Daily Worship

A Split Second

Jock Stein July 15, 2021 0 0
Image credit: Unsplash
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Matthew 14: 22-33 (NRSVA)

22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25 And early in the morning he came walking towards them on the lake. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’

28 Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ 29 He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus. 30 But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ 32 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’

In Mark and Matthew’s Gospels, the word ‘immediately’ is common – as in verses 22, 27 and 31. With Jesus, every second counted. Not least his time by himself with God on the mountain, while the disciples were struggling in a boat against the wind. Suddenly they see Jesus, seeming to appear out of a hole in space and time. ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid’ – spoken in one second, five words in Greek, maybe fewer in Aramaic. It only takes a split second for Jesus to say the same to us today.


Peter’s act of faith, and Jesus’ response, is instantaneous. But time comes into it when his faith turns to fear, and he ‘begins’ to sink. At once he cries for help, and immediately Jesus responds. While this story clearly teaches how quickly Jesus is able to help us, the Gospel writer’s main concern is with the person of Jesus as Son of God, and the value of recognising who he is.




God, so often and in so many places the wind seems set against your rule. Guide those who have the power to make things better or worse, and raise up good leaders for the days to come. In your providential care, use the storms we face to restore a public faith, and where someone is crying for help this very second, reach out your hand immediately, for you are indeed a very present help in trouble. Amen.