Knowing Christ's Voice
"And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus."
Matthew 14:25-29 NASB
The five senses, sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch all serve to help you interpret information and orient you to your environment, interest, direction of thought, inclination, or interest (Merriam-Webster dictionary).
Why is being oriented so important? It helps one to use cognition(the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses). Being oriented helps you and I to calculate factors such as safety that lead to clear discernment necessary for prudent decisions before taking action.
Emotion factors into our ability to correctly or incorrectly interpret the senses. According to psychologist Paul Eckman, there are a number of universal emotions throughout human cultures. These emotions include fear, disgust, anger, surprise, happiness, sadness, embarrassment, excitement, contempt, shame, pride, satisfaction and amusement.
For this context, I will suggest supplementing joy for happiness and discouragement for sadness. I have highlighted five emotions of which are addressed Biblically.
Can you imagine being in a boat with a couple of other guys being battered by waves while trying to cross a body of water on your way to meet Jesus on the other side? I can imagine having a few things run through my mind like, “Jesus help me!”, “ Will the boat tip over?” “ Am I going to drown?”, “What am I doing here?”, “What can I do?”, “How far am I from shore?”
In regards to the emotions that the disciples may have well experienced, would you agree with me that at least two would be fear and discouragement? Fear is obvious, but discouragement? Yes! I would be discouraged because Jesus sent me away and chose not to come with the other disciples and myself. My discouragement may fuel a bit of anger because now, after being sent out by Jesus, I am confronted with a possibly life threatening situation.
All the sudden, we see an image walking on the water. That isn't possible. It must be a ghost! While being escalated by fear, the ghost speaks. What did it say? Who identified the voice? Who was it?
While being in a boat being battered by waves, having what appears to be a ghost on the water speaking to you, and being with others that should be there to support him, Peter recognizes the voice of Jesus. How is it that Peter was able to recognize Jesus and not the others? Why didn’t Peter ask Jesus to confirm Himself by coming closer? Did Peter consult with the others before exiting the boat?
Peter had an intimate relationship with Jesus. He was able to recognise Jesus’ voice even in the midst of chaos. Battling what his senses were telling him, as a method of confirmation, Peter asked Jesus to tell him to walk on the water. Why would Peter do that? A very bold request. Peter was no dummy. He knew man could not walk on the water. In 1 John 4, John writes to inform us to “test the spirits” to see whether they are from God. That is what Peter was doing. But why request such an impossible action? To show himself and the witnesses on the boat which at this, point are terrified by the circumstances, who is in the midst.
Peter knew it was Jesus, not by recognising by sight, but by hearing His voice.
The foundation of faith in Christ is the relationship. If a relationship is based on mere acquaintance, how can one be so sure if it's strength?
A intimate relationship with Jesus allows me to grow into a deeper knowledge and understanding of who He is and who He wants me to be. His role model teaches me:
1) Relationship: Christ's relationship with His Father was the foundation of His identity. Relationship requires trust, surrender and submission, and commitment (obedience).
2) Identity: Christ's identity established His value. One must know his/her identity. Is it his culture, his community, his employment, race, religion, or God's unconditional love?
3) Value: Christ's value established His purpose. One must understand his/her value was established with the cost of Christ's sacrificial love, death on the cross. Christ's went to where He was sent regardless of the cost. Christ only did as His Father instructed. Why? Christ was committed to only doing His father's will. That took a deep, intimate, trusting relationship.
4) Purpose: One must know what he/she is to do and where he is to do it and with whom? Christ went to where His father prepared a place for Him. What significant thing is he to do? If I'm to do something, I should have a reason. Does this young man have a place which is prepared for him? Home, provision?
5) Responsibility: Christ had a responsibility. Christ had to fulfill the will of His Father in order to obtain His objectives, not His own will (Luke 22:42). One can never have a sense of accomplishment without understanding the purpose of his/her responsibility. One must know that by putting God first in his/her life and following God with all his/her heart, mind, and body, that God honors His obedient followers? John 13:17
© Clint Fleming
© Clint Fleming