Getting Acquainted With Peter, 6: Walking on Water
- Monday, May 24, 2004
I believe when Peter heard these words he vacillated between overjoyed and uncertain. Yes! God is here! Nothing to be afraid of now! The Almighty Night Light has come...
...I think. It sounds like Him...it sorta looks like Him...then again, with these waves and the fury of the storm...it's so difficult to know for certain...it may be Jesus...it may be...
"Lord, if it is really you, tell me to come to you on the water," Peter called out.
Perhaps Peter thought back over the past twenty-four hours. When the large crowd began to get hungry, the Disciples had gone to Jesus and expressed concern about feeding them. "Send them away to the villages to get something to eat," they said. But Jesus said, "You feed them." (Emphasis mine) An order, commanding His Disciples to do something miraculous...and they did.
Later, Jesus ordered the people back to their homes for the evening...and the people obeyed Him. Then Jesus instructed His Disciples to get into the boat while He went off alone...and with that, they did so.
There is power, Peter knew, in the very instruction of Jesus.
"Come!" Jesus told Peter. And, Peter got out of the boat.
Six Feet High and Rising
Some people say that Peter was being a show-off when he stepped over the ledge, but I don't think so. Remember the nightmare scenario? Afraid of monsters, it took real guts to get out of bed and run through the darkness toward the safety of our parents, didn't it? But we did it...because we knew what we'd find there. All the comfort and protection they could give.
There is absolutely nothing within me that would lead me to believe that Peter thought, "Well, I'll show these guys. I'll just hop on out of the water, ski on across it, and bring the Lord back with me."
No. It took faith to get out of the boat and head for the safety of the Master.
Everything went fine, too...as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus.
I'm reminded of when my daughter Jessica was learning to walk. She'd already taken some tentative steps, holding on to pieces of furniture, diapered tushy sticking straight out as some measure of a balancing act. This time, however, I sat on the floor - not too far away - and coaxed her with my hands. "Come on, Baby. Come to Mommy."
She grinned at me - that precious little open-mouth smile with a few teeth showing - and took a wobbly step...then another...and another. My eyes held hers...and they trusted me completely.
Then, she paused, wobbled a bit, looked down at her feet and realized, "Hey, these aren't my knees on the carpet anymore...and if I fall...it's gonna hurt baaaa -"
She fell...and the wailing began.
Peter was in a more serious predicament. He was neck high in water in the middle of a deep lake. "Lord, save me!" he called out.
Immediately, the Word says, Jesus reached out His hand and pulled him up. "You of little faith...why did you doubt?"
Back in the Boat with Jesus
It is not secret to anyone who knows me that one of my favorite movies is The Gospel According to Matthew in which Bruce Marchiano portrays Jesus as the "laughing" or "smiling" Jesus. Jesus, the Man of Joy. In this particular scene, in which Peter sinks like a stone, Jesus did not rebuke Peter, per se. Rather, He responded like a parent to his child.
When my daughter fell, do you think I scolded her for taking her eyes off me? Certainly not. With a bit of a chuckle, I lifted her into my arms and cradled her. "Oh, goodness!" I teased. "That was a bit of a fall, wasn't it, Baby?" Soon she was laughing with me...cooing in the security of my arms.
Marchiano's impression was that Jesus would have chuckled as he said the words, "Why did you doubt?"
Jesus must get a real kick out of us sometimes. Just as a toddler has the ability to walk, so we have the ability to do anything God has called us to do! If Jesus has called us out of the boat and instructed us to walk on water, you can betcha you can do it...as long as you keep your eyes firmly on His. But, even if we look away and begin to sink in the natural disasters of our lives, He will lift us back to safety.
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