Hot tea in hand, I open the Word to Matthew 14:29-33. And something simply delightful catches my eye.
A pattern I hadn’t quite seen in the past. Let’s take a look.
“‘Come,’ he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith, he said, ‘why did you doubt?’ And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’.”
Stepping out of the boat. And walking on water.
And no floaties are needed.
The story begins with His voice. He asks us to do something. Not just an ordinary something. A radical something. A something that goes against all logic and rationale. And many times against our own emotions and perceptions.
Start a ministry. Leave your job. Write a book. End the unhealthy dating relationship. Go to counseling. Go to rehab. Make new friends. Pray with your boss. Or even better, just sit still and abide in Him. He asks us to do these things at times.
“My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 NLT
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 NIV
Look at the example here. Peter understood gravity made no exceptions: you step out onto the water, then you sink. This is logic. And I’m pretty confident everyone in the boat knew it too. Yet, Jesus went against the limitations of the human mind and demonstrated His sovereign power.
And He will do the same for us when we follow after Him. Regardless of what others in our boat are thinking.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 NIV
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV
Despite the irrationality of the situation (or so it seemed), Peter responds. And asks the Lord for confirmation.
Jesus is faithful. So, he gives Peter the confirmation he’s seeking in one simple word: “Come.”
I interpret this as: “Yes, you’ve heard me correctly. Do what I am asking of you. Trust me, I am leading you.”
Then the scene shifts.
Peter gets distracted. The wind’s blowing. He’s feeling some opposition. This act of faith becomes more challenging than he thought. And he takes his eyes off of Jesus.
“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” Proverbs 4:25 NIV
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 NIV
In looking at the waves, Peter begins to sink while Jesus is standing just a few feet away.
“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6 NIV
Just grasp that for a second.
How many times have we done this? We’re following Jesus in faith in what He’s asked us to do. And “Bam!”, an unforeseen challenge arrives on our doorstep and we begin to doubt. I believe if Peter would have kept his eyes on the Lord, those big waves and that strong, powerful wind would have felt more like a summer breeze. It’s when we focus on our troubles and not on Jesus that we become afraid. And we feel overwhelmed.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2 ESV
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 ESV
Yet, check out the mercy of Jesus in this situation. In despite of Peter’s mistake, Jesus takes him by the hand, and pierces his soul. “Why do you have such little faith?’, Jesus asked. He didn’t pat Peter on the back and say “Don’t worry, just forget that ever happened.”
Because He loves us and He knows in order for us to have a life of greatness, we’ll have to live a life of faith. We have to follow Him, completely.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 NIV
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 NIV
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:3
“And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10
It was Jesus that calmed the storm in Peter’s life. And it’s Jesus who will calm yours as you fix your eyes on Him. Remember with Jesus; no floaties are needed.
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Photo courtesy of econews.com.au