But 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 heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14:26-27)





first sunday in martyrs’ tide

Sermon Starter

When we consider the saints who have gone before us, we often hold them in great honor and esteem.  This is especially true of those mentioned in the Bible – such as the Apostles. Yet, in today’s Gospel reading we see that those giants of the faith are really no different from us. They too, like us, can be quite fragile.

For no matter what great things they may have done, no matter what great things God did through them, they too struggled with trusting in God. They, too, were distracted by the storms of life.

On any number of occasions, those “stalwart” saints of old could be found trembling, with Jesus asking them: “O you of little faith why do you doubt?”

Today’s Gospel reading occurs immediately after what was considered in last week’s sermon, Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000.

To accomplish His purposes, Jesus sent the crowds away. He also had His disciples board a boat, telling them to go ahead of Him to the town of Bethsaida across the Sea of Galilee. He would remain behind so that He might have some time to pray to His heavenly Father. About two-thirds of a mile from shore, a powerful storm blew in and the disciples found themselves fighting a terrific headwind and great waves.

Try to imagine their situation. They’d been rowing for hours and now it was “the fourth watch of the night”  (roughly between 3:00 am and 6:00 am). No doubt they were dog-tired and they were still only about half way across the lake to the shore and safety.

Then, Jesus came to them, walking on the water!

Collect of the Day

Almighty and most merciful God, preserve us from all harm and danger that we, being ready in both body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish what You want done; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.