First of all, there are several ways that can explain the passage. The first way is that everything has a symbolism. The ship is Israel, while the disciples are the remnant. Jesus going to pray is like Jesus dismissing the Jews for a time and leaving them for a time. The waves are the the nations which toss about those that around them, with the help of the waves of persecution. Just as the disciples were troubled when Jesus came unto them, those that are not right with the Lord will be frightened when the Lord returns. Then, as he did in this story, he will call out and calm the fears of the people. Then Peter, who stands for the church, which is also called out from Israel, was called out. In the symbolism, this stands for the church being caught up in the air to be with the Lord. When the Lord does rescue “Peter”, the wind will forever be calm for the Christian.1
Yet, another way is very similar to the first. It also involves the Church, but in a different way. The other way was about the church as a group, while this way of explaination talks about the church as being filled with many individuals. Each tempest-tossed individual who has a storm of his own, has a Heavenly Father who comes and rescues the wind-driven soul when the Lord sees fit. One way to describe this passage is to say that Christ will save any individual that cries out in the middle of a terrible tempest.2
One can also say that the story shows the kingship of Christ. The theme of Matthew is the kingship of Christ. It would make total sense f...
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... is that he comes to each and every person in need. When we start sinking in the storms of life, we need to cry out to the Lord and he will reach out and will bring you out of the water that has begun to drown you.
English, E. Schuylyer. Studies in the Gospel According to Matthew. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1938.
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984.
Morgan, G. Campbell. Studies in the Four Gospels. 3rd ed. Old Tappan: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1931.
Cannon, William. The Gospel of Matthew. Nashville: The Upper Room, 1982.
Clark, Adam. Clarke's Commentary. Nashville: Abingdon.
Haldeman, I.M. Christian Science in the Light of Holy Scripture. Chicago: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1909.
Barclay, William The Gospel of Matthew. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1959.
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