Read Matthew 14.
Jesus performed miracles for one main reason: to prove his claims to be the Son of Man, the Messiah (v. 32, Acts 2:22).
Here in Matthew 14, Jesus did two extraordinary miracles: He fed over 5000 people using seven small items of food (vv. 13-21) and he walked on water (vv. 22-32). Although a huge crowd benefited from the way Jesus miraculously multiplied the food, the text indicates that really only the disciples knew that a miracle had happened. I say that because verse 19 says, “he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.” That suggests to me that only the disciples were aware of what was going on.
If Jesus did miracles to prove his identity as Messiah and if the disciples had already believed in him, why did he do these incredible miracles that ONLY the disciples witnessed?
The answer is suggested in verse 16 when Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.”
And, the answer was actualized in verse 28-31 when Peter walked on the water, began to sink, and was asked by Jesus, “why did you doubt?” (v. 31).
Jesus did these miracles for the disciples who already believed in him because he wanted them to know that he would work powerfully THROUGH them not just FOR them. To be his servants and to do his will, the disciples needed to believe that Jesus would use them powerfully and that, by his power, they could do anything God called them to do.
Primarily, that meant evangelism. The disciples did some miracles in Acts. But they seem to have done far fewer over many years than Jesus did in three years. God’s will was not for the disciples to fix the world’s problems by working miracles but to make disciples by his power (Acts 1:8).
The same is true for us:
- Could Peter walk on water before he met Jesus? No. [That would have made fishing easier, but no.]
- Did Peter walk on water when he believed in Jesus? Yes.
- Talk about your faith in Christ with a non-believer before you became a believer? Of course not.
- Can you talk about your faith in Christ now? Yes, you can. But if you focus on the obstacles and objections and fears you have like Peter focused on the wind and waves
What if Andrew, the disciple who found the five loaves and two fish (Jn 6:8), had asked Jesus to help him multiply the food when Jesus said, “You give them something to eat” in verse 16? Do you think Jesus would have honored that prayer of faith? Do you think he could have multiplied the bread and fish in Jesus’s name just as Simon walked on the water when believed Jesus?
Where in your life should you be acting in faith–because you believe in Jesus’s power–instead of standing idly by waiting for… something?