Matthew 14:24
But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
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(24) Tossed with waves.—Literally, vexed, or tormented.

Matthew 14:24. But the ship — In which the disciples were; was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves, &c. — A striking emblem of his church, in the sea of this world, tossed, as it often is, on the waves of affliction and trouble, and assailed by the contrary wind of persecution. It is worthy of notice here, 1st, That the disciples were now where Christ had sent them, and yet they met with this storm. Had they been flying from their Master and their work, as Jonah was when he was arrested by the storm, it would have been less surprising that they should be thus assaulted; but they had a special command from their Master to go to sea at this time, and were going about his work, and yet a storm overtakes them! We see, therefore, that Christ’s disciples may meet with troubles and afflictions in the way of their duty; and be sent to sea when their Master foresees a storm. They ought not, however, to take it unkindly; for what he does they know not now, but they shall know hereafter that Christ designs hereby to manifest himself with the more wonderful grace to them and for them. 2d, This storm did not attack them immediately on their setting out: they had got into the midst of the sea when it arose. We may have fair weather in the beginning of our course, and yet meet with storms before we arrive at the port we are bound for. Therefore let not him that girds on the harness boast as he that puts it off: after a long calm, expect some storm or other. 3d, It was a great discouragement to the disciples, that now they had not Christ with them, as they had formerly when they were in a storm: for though he was then asleep, he was soon waked, Matthew 8:24, but now he was at a distance from them. Thus Christ inures his disciples first to lesser difficulties, and then to greater, and so trains them by degrees to live and walk by faith, and not by sight. 4th, Though the wind was contrary, and they were tossed with waves; yet, being ordered by their Master to go to the other side, they did not tack about and come back again, but made the best of their way forward. Hereby we learn, that though troubles and difficulties may assault and annoy us in our duty, they must net drive us from it; but through the midst of them we must press forward.

14:22-33 Those are not Christ's followers who cannot enjoy being alone with God and their own hearts. It is good, upon special occasions, and when we find our hearts enlarged, to continue long in secret prayer, and in pouring out our hearts before the Lord. It is no new thing for Christ's disciples to meet with storms in the way of duty, but he thereby shows himself with the more grace to them and for them. He can take what way he pleases to save his people. But even appearances of deliverance sometimes occasion trouble and perplexity to God's people, from mistakes about Christ. Nothing ought to affright those that have Christ near them, and know he is theirs; not death itself. Peter walked upon the water, not for diversion or to boast of it, but to go to Jesus; and in that he was thus wonderfully borne up. Special supports are promised, and are to be expected, but only in spiritual pursuits; nor can we ever come to Jesus, unless we are upheld by his power. Christ bade Peter come, not only that he might walk upon the water, and so know his Lord's power, but that he might know his own weakness. And the Lord often lets his servants have their choice, to humble and prove them, and to show the greatness of his power and grace. When we look off from Christ, and look at the greatness of opposing difficulties, we shall begin to fall; but when we call to him, he will stretch out his arm, and save us. Christ is the great Saviour; those who would be saved, must come to him, and cry to him, for salvation; we are never brought to this, till we find ourselves sinking: the sense of need drives us to him. He rebuked Peter. Could we but believe more, we should suffer less. The weakness of faith, and the prevailing of our doubts, displease our Lord Jesus, for there is no good reason why Christ's disciples should be of a doubtful mind. Even in a stormy day he is to them a very present help. None but the world's Creator could multiply the loaves, none but its Governor could tread upon the waters of the sea: the disciples yield to the evidence, and confess their faith. They were suitably affected, and worshipped Christ. He that comes to God, must believe; and he that believes in God, will come, Heb 11:6.But the ship was now in the midst of the sea - John says they had sailed about 25 or 30 furlongs. About 7 1/2 Jewish furlongs made a mile; so that the distance they had salted was not more than about 4 miles. At no place is the Sea of Tiberias much more than 10 miles in breadth, so that they were literally in the midst of the sea. Mt 14:22-26. Jesus Crosses to the Western Side of the Lake Walking on the Sea—Incidents on Landing. ( = Mr 6:45; Joh 6:15-24).

For the exposition, see on [1303]Joh 6:15-24.

See Poole on "Matthew 14:27".

But the ship was now in the midst of the sea,.... That is, the ship in which the disciples were put into, to go on the other side, had by this time got into the midst of the sea: the Syriac and Persic versions say, it was "many furlongs from land"; and the Arabic expressly says, "about twenty five furlongs": which account seems to be taken from John 6:19 but this was not all, it was not only at such a distance from land, but was

tossed with waves: up and down, and in danger of being overset, and the passengers lost:

for the wind was against them; which beat the waves with such violence against them, that they were in the utmost danger of their lives, and not able to get forward; and what was worst of all, and most discouraging to the disciples, Christ was not with them. The ship in which the disciples were, was an emblem of the church of Christ, and of its state and condition in this world: this world is like a sea, for its largeness, and the abundance of nations and people in it, compared to many waters, Revelation 17:15 and for the tumultuousness of its inhabitants; the wicked being like a troubled sea, which cannot rest, continually casting up the mire and dirt of sin, to the dishonour of God, and the grief of his people; and for its fickleness and inconstancy, changes and war being continually in it: now the church of Christ is like a ship in this troublesome sea; where the true disciples and followers of Christ are selected together; and are preserved from the pollutions of the world, and from the danger to which the men of it are exposed, being in their sins, and liable to the wrath and curse of God, and eternal damnation; which, they that are in Christ, and members of his body, are secure from; the port or haven to which they are bound, is heaven and eternal happiness; their's and Christ's Father's house, where are many mansions provided for them; and where they long to be, and hope, and believe, ere long they shall arrive unto; and hope is as an anchor of their soul, sure and steadfast: but in the mean while, whilst they are sailing through the sea of this world, they are often, as the church of old, tossed with tempests, and not comforted, Isaiah 55:11 with the tempests of Satan's temptations, the storms of the world's persecutions, and with the winds of error and false doctrine; and then is it most uncomfortable to them, when Christ is not with them, which was the case of the disciples here.

{3} But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.

(3) We must sail even through mighty tempests, and Christ will never forsake us, so that we can go wherever he has commanded us to go.

Matthew 14:24 f. Μέσον] Adjective; with more precision in John 6:19. At first the voyage had proceeded pleasantly (ἤδη), but they began to encounter a storm in the middle of the lake.

βασανιζόμ.] not dependent on ἦν. being plagued by the waves; vivid picture.

τετάρτῃ φυλακῇ] πρωΐ, i.e. in the early morning, from three till somewhere about six o’clock. Since the time of Pompey, the Jews conformed to the Roman practice of dividing the night into four watches of three hours each; formerly, it consisted of three watches of four hours each. See Wetstein and Krebs, p. 39 f.; Winer, Realwörterbuch, under the word Nachtwachen; and Wieseler, Synopse, p. 406 f.

ἀπῆλθε πρὸς αὐτ.] He came away down from the mountain to go to them. Attraction. Hermann, ad Viger. p. 891 ff.; Bernhardy, p. 463.

According to the reading: περιπ. ἐπὶ τὴν θάλασσαν (see critical notes): walking over the sea; according to the reading of the Received text: π. . τῆς θαλάσσης: walking on the sea. According to both readings alike, we are to understand a miraculous walking on the water, but not a walking along the shore (ἐπὶ τ. θαλ., on the ground that the shore may be said to be over the sea; comp. Xen. Anab. iv. 3. 28; Polyb. i. 44. 4; 2 Kings 2:7; Daniel 8:2; John 21:1), as Paulus, Stolz, Gfrörer, Schenkel are disposed to think; this view is absolutely demanded by the character of the incident which owes its significance to this miraculous part of it, by the solemn stress that is laid on the περιπατ. ἐπὶ τ. θάλ., by the analogy of the περιεπάτησεν ἐπὶ τὰ ὕδατα in Matthew 14:29, by the ridiculous nature of the fear of what was supposed to be an apparition if Jesus had only walked along the shore, by the ἀπῆλθε πρὸς αὐτούς in Matthew 14:25, as well as by the fact that, if Jesus had been on the shore (Strauss, II. p. 170), then the disciples, who were in the middle of the lake, forty stadia in breadth, with the roar of the waves sounding in their ears, could not possibly hear what He was saying when He addressed them. It remains, then, that we have here a case of miraculous walking on the sea, which least of all admits of being construed into an act of swimming (Bolten); but neither are we to try to explain it by supposing (Olshausen) that, by the exercise of His own will, our Lord’s bodily nature became exempted, for the time being, from the conditions of its earthly existence; nor should we attempt to render it intelligible by the help of foreign analogies (the cork-footed men in Lucian. 14 :hist. ii. 4; the seeress of Prevost; the water-treaders, and such like), but, as being akin to the miracle of the stilling of the tempest (Matthew 4:25 ff.), it should rather be examined in the light of that power over the elements which dwells in Christ as the incarnate Son of God. At the same time, it must be confessed that it is utterly impossible to determine by what means this miraculous walking was accomplished. From a teleological point of view, it will be deemed sufficient that it serves to form a practical demonstration of the Messiahship of Jesus, a consideration (comp. Matthew 14:33) which was no less present to the minds of the evangelists in constructing their narratives. The credibility of those evangelists—among whom is John, whose personal experience lends additional weight to his testimony—must prove fatal, not only to any attempt to resolve our narrative into a mythical sea story (Strauss, who invokes the help of 2 Kings 2:14; 2 Kings 6:6, Job 9:8, and the legends of other nations), or even into a docetic fiction (Hilgenfeld), but also to the half and half view, that some event or other, which occurred on the night in question, developed (Hase) into one of those genuine legendary stories which serve to embody some particular idea (in this instance, the walking on the water, Job 9:8). In the same way Baumgarten-Crusius, on John, I. p. 234, regards a case of walking on the sea, recorded by John, as the original tradition; while Weisse, p. 521 (comp. Schneckenburger, erst. kan. Ev. p. 68), avails himself of the allegorical view; Bruno Bauer, again, here as elsewhere, pushes negative principles to their extreme limit; and Volkmar sees reflected in the narrative Paul’s mission to the Gentiles. Weizsäcker and Keim likewise assume, though with more caution and judgment, the allegorical standpoint, the former being disposed to regard the interposing of Jesus with His help, and the power of faith in conquering danger, as constituting the essence of the whole; Keim again being inclined to see in the story an allusion to the distress and desolation of the church waiting for her Lord, and not knowing but that He may not come to her help till the very last watch in the night (Matthew 24:43; Mark 13:35),—an idea which, as he thinks, is indebted in no small degree to Job 9:8, where God is represented as treading on the waves of the sea. But even this mode of interpretation, though in accordance, it may be, with the letter, cannot but do violence to the whole narrative as a statement of fact. Comp., besides, the note on John 6:16-21.

Matthew 14:24. μέσον, an adjective agreeing with πλοῖον (Winer, § 54, 6), signifies not merely in the middle strictly, but any appreciable distance from shore. Pricaeus gives examples of such use. But the reading of [88], probably to be preferred, implies that the boat was many stadii (25 or 30, John 6:19 = 3 to 4 miles) from the eastern shore.—ὑπὸ τῶν κυμάτων: not in Mk., and goes without saying; when there are winds there will be waves.—ἐναντίος ὁ ἄνεμος: What wind? From what quarter blowing? What was the starting-point, and the destination? Holtz. (H. C.) suggests that the voyage was either from Bethsaida Julias at the mouth of the upper Jordan to the north-western shore, or from the south end of the plain El-Batiha towards Bethsaida Julias, at the north end, citing Furrer in support of the second alternative, vide in Mk.

[88] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

24. tossed with waves] The expression in the original is forcible, “tortured by the waves,” writhing in throes of agony, as it were. These sudden storms are very characteristic of the Lake of Gennesaret.

Verse 24. - But the ship; boat (Revised Version); ver. 22. Was now; rather, already, when the following incident happened. In the midst of the sea. So also the text of the Revised Version (with practically Mark 6:47), but its margin, "was many furlongs distant from the land." Westcott and Hort prefer the latter, with Codex B and the Old Syriac. It somewhat resembles John 6:19. Tossed; distressed (Revised Version). For βασανιζόμενον suggests not physical motion, but pain and anguish, the idea being transferred in figure to the boat. In Mark it is applied more strictly to the disciples. With waves; by the waves (Revised Version). The agents of the torture (ὑπὸ τῶν κυμάτων). For the wind was contrary. Yet he came not at once, for he would teach us to bear troubles bravely (cf. Chrysostom). Matthew 14:24Tossed (βασανιζόμενον)

Rev., better, distressed. See on Matthew 4:24.

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