Kefa Gets Wet and Declares His Loyalty

In my last post, we looked at Kefa’s Involvement with Yeshua’s Healing of a Woman and Ya’ir’s (Jarius’s) Daughter. In this post, we learn that Kefa Gets Wet and Declares His Loyalty.

Immediately following the feeding of the five thousand, Yeshua had the talmidim get in the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up into the hills by Himself to pray. Night came on, and He was there alone. 24 But by this time, the boat was several miles from shore, battling a rough sea and a headwind.

Harsh storms often arise suddenly on the Sea of Galilee.

25 Around four o’clock in the morning, He came toward them, walking on the lake! 26 When the talmidim saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said and screamed with fear. 27 But at once, Yeshua spoke to them. “Courage,” He said, “it is I. Stop being afraid.”

Belief in ghosts or disembodied spirits was common on a popular level in antiquity, even though the idea of ghosts contradicted popular Jewish teachings about the resurrection from the dead. [1] It is I is the equivalent of saying I Am.

28 Then Kefa called to him, “Lord, if it is really you, tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come!” He said. So Kefa got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Yeshua. 30 But when he saw the wind, he became afraid; and as he began to sink, he yelled, “Lord! Save me!” 31 Yeshua immediately stretched out His hand, took hold of him, and said to him, “Such little trust! Why did you doubt?” 32 As they went up into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 The men in the boat fell down before Him and exclaimed, “You really are God’s son!” ~ Matthew 14:22-33 (CJB)

Such little trust! Kefa has, even though a moment before he had much to get out of the boat. Faith is only present-tense; it does not build up like a bank account (see James 1:6-7). Yeshua’s rebuke restored it and Kefa walked back to the boat holding Yeshua’s hand.

Despite Kefa’s failure to follow through, by beginning to walk on water, he had done something that not even the greatest prophets of the Tanakh had done. Would you or I have faith to get out of the boat in the middle of a storm?

Walking on water might remind readers of Isra’el passing through the Red Sea or the Yarden, but this was a greater miracle. Faith to step into the water could also evoke Joshua 3:13-17.

The talimidim’s confession of Yeshua as God’s Son is not surprising. The title Son of God often serves as a messianic title in the Brit Hadashah, but here it also implies Yeshua’s deity. The talmidim likely interpreted the miracle in light of Job 9:8, which states that Adonai walked on the sea as if it were dry land. Their worship of Yeshua also confirmed their growing recognition of His divine nature.

After they had crossed the Sea of Galilee, Yeshua gave His famous discourse that He was the Bread of Life. Many of the talmidim found this saying too hard to understand or accept. We learn 66 From this time on, many of his talmidim turned back and no longer traveled around with him. 67 So Yeshua said to the Twelve, “Don’t you want to leave too?”

Yeshua succeeded in winnowing out those who were not sincere or who found too high the cost of eating his flesh and drinking his blood. Literally, this sounds very cannibalistic. Many must have recalled their history when their ancestors were forced to become cannibals to survive. Fortunately, we now know that He was speaking symbolically of giving up His body and blood on the execution stake to cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

68 Shim’on Kefa answered him, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the word of eternal life. 69 We have trusted, and we know that You are the Holy One of God.” 70 Yeshua answered them, “Didn’t I choose you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is an adversary.” ~ John 6:66-70 (CJB)

Kefa’s confession of Yeshua as the Holy One of God anticipates later references to Yeshua being set apart for Adonai. In the Tanakh, Adonai was called “the Holy One of Israel” (Ps 71:22; Isa. 43:3; 54:5). Kefa’s confession of faith in Yeshua may be compared with Matt. 16:16, Mark 8:29, and Luke 9:20.

In my next post, we pick up our chronological journey of Kefa in the Gospels when he once again asks Yeshua to explain a parable.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Bible Background Commentary – New Testament.

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