Years ago I heard bro. Ward Hogland preach a sermon using the above title. The title was taken from Matt. 14:30 where Peter began to walk on water. Even though I do not recall all the contents of the sermon I do remember the sermon was about what happens when one takes his eyes off Jesus. Thus the idea for this article.
Before proceeding, I suggest you open your New Testament and read Matt. 14:22-33 to get the setting for this article. The account of Jesus walking on water is also found in Mk. 6:45-51 and Jn. 6:15-21, but Matthew is the only one that records Peter walking on water and this is the portion of the story I want to notice. In Matt. 14:28-31 we read “And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to you on the water.’ So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’”
Note the words that I highlighted (v. 30a) in the quote. According to the footnote in my Bible (NKJ) the words “that” and “boisterous” are questionable in some ancient manuscripts. Thus, when they are eliminated you have the title of this article “When he saw the wind.” There are some excellent lessons in those few words.
Just previous to the statement, “When he saw the wind,” Peter had observed Jesus walking on the water and he wanted to do likewise. So Jesus said “Come!” Peter took him at his word, climbed out of the boat and began to walk on water. But, then something happened. Peter began to sink. Why? He saw the wind. What does that mean? Peter seeing the wind means that he had taken his eyes off Jesus who had given him the ability to walk on water. When he took his eyes off Jesus, his faith faltered and was replaced by doubt and fear. This caused him to sink. I know this is so, because after Jesus rescued him, He said to Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
In Heb. 12:1-2, our life is described as a race to be run. We are to “…run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” In other word, as we run the face we are to keep our eyes focused on Jesus who is waiting to welcome us across the finish line. Sometimes as we run things seem to go so well for us that we feel like we could walk on water (figuratively speaking), Things just couldn’t get any better. But suddenly something unexpected appears on the race track. A wind begins to blow. It may be a troubling wind of fear, doubt, despair, discouragement, designed to get us to take our eyes off our Savior. If we allow this to happen, our faith will falter and we will sink under the pressure just as Peter did. Peter took his eyes off Jesus when he saw the boisterous waves, and we fail in our lives when we take our eyes off Jesus and instead behold the troubles of this world.
At times our faith may be tested by the boisterous wind of fear. Fear of ridicule and persecution can cause us to sink if we lose sight of Jesus. Words and actions can hurt us physically but they cannot harm us eternally if we keep our eyes on Jesus. Paul told Timothy that “…God has not given us a spirit or fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Tim. 1:7. Instead of fearing what man does to us, trust in the Lord. As Paul wrote, “If God be for us, who can be against us?...Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” Rom. 8:31, 37.
Sometimes the winds of doubts may arise to test our faith. John the Baptist had this problem when he was in prison. Was Jesus the Messiah? he wondered. He sent disciples to Jesus to ask Him, “Are you the coming one or do we seek for another?” Jesus sent them back and said for them to tell John “the things which you hear and see.” Matt. 11:3,4. There is no reason to let the winds of doubt take away our faith. We have the word of God, Jn. 20:30-31, written to convince us of who Jesus is and what He has done for us. Be as Paul and say “…Nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep what I have committed unto Him until that day.” 2 Tim. 1:12.
There are other winds that might cause us to take our eyes off Jesus. Winds of despair and discouragement confront us almost daily. But, they are simply tools the devil uses to cause us to take our eyes off Jesus, so that our faith will falter. Jesus told Peter, a few hours before His betrayal by Judas that Satan has asked for him, “that he may sift you as wheat.” Lk.22:31-32. Peter didn’t believe it would happen, but it did. When they came for Jesus in the Garden, Peter once more saw the wind. He despaired and became discouraged over the things happening. He took his eyes off Jesus and denied Him three times during Jesus’ trial. His faith weakened, but it did not fail completely. He got a grip on himself and later became the rock Jesus said he would be.
Seeing the wind and sinking because of it is seen in another way when Jesus told the parable of soils in Lk. 8:13-14. The hearts represented by the rocky soil and the thorny ground are illustrations of what happens when one sees the wind, rather than looking on Jesus. “But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.”
When Peter began to sink he realized how helpless he was, so he called upon Jesus to save Him. When he looked back to Jesus he was saved. The same can happen to us. Don’t look at the wind, look to Jesus.
The home was the last and highest creation of God when from the dust of the ground Adam was formed and then from his side came woman. In the garden of Eden Jehovah placed the man and woman together as a union of the majesty of Heaven’s wisdom, eternity’s grace and man’s utmost blessing of the Creator upon His creation. Through the vicious hatred of God Satan marred this union in the temptation of woman and downfall of man. As a result of sin, God said to the woman “your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you" (Genesis 3:16). Paul later explained: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” (1 Timothy 2:13-14).
The headship of man is outlined in 1 Corinthians 11:3 - “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” Paul admonishes the husbands to “love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her ... For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior ... husbands should love their wives as their own bodies” (Ephesians 5:25,23, 28). In the home, the fathers take the role of spiritual leadership with the children as he will “not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
As a husband, the man takes the role of leadership for his wife; as a father, the man teaches the spiritual needs of the children. The leadership of the home is given by God to the man. Upon his shoulders is borne the command of God to lead the home. The world of our day has rejected God’s plan and homes are filled with despair, disarray and disharmony because men have abdicated their role as the spiritual leaders of the home. The man has become either a brute beast or a coward to fulfill the role given to him by God.
The spiritual relationship of the home is established when the husband treats the wife in the same way Christ treats the church. Christ’s life was forfeit for the church; the man forfeits his life to help his mate become the woman she needs to be before God. He loves his wife with the love Christ has for the church. He exercises his headship as lovingly and compassionate as Christ does the church. The husband nourishes his wife with tender care (“and is not bitter against her” – Colossians 3:19) and cherishes his wife. He supplies every care the wife needs. This headship is given to man and when he fails to follow this pattern, he rejects the will of God.
The spiritual relationship of the home is established when the man takes his role as a father to guide the lives of the children to the heavenly Father. This role was not given to the woman but the man. Isaiah the prophet said, “The father makes known to the children thy faithfulness” (Isaiah 38:19). From the lips of the fathers come the instructions of righteousness and truth. Children should see the father becoming the spiritual man of the home to guide the family to the throne of God.
Many homes do not have the leadership given by the Lord to the man. The church is being attacked through the abandonment of men who through selfish desires fail to care for their wives and children. These truths are as ancient as time itself. When the home is filled with rebellion, the world will follow suit. The home founded upon the pattern given by God will bring peace and happiness. The man must take his role of headship seriously, as God has given him direction. There will not be a second chance to be the kind of husband or father a man should be. Today is the day for the man to take his role as the spiritual leader of his family.