Daily Word

Fear of the known | Matthew 14:22-27

22 Immediately afterward He compelled the disciples to get into the boat and to go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already [l]a long distance from the land, [m]battered by the waves; for the wind was [n]contrary.

25 And in the [o]fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out [p]in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, [q]it is I; do not be afraid.”

Matthew 14:22-27 (NASB)


Jesus was mourning the death of John the Baptist, His cousin. The crowds followed Him and He had compassion and healed them. Then He fed them (the previous passage). You can imagine He’d be pretty tired, even exhausted – physically and emotionally. Despite this, rather than taking a nap, He compels (forces) His disciples to leave for the other side of the lake, to Gennesaret. He then proceeds to disperse the crowds.

Alone again

In what seems as a continuation of the grieving process before he fed the multitude, Jesus seeks a quiet place for alone time. He gets His well-deserved break and lays down to sleep. Is that what Matthew writes? No. Jesus prays. He must still be processing this all and what better way to process it than in prayer. Oh, if we could just learn from the Master!

The miracles

It was between 3 and 6am. Jesus was on one side of the lake and needed to get to His disciples whom He (also miraculously) knew were struggling somewhere in the middle of the lake. If He took a boat, He’d meet the same opposition from the wind and waves. So He walked across the water. But the Sea of Galilee is 8 miles wide (maybe 6 miles near the top where He crossed). Considering the average walking speed is about 3 mph, it would take at least 1 hour for Him to catch up. So maybe He was transported by angels. He at least must have been directed somehow since it was dark.

Fear of the known

Usually fear is associated with the unknown. In this case, there’s a twist. The disciples saw what appeared to be Jesus but assumed was a ghost since no man can walk on water. It turns out it was indeed Jesus. They feared what they knew, Jesus, which of course is the right thing to do. Tomorrow we’ll see how they indeed worship Him and how Peter responded.


  • When we are mourning, tired, spiritually low, even depressed, what do we do? Do we “take it to the Lord in prayer”? We should follow His earthly example as a man, like us: He sought the Father in prayer.
  • Do we worship Jesus the Son of Man who walked this earth, lived like us, suffered, was even tempted (yet did not sin)? The one, the Word, through whom all was created (John 1:1-3) and through whom all is sustained (Coll 1:17)?
Fear of heights on edge of mountain. Image from Pxfuel.com

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