As first century Jews the disciples were very familiar with the Old Testament (OT) Scriptures. In the OT, the “sea,” especially in its boiling rage, is frequently portrayed as the place of fearful chaos and destruction. The sea is often viewed as the dwelling place of sea monsters, like the great Leviathan which terrorizes the human race.
Job chapter 41 uses the Leviathan as a dramatic symbolic representation of the power of evil in the world. “Can anyone tame the Leviathan or conquer the evil in the world? Who can tame the storms of the sea and the monstrous Leviathan who lives in it? That is, who can control the chaos of this world and the evil that rises from it?” Psalm 74 answers that question for us. “But You, O God, are my king from of old; You bring salvation upon the earth. It was You who split open the sea by Your power; You broke the heads of the monster in the waters. It was You who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert.”
Jesus comes to them walking on the water. This is not just a man walking on the water. That would be impressive enough, sure. But…
- This is God showing them that He has come to tread underfoot all the sin and evil of the world.
- This is God coming to crush the head of the Leviathan under His feet.
- This is God fulfilling what He told Satan about the Messiah in the Garden of Eden when He said in Genesis 3:15, “He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
In a sense, Jesus is showing His disciples here, now, that He has arrived, the head crushing has begun. And now Satan, that great Leviathan is like a fish out of water, flopping around on the bottom of the boat. His end is assured, but still for a little while, he is going to flail and flap about seeking to do what damage he can, as he painfully gasps for his last few breathes.
So, we need not fear the Leviathan—yes, it is true . . . This world’s prince may still scowl fierce as he will. (But) He can harm us none. He’s judged, the deed is done; one little word can fell him.
We know who Jesus is—He is God in the flesh, victorious over all sin and evil. He walks with us every day to give us His divine support, encouragement and perseverance. Remember, wherever the path of life may take you, whatever storms you may encounter, you never walk alone. Jesus walks with you, now and forever. Amen.
Pastor John Tape