What does the sea represent spiritually in Scripture? See Psa 65:7, Isa 57:20, Rev 17:1,15. What would be the normal plight of an ordinary man attempting to walk upon the waters of the sea, and what does this teach us about the normal plight of ordinary men in the world? Observe the description of the disciples’ experience in the sea: their boat was “battered” by the waves (Mat 14:24) and they were “straining” at the oars (Mar 6:48); the Greek word used in both of these instances means literally “tormented”. How is this a fitting description of mankind’s plight in this fallen world? How is it a fitting description of his ultimate end when he is finally overcome by the waters of the world and drowns in them? See Mat 8:6 and 29 for the other occurrences of this word in Matthew, as well as Luk 16:23-24,28 and Rev 14:10,19:10. What spiritual truths does this miracle teach us about Jesus’ nature that allowed Him to walk above the waters of this world and His ultimate power and authority over the nations? Why is this miracle especially significant in light of the temptation He had just overcome from the multitude that wanted to make Him king?
What was the disciples’ reaction when they saw Jesus walking on the sea? See Mat 14:26, Mar 6:49-50a. What did they initially think that they were seeing? How does their initial perception authenticate the veracity of this miracle? With what words did Jesus comfort the disciples not to be afraid? See Mat 14:27, and observe that “It is I” is in Greek “ego eimi”, literally “I AM”; cf. Joh 8:24,58. In this light, what is the significance of Mark’s remark in Mar 6:48 that when He came to them walking on the sea “He intended to pass by them”? See Ex 33:19,22, and 34:6 where the same Greek word is used in the LXX, and also Mar 6:52, Matt 14:33. What “insight” does Mark refer to there that they had not gained from the incident of the loaves? See Joh 6:32-35. Recall in the Exodus passage that Moses had asked to see God’s glory (Exo 33:18); what does this incident of Jesus manifesting His glory to His disciples by walking above the waters of this world teach us about the nature of glory and the manner in which one is able to become a “partaker…of the glory that is to be revealed” (1Pe 5:1) when Christ is revealed (see Col 3:3-4)?
What was Peter’s response when Jesus encouraged them not to fear and identified Himself saying “evgw, eivmi”? See Mat 14:28. What was so amazing and completely unnatural about his response? Think: would that have been our response? What might Peter’s response indicate about the understanding he was coming to about who Jesus actually was? Observe that the Greek reads literally, “Lord, if YOU ARE, command me…”; cf. also his great confession in Mat 16:16 shortly after this in Caesarea Philippi. In what way is all the Law of God given to sinful man like a command to walk on water? Think: is it any more possible for a natural man to keep the law of God than it is for him to walk on water? See Psa 51:5, Ecc 7:20, Isa 64:6, Rom 3:23, 8:7, 1Jo 1:8. In this light, what is the spiritual significance of Peter’s response, and what does it indicate about the great faith and heart’s desire that he had for God? While it is impossible for a natural man to walk on water, is it impossible for a spiritual man who has been commanded by God to do so? See Mat 14:29. While it is impossible for a natural man to observe God’s righteous and holy law, is it impossible for a spiritual man who has been commanded by God to do so? See Rom 8:4. What insight does this give us into Moses’ words in Deut 30:11-14 after he had reiterated the requirements of the law? In what way should Peter’s response as he was coming to understand who Jesus was also be our response? After calling out to Jesus as Peter did saying, “Lord, if it is You—if YOU ARE—command me to come to you on the water”, and He commands us to come, what do we need to do? See again Mat 14:29.
What happened once Peter got out on the water? See Mat 14:30. Why did he become afraid and begin to sink? How is that like us as we seek to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and obey His command to walk above the waters of the world in holiness and righteousness? What do the wind and the waves that frightened Peter represent in a spiritual sense? See Eph 4:14, Jam 1:6, Jud 1:12-13. In what way are such winds contrary today so that we too are battered as we seek to stay afloat and keep from drowning in the sea of the world (Mat 14:24)? What did Peter do when He began to sink, and how is that an example for us to follow? What did Jesus do when Peter called out to Him, and how is that an example of what He will do for us? See Mat 14:31. With what words did Jesus chastise Peter? In light of Peter actually getting out of the boat to walk on the water towards Jesus, would we say his faith was small, or great? What does this teach us about how small even our notion of a great faith actually is? Cf. Mat 17:20. What insight does this give us into the much deeper meaning of Paul’s familiar words in Rom 10:5-13 where he quotes the passage from Deut 30:11-14? Think: in what way is Peter’s example in Mat 14:28-31 illustrative of the true saving faith of which Paul concludes that “whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom 10:13)? Is this the way most Christians today understand this familiar verse?