This was the cry of men tossed and toiling on the wild deep, in the gloom of night. Very startling must have been to them the appearance of that form, advancing through the shadow and over the sea. But that was a cry of our common nature; it was a spontaneous human utterance from a mysterious depth, which under all forms of civilization, and all kinds of religion, abides in the soul of man. Every man awakens to the conviction that there is something beyond this world. It may not be a very practical conviction; thousands may live without any steady appreciation of that to which such a conviction points. But there are occasions when it is suddenly realized. There are three conditions of nature which are especially adapted to stir these feelings of mystery and awe, and all three are involved in the circumstances of the text. These are night, the night sky, and the sea.

1. Witness the common terror of the dead night-time and the dark, not a mere childish superstition, but a solemn awe creeping over the innermost fibres of the heart, "In thought from the visions of the night," said Eliphaz, "when deep sleep falleth on men," etc. Even the sceptical mind has acted upon the conviction that something must people that undefined space into which the visible world melts away.

2. Or, again, who has ever looked up through the darkness and gazed upon those orbs of light and glory that shame all splendours of the earth, without the spontaneous conviction of powers and intelligences dwelling outside these beaten ways of our traffic and our thought? What influences rain upon us from those starry depths? What unseen messengers glide down these awful solitudes?

3. Or, once more, consider that element in which the greatness and the mystery of nature and of life are represented. What suggestions of the supernatural and the unknown rise upon us from the bosom of the sea. What intimations beyond our sight; what a conviction of our impotence. Regarding thus this attitude of human need, WHAT HELP HAS BEEN FOUND FOR IT?TWO answers have come — one from the side of human sentiment, the other from human reason.

1. One answer elicited in this attitude of human need appears in various forms of superstition. Rock-temples and bloody altars, and human sacrifices proclaim the fact that human nature does not all gravitate to sense and the darkness of annihilation. The superstitious sentiments need some explanation.

2. The answer that comes from the side of reason. Law, force, order, are sublime facts, but not enough for human nature. You cannot by scientific explanation of the seen repress man's earnest inquiry about the unseen. To our human need, and our attitude towards the supernatural, Christ has come. There is only one voice that can say, "Be of good cheer, be not afraid."

II. CONSIDER THE ATTITUDE OF MAN RESPECTING THE NATURAL AND THE KNOWN, AND HERE YOU WILL OBSERVE THE CONDITIONS OF HUMAN NEED AND DIVINE HELP. These men who "cried out for fear" had been "toiling in rowing." We are troubled here amidst the perplexities and trials of daily life. In one way or another many of us are "toiling in rowing" — the toil of pleasure — or we are rowing through heavy waves of care. Our need calls for Divine help. In seasons of gloom, looking out upon the world around us through shadows, we discern objects at which we shudder. That which excites our fears may be a blessing; but we know it not, and need the assurance that can bid us be of good cheer.

(E. H. Chapin)


1. HOW often is this done in the matter of sin and the cleansing of it. Our sin is real to us; but is Christ as real to us?

2. In the matter of our acceptance with God after pardon. Our shortcomings real; equally real the righteousness of Christ.

3. In the matter of sanctification.

4. In times of trial.

5. In time of death.

6. In Christian work.

II. WE MAKE CHRIST A PHANTOM MOST WHEN HE IS MOST REALLY CHRIST. When He walked on the waves there was more of Christ visible than on land; His Godhead visible. In the pardon of great sin you see most of Christ; so in great distress and danger.

III. OUR GREATEST SORROWS ARISE FROM OUR TREATING OUR LORD AS UNREAL. TO some Christ is an indifferent spirit. Many a poor sinner imagines Him to be an angry spirit and cries out for fear.

IV. If we could but be cured of this desperate mischief, our Lord Jesus Christ would have a higher place in our esteem, and many other beneficial results would follow:

1. Knowledge.

2. Worship.

3. Service.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The belief is quite general in the East that there exists a class of beings whom they call "Jins," both male and female, good and bad, which hold an intermediate position between angels and men, were created before the latter, are made of fire, or perhaps of gas, and are capable of assuming a variety of forms, or of becoming invisible at pleasure. They eat, drink, and marry — sometimes human beings — as well as die, though they live several centuries. Many events are accounted for in the East by the agency of the Jins; so that they do not exist in stories alone, but are recognized as active agents in human affairs,

(Van Lennep.)

It is a wonderful organ, this human voice — wonderful in itself, and no less so in its effects. It is wonderful as an exponent of individual mind and character, being somehow very closely connected with a man, and contributing largely to constitute that aggregate of special qualities we call individuality. So much so, that one is known, is revealed and recognized, by his voice almost as much as by anything outward.. And it is wonderful as an instrument for affecting others. The Saviour's voice on this occasion operated like a charm; it wrought like magic upon them. It is amazing what power the living voice, especially a long-known and much-loved voice, has to touch the heart, and to awaken confidence and peace, and emotions of all kinds, that may have been long dormant in the soul.

(A. L. R. Foote.)

Herod, Herodias, Jesus, John, Peter, Philip
Galilee, Genneseret, Jerusalem, Sea of Galilee
Afraid, Cheer, Courage, Danger, Fear, Heart, Immediately, Instantly, Saying, Spake, Spoke, Straight, Straightway
1. Herod's opinion of Jesus.
3. Wherefore John Baptist was beheaded.
13. Jesus departs into a solitary place,
15. where he feeds five thousand men with five loves and two fishes.
22. He walks on the sea to his disciples;
34. and landing at Gennesaret,
35. heals the sick who touch of the hem of his garment.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 14:27

     8221   courage, strength from God
     8416   encouragement, promises

Matthew 14:22-33

     2012   Christ, authority

Matthew 14:26-27

     8754   fear

July 23. "Bring them Hither to Me" (Matt. xiv. 18).
"Bring them hither to Me" (Matt. xiv. 18). Why have ye not received all the fulness of the Holy Spirit? And how may we be anointed with "the rest of the oil?" The greatest need is to make room when God makes it. Look around you at your situation. Are you not encompassed with needs at this very moment, and almost overwhelmed with difficulties, trials and emergencies? These are all divinely provided vessels for the Holy Spirit to fill, and if you would but rightly understand their meaning, they would
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Grave of the Dead John and the Grave of the Living Jesus
'And John's disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.'--MATT. xiv. 12. 'And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy.'--MATT. xxviii. 8. There is a remarkable parallel and still more remarkable contrast between these two groups of disciples at the graves of their respective masters. John the Baptist's followers venture into the very jaws of the lion to rescue the headless corpse of their martyred teacher from a prison grave. They bear it
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Peter on the Waves
'And Peter answered Him and said, Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water.'--MATT. xiv. 28. We owe this account of an episode in the miracle of Christ's walking on the waters to Matthew alone. Singularly enough there is no reference to Peter's venturesomeness and failure in the Gospel which is generally believed to have been written under his special inspection and suggestion. Mark passes by that part of the narrative without a word. That may be because Peter was somewhat ashamed
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Martyrdom of John
'At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, 2. And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. 3. For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. 4. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. 5. And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. 6.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Food of the World
'He gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 20. And they did all eat, and were filled; and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.'--MATT. xiv. 19, 20. The miracles of Scripture are not merely wonders, but signs. It is one of their most striking characteristics that they are not, like the pretended portents of false faiths, mere mighty deeds standing in no sort of intellectual relation to the message of which they claim to be the attestation,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The King's Highway
'And straightway Jesus constrained His disciples to get into a ship, and to go before Him unto the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 24. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 25. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 26. And when the disciples saw Him walking
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Again on Matt. xiv. 25: of the Lord Walking on the Waves of the Sea, and of Peter Tottering.
1. The Gospel which has just been read touching the Lord Christ, who walked on the waters of the sea; [2566] and the Apostle Peter, who as he was walking, tottered through fear, and sinking in distrust, rose again by confession, gives us to understand that the sea is the present world, and the Apostle Peter the type of the One Church. For Peter in the order of Apostles first, and in the love of Christ most forward, answers oftentimes alone for all the rest. Again, when the Lord Jesus Christ asked,
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. xiv. 24, "But the Boat was Now in the Midst of the Sea, Distressed by the Waves. "
1. The lesson of the Gospel which we have just heard is a lesson of humility to us all, that we may see and know where we are, and whither we must tend and hasten. For that ship which carries the disciples, which was tossed in the waves by a contrary wind, is not without its meaning. Nor without a meaning [2541] did the Lord after He had left the multitudes, go up into a mountain to pray alone; and then coming to His disciples found them in danger, walking on the sea, and getting up into the ship
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

Mr. Fearing Comforted
I think I shall be quite safe in concluding this morning, that there are some here who are full of doubting and fearing. Sure I am that all true Christians have their times of anxious questioning. The heart that hath never doubted has not yet learned to believe. As the farmers say, "The land that will not grow a thistle, will not grow wheat;" and the heart that cannot produce a doubt has not yet understood the meaning of believing. He that never doubted of his state--he may, perhaps he may, too late.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

First Withdrawal from Herod's Territory and Return.
(Spring, a.d. 29.) Subdivision A. Return of the Twelve and Retirement To the East Shore of Galilee. ^A Matt. XIV. 13; ^B Mark VI. 30-32; ^C Luke IX. 10; ^D John VI. 1. ^b 30 And the apostles gather themselves together unto Jesus; ^c when they were returned, ^b and they told { ^c declared unto} ^b him all things, whatsoever they had done, and whatsoever they had taught. [They had fulfilled the mission on which Jesus had sent them, and on returning each pair made to him a full report of their work.]
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Herod Antipas Supposes Jesus to be John.
^A Matt. XIV. 1-12; ^B Mark VI. 14-29; ^C Luke IX. 7-9. ^b 14 And ^c 7 Now ^a 1 At that season ^b King Herod [Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great. See page 63.] ^c the tetrarch heard of all that was done ^a heard the report concerning Jesus, ^b for his name had become known: ^c and he was perplexed, because that it was said by some, that John was risen from the dead; 8 and by some, that Elijah had appeared; and by others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. [The work of Jesus impressed
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

First Withdrawal from Herod's Territory and Return.
(Spring, a.d. 29.) Subdivision B. Feeding the Five Thousand. ^A Matt. XIV. 13-21; ^B Mark VI. 33-44; ^C Luke IX. 11-17; ^D John VI. 2-14. ^c 11 But { ^a and} the multitudes heard thereof [heard of Jesus and his disciples crossing the lake], ^b 33 And they saw them going, and ^c perceiving it, ^b many knew them, ^d 2 And a great multitude followed him, because they beheld the signs which he did on them that were sick. ^b and they ran together there on foot from all the cities, and outwent them. ^a
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Miraculous Feeding of the Five Thousand
In the circumstances described in the previous chapter, Jesus resolved at once to leave Capernaum; and this probably alike for the sake of His disciples, who needed rest; for that of the people, who might have attempted a rising after the murder of the Baptist; and temporarily to withdraw Himself and His followers from the power of Herod. For this purpose He chose the place outside the dominions of Antipas, nearest to Capernaum. This was Beth-Saida (the house of fishing,' Fisher-town,' [3198] as
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The Night of Miracles on the Lake of Gennesaret
THE last question of the Baptist, spoken in public, had been: Art Thou the Coming One, or look we for another?' It had, in part, been answered, as the murmur had passed through the ranks: This One is truly the Prophet, the Coming One!' So, then, they had no longer to wait, nor to look for another! And this Prophet' was Israel's long expected Messiah. What this would imply to the people, in the intensity and longing of the great hope which, for centuries, nay, far beyond the time of Ezra, had swayed
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The Preachings on the Lake.
Such was the group which, on the borders of the lake of Tiberias, gathered around Jesus. The aristocracy was represented there by a customs-officer and by the wife of one of Herod's stewards. The rest were fishermen and common people. Their ignorance was extreme; their intelligence was feeble; they believed in apparitions and spirits.[1] Not one element of Greek culture had penetrated this first assembly of the saints. They had very little Jewish instruction; but heart and good-will overflowed. The
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus

Be of Good Cheer.
"BE of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid" (Matthew xiv:27). "Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God believe also in Me. In my father's house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John xiv:1-3). "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart
Arno Gaebelein—The Lord of Glory

The Rationalistic Explanation.
PAULUS. But the champions of this theory may admit all this, and yet fasten the delusion upon the disciples of Christ, who were so dazzled by his character, words, and works, that they mistook an extraordinary man for a divine being, and extraordinary medical cures for supernatural miracles. This is the view of the older German Rationalism.[75]75 It forms a parallel to the heathen rationalism of Euhemerus, of the Cyrenaic school: he explained the gods of the Greek mythology as human sages, heroes,
Philip Schaff—The Person of Christ

From the things last spoken, we gather no trifling conjecture concerning the situation of the town of Capernaum. Josephus relates that the country of Gennesar, which we have described, was watered "with a spring of excellent water; the people thereabouts call it Capernaum." From that either the city hath its name, or rather that hath its name from the city; and the city from the pleasantness of the place. The evangelists, compared together, do make it clear, that this city was seated in the land
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

The Grave of John, and Another Grave
(MATTHEW XIV. 12.) "When some beloved voice, that was to you Both sound and sweetness, faileth suddenly, And silence, against which you dare not cry, Aches round you like a strong disease and new,-- What hope, what help, what music will undo That silence to your sense? Not friendship's sigh, Not reason's subtle count.... Nay, none of these! Speak, Thou availing Christ!--and fill this pause." E. B. BROWNING. "Tell Jesus"--The Sin-Bearer--The Resurrection of Jesus--The Followers of John, and of
F. B. Meyer—John the Baptist

The Confidence of Prayer. --Matt. xiv. 22
The Confidence of Prayer.--Matt. xiv. 22. Why thus, my soul, cast down? And why disquieted? Black though the tempest frown, The surge pass o'er thy head; Wait the fourth watch;--for One who saves Comes to thee, walking on the waves. Lord! Lord! if it be Thou, Bid me come down to Thee; Jesus! I know Thee now, And walk upon the sea; Faith fails; ah me! the gulf runs high, Save, Lord, I sink! O save, I die! I grasp thy outstretch'd hand; We climb the vessel's side; And lo! we touch the land, The
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns

The Glory of Penitents and Pious People.
Who are they that compose yonder bright multitude? They are headed by a queen who does not wear a virgin's crown; and yet, she is so beautiful, and enjoys so intimate a union with Jesus. Who is she? She is Mary Magdalen, the bright queen of Penitents, and the star of hope to all who have grievously sinned in this world. She was once a sinner, and such a sinner! Her soul was the home of seven devils! She was a hireling of Satan, to catch the souls of men. But a flash of light came forth from the Heart
F. J. Boudreaux—The Happiness of Heaven

Christ's Encouragements
'Son, be of good cheer.'--MATT. ix. 2. This word of encouragement, which exhorts to both cheerfulness and courage, is often upon Christ's lips. It is only once employed in the Gospels by any other than He. If we throw together the various instances in which He thus speaks, we may get a somewhat striking view of the hindrances to such a temper of bold, buoyant cheerfulness which the world presents, and of the means for securing it which Christ provides. But before I consider these individually, let
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

DANCING is the expression of inward feelings by means of rhythmical movements of the body. Usually these movements are in measured step, and are accompanied by music. In some form or another dancing is as old as the world, and has been practiced by rude as well as by civilized peoples. The passion for amateur dancing always has been strongest among savage nations, who have made equal use of it in religious rites and in war. With the savages the dancers work themselves into a perfect frenzy, into
J. M. Judy—Questionable Amusements and Worthy Substitutes

The Chronology
45. The length of the public ministry of Jesus was one of the earliest questions which arose in the study of the four gospels. In the second and third centuries it was not uncommon to find the answer in the passage from Isaiah (lxi. 1, 2), which Jesus declared was fulfilled in himself. "The acceptable year of the Lord" was taken to indicate that the ministry covered little more than a year. The fact that the first three gospels mention but one Passover (that at the end), and but one journey to Jerusalem,
Rush Rhees—The Life of Jesus of Nazareth

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