Matthew 14:22-34 08/06/2023 Osaka Church
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
In the pitch-black darkness of the night, while Jesus’ disciples were entrusting their boat to the gentle breeze, a storm suddenly struck. To and fro, back and forth, the boat was tossed about by giant waves. The disciples must have been trembling and clinging helplessly to the side of the boat for hours. …When it finally began to lighten, the disciples saw some human-like figure approaching the boat, and cried out in terror. “Monster!”
But it was Jesus who came walking on the sea. It took a voice. “Don’t worry. It is I (I am). Don’t be afraid.”
Hearing this, Peter asked, “Then let me walk on water, too.” Looking at Jesus beckoning “Come on”, Peter slowly puts his feet in the water. Surprisingly, he could stand on the water and could walk! …But it was only for a short time, and when Peter turned his eyes away from the Lord, he was frightened by the waves that rushed into his field of vision and the sound of the wind, and he sank into the water. At Peter’s cry for help, Jesus reached out his hand and caught his arm. “Oh You of little faith, why did you doubt?” The two boarded the boat.
Indeed, this terrible storm represents this world and our lives as we struggle to cross it “to the other shore”. We find ourselves in the midst of the deep darkness of this world, frozen in fear, confusion, anxiety, and haste, crying out, wandering aimlessly, and sometimes impulsively charging into the darkness. And eventually, we are exhausted and collapse.
“Don’t be afraid. I am.” Let us embrace in the deepest part of our hearts these words of the Lord, who approached the boat of his disciples.
“Don’t be afraid. I am.”
Just say “I am”, and do not say “I am powerful” or “I am God”. However, when the disciples heard this call, “I am” they should have immediately realized who was standing before them.This is because the one named “I am” that the Bible teaches is God alone (Exodus 3:14).
Look at Jesus. Rely on Him, cling to Him. Jesus does not drive us away; He does not belittle us, does not find us annoying, and always looks at us. He cries for our sake, suffers and dies for us; that beloved Jesus. He is always there for us, anywhere, at any time, even when our feet are paralyzed by fear or consumed by anger and hatred, He says, “Don’t be afraid. I am” When we hear this voice, even if we are on the brink of death, we are rescued from fear and hatred as in an embrace.
Perhaps you do not hear such a voice. You can’t hear it if you don’t want to. You have to honestly admit to yourself that you are in anxiety, fear, and confusion. You can’t hear it unless you gracefully admit to your self that you are overwhelmed and exhausted. you can’t hear it unless you properly admit that your heart is consumed with hatred and anger.
Then, when you frankly admit to yourself that you are completely powerless against yourself, then speak to your heart. “Don’t be afraid, I am.” Say it slowly and repeatedly. “Don’t be afraid. I am.” Gradually, your heart warms up. Soon the voice will not be your own, but will be the silent call of Christ, the one who never leaves us, never forgets, even though we do not know it, even though we forget it. He will come. “Don’t be afraid, it’s me. Be of good courage, I am”.
A wonderful gift awaits. Warm tears will overflow.