“And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, ‘It is a spirit’; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.’ And Peter answered him and said, ‘Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.’ And he said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, ‘Lord, save me.’ And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, ‘O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?’ And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.” (Matt 14:22-33 KJV)
I have often wondered how dull the Gospels might be if Our Lord did not choose Peter as an apostle!
Of course, the Gospels are about Our Lord and they would not be dull, yet the presence of Peter has a way of putting things over the top. He does what others dream to do, even if it is walking on water!
It had been a long day, Our Lord had received the news that John the Baptist had been executed. He retired to a solitary spot, but the crowds followed Him. He fed them spiritually and then fed them physically, all five thousand of them. Afterwards, He sent His disciples on ahead by boat while He dismissed the crowds. Then, He went up the mountain to talk for a time with His Father, and recharge His batteries.
Meanwhile, back on the boat, things are not going well. Our fishermen of the Galilee are losing the battle with the elements, again. The wind has roared up against them and they are not making headway. It is about three am in the morning. In the midst of their travail, they see Jesus walking on the water toward them. They question their eyes. They cry out in fear. This must be some type of ghost or mirage. Our Lord knows their thoughts and says, “Be of good heart! It is I, fear ye not!”.
In the midst of life’s storms, Our Lord comes into our lives in strange, unpredictable ways. He likes to surprise us. Jesus is walking toward the boat. For Peter, it is not enough. He has a big heart and he cannot wait for Jesus to reach the boat. He calls out, “Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come to Thee upon the waters.”
Our Lord responds, “Come”.
Peter comes out of the boat, and he begins to walk upon the water. He is walking toward Jesus on the water. The power of God is upholding him and his faith in God is unshakeable for a moment.
Then, a big wave comes by and splashes Peter in the face! Of course, we know Who created the wave! Peter gets shaken, takes his eyes off of Jesus and realizes what he is doing. He is walking on the water. No one can walk on water! Reality sinks in and sinks him!
Going down in shock, this seasoned fisherman does the only thing he can do. YELL FOR HELP! “Lord, save me!”
Lord save me. How many times have we been sinking in life? We have lost a job, a loved one or suffered some other type of setback. It looks hopeless. We are sinking and sinking fast. Lord save me.
Peter was impetuous. Love will do that to people. When Our Lord called to him, he got out of the boat. The other disciples cowered in the boat among the waves when they saw this strange apparition or ghost. Peter is different. Peter calls out to Our Lord, “Bid me to come to you.” And he begins walking to Jesus on the water.
Now, Peter was drowning, drowning for love, and Love reached down and pulled him up.
Friends, if God calls you out of the boat that you are in, or the job or the situation, ask only one question, “Lord, is it You?”
Then follow your heart to Him, keep your eyes upon Him and ignore the winds and the waves of life. Should you begin to sink, remember this short prayer, “Lord, save me!”
Father God, please give us the courage to “get out of the boat”, the boat of our misery, selfishness, and feelings of unworthiness, and come to You when You call, no matter what the cost. Amen.