During the fourth watch of the night… Matthew 14:25
The “fourth watch of the night” is between three o’clock and six o’clock in the morning. The disciples had been struggling out there all night. Christ was praying for them, but he did not come to them immediately. He allowed them to struggle against the wind.
It is good for us to remember that Jesus does this when we get tired of the pressure of the culture or of the flesh. Faith is hammered out on the anvil of experience; and it is in this struggle of doing his will, what he calls you to do, that Christ will make you into the person he wants you to be.
But then, in the fourth watch of the night, when the disciples are feeling almost exhausted, Christ gives them a glimpse of his glory. The Son of God who holds the planets on their courses, suspends the laws of gravity, and walks over the water.
It is not surprising that the disciples are absolutely terrified. It never occurs to them that the figure on the lake is Jesus, and there was one very good reason for that: They knew Jesus was flesh and blood. They knew his height and they could guess his weight. And what was more, they had just eaten a good meal of fish and bread with Jesus and about 5,000 other people.
They knew Jesus as a man. So when they see a figure walking on the water, they don’t say, “Oh, this must be Jesus.” They say, “This must be some kind of ghost,” and they were terrified.
When was the last time you experienced something like this? Jesus allowed you to struggle under some pressure until you were at the point of exhaustion, and then he gave you a glimpse of his glory?