“Peter, suddenly bold, said, ‘Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.’
He said, ‘Come ahead.’
Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, ‘Master, save me!’
Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, ‘Faint-heart, what got into you?’
Matthew 14: 28–31 (MSG)
I love the imagery Peterson creates for us in the Message Bible. Bold Peter, so full of faith at that moment, jumps out of the boat and walks to Jesus ON the water. However, as spontaneous as Peter could be, he didn’t leave the boat until the Lord told him to. This is the first lesson for us to glean in this account. Peter isn’t acting out of arrogance or selfish motivations, “Look at me, look what I can do.” No, if he were he would have jumped out, expecting God to save him. He knew it couldn’t be his plan, it had to be the Lord’s.
Let’s go deeper into the moment. Peter and the other disciples are halfway across the sea from where they had left Jesus after witnessing Him feed 5,000 people with two fish and five loaves. They’ve had hours to contemplate all that occurred not only that day, but by this point they’ve seen Him heal the sick, calm the waves and drive out demons. He now stands on the water, unaffected by the wind and waves and says to them, “It is me, I Am”. Peter, caught up in the moment says, “tell me to come to you on the waters.” He knew if the Lord told him to come, He would also provide the way for him to come. At this moment Peter was emboldened not in his own ability but in the Lord’s.
How many times do we ‘jump’ first without seeking God’s plan and then get frustrated with Him when our plans sink? Peter is coming to the awareness that if Jesus is the “I Am” and He gives the command, then He will also give the means to accomplish it. This is such a freeing thought! I don’t have to come up with the plan for my life, my ministry, nor the means to carry it out. I just need to listen to and follow the Lord’s plans each day. Which I can do when I recognize He (not me) is the “I Am” over my life, my family, my ministry, and my business!
It’s also important to note Jesus’ reaction to Peter. He didn’t say, ‘how dare you think you can do what I’m doing. You’re not the, ‘I am’, stay where you are foolish man.’ No, He sees the great faith Peter has and says ‘come’. This is true for all of us! Jesus wants us to be so full of faith in what He can do in and through us that we’re willing to step out of the boat unto the windy seas. Boy are the seas of our world windy right now! We the church can bring change by stepping out not in our own strength with our own plans, but by keeping our eyes on Him and following His plans for our lives, our families and our ministries.
The theme in our church this year is, “Only God”! Only God can heal the racial and political divide in our land. Only God can touch the lives of hurting, desperate people and bring healing and restoration. Only God! SO what is our job? We’re to step out, eyes focused on the Lord, knowing we can do great and mighty things with the Holy Spirit moving in and through us. It’s so not about us or our ability. It’s about Him and our willingness to allow His ability to flow through us, giving Him all the credit and glory. It’s time to lead by example, “imitate me as I imitate Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1)
What happened when Peter started to sink? Did he lose his faith in the Lord? I don’t think so…. Lesson Two next blog…..