Ok, warning, this post just might seem irrational and a little dangerous so I recommend that you not react before discussing it with a friend or mentor..
If you have known me for any time at all you know that my favorite character study in the bible is Peter, is both the guy I hope not to be and the guy I hope I am for Christ. I mean can you think of another character in the bible that was more on fire for Christ and dedicated to doing what Christ asked without reserve, and yet his fears and worldly distractions nearly kill him routinely and seem to be irrational knowing what he knew and experienced.
It is Peter’s Child-like reactions that draw me close to him in scripture. Blind faith some would call it, yet at its base level is a fundamental trust and rock solid faith that made Peter one of history’s greatest figures in the New Testament.
I want to look today at one of the most amazing moments in Peter’s Journey. Walking on water. We all know the story, and I often wonder if later at the camp fire if Peter ever looked over to James and with a wink says ”Dude I walked on Water!”
Matthew 14:22-33 – Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
The relationship of Peter and Jesus here is so interesting and in my opinion so valuable to us today as adult men. Here are a few things I always take away from this episode in Peter’s life.
- Jesus sent them into the storm. Don’t let it skip by you that Jesus knowingly sends them into the storm and stays behind to pray. Much like meeting the woman at the well (James 4) Jesus, I believe, is well aware of what is about to occur and is all on board for the scenes to unfold in Peter’s and all the disciples’ lives.
- How often do we complain of the storms that we have in our lives, not recalling the many times in the bible that God or Jesus directs his people into the storm so they can either show greatt faith or he can show a great mercy in their lives. The storm is what typically draws us back to him or closer to him.
- Peter Jumps – Ok in this version it says he got down off the boat when Jesus calls him to come out on the water. I like the version where he jumps over the side of the boat. Stop and think about this. Peter is so trusting of Jesus and so certain of who he is and what he can do , that he for a moment leaves all fear, worry and doubt behind and just trusts in what Jesus asks. He gets on the water. And he starts walking towards Jesus.
- Can you imagine the success in life we could achieve if we just lept iin the direction of Christ with the same child-like faith that Peter displays here. Peter didn’t debate it or draw the Ben Franklin Plus and misuse discussion on a piece of paper. Jesus says come and Peter without hesitation Jumps. I Pray that in my life I leap more than I debate when it comes to the choices in Christ I am presented with.
- Peter Fails and Jesus Responds – Of Course Peter would indeed fail this moment in time as well (kind of). Peter gets distracted by the world around him and immediately starts failing (Sinking). Fear rises up and pulls Peter down into the wild waters. Can you relate? I know I can. Peter loses sight of Jesus and the magic of the moment seems to pass. Poor Peter, all his friends looking on from the Boat thinking “What an idiot” “Why did he do such a foolish thing”
- But then the miracle of the story happens. Peter calls out for help! And unlike the world, when Jesus hears his cry it says immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. Not 10 seconds later, not after seeing how long Peter could tread water. It says immediately! This is the God I love and put my hopes and faith in daily. The one that does not hesitate to save me when I call. Like Peter I too am weak with distraction and often fail in front ofJesus eyes and my friends, but when I call I know that my God will react and save me instantly!
- I know as Christians it is easy to see the next line of this verse where it sounds a little bit like Peter is being scolded – “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” But when I read this verse it does not sound that way to me. Instead it sounds like a father hugging his child after a scare and reminding them that he had them the whole time. And that next time you can trust me a bit more.
What is it in our lives that Jesus is asking us to jump into? A storm where he knows what your fears are and he just wants you to trust him? Maybe he is asking you to Jump into an opportunity to serve and your world just seems a bit busy or hard right now, Jesus is just asking you to come a few short steps in his direction and what seems impossible is very possible with him. Or maybe Jesus has you in someone’s life right now that needs to jump or is about to jump and you are the friends still in the boat. How are you going to respond or support them when they leap? Will you remind them of the impossibilities and future failures or will you remind them to focus on Jesus and trust his direction?
I believe Peter is such a role model for us men. We face the challenge of our faith daily in this world. Jesus knows our hearts and yet He still sends us into battles, calls us by name and rescues us everytime we call for his help.
I pray that as you look ahead into this week that you will embrace the opportunities Jesus places in front of you and Jump if asked with the faith of Peter!