“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
I must admit, I don’t know if I could have this kind of courage that Peter exhibits in this story.
The disciples of Jesus – of which at least four were veteran fisherman who spent most of their life on the Sea of Galilee – were caught in a violent storm.
I believe this is yet another storm that they find themselves in (another one has Jesus in the boat with them, sleeping).
In this case, the storm doesn’t seem to bother them all that much. They are veterans, after all!
But when they see Jesus walking ON THE STORM-TOSSED WATER they are filled with fear.
And who could blame them? This is not something you see every day – a guy walking on water in the middle of a vicious storm.
When it turns out to be their Lord and Master, Jesus, things change.
The storm doesn’t seem to rough. The water doesn’t seem so daunting.
Peter gets it in his mind that he could do anything – even walk on the water himself!
So he reaches out to Jesus. This takes faith as well as courage!
And Jesus reaches out to Peter and Peter walks on water.
But then Peter is distracted by the world around him – the impending doom and disaster of the storm and waves – and begins to sink. He doesn’t sink all at once, but begins to sink. Jesus is still there, right with him. Peter’s faith is still intact. But the world around him is trying to intrude on him and he begins to sink.
Once again, Peter cries out in faith to Jesus. And once again, Jesus reaches out to Peter, grabs hold of him and pulls him up out of the water and back into the boat.
While I believe this to be a true story, it is also a teachable moment for the Christian Church and for Christians!
As a baptized Christian, I have faith in Jesus Christ. I believe I will go to heaven one day because I believe in Jesus Christ who died on the cross to forgive all my sin.
But sometimes, my courage fails. It seems like Jesus is far away. The storms of life are menacing. Nothing I haven’t really faced before, but I ask myself, “Where are you Jesus?”
And then He comes, impossibly walking through the storm! Seeing Jesus amidst the stormy waves, my courage joins my faith and I reach out to Jesus. I even get out of the safety of the boat and walk out to Jesus.
But out of the boat – away from the established and organized church or congregation – the waves are higher, the storm blows stronger. Yet Jesus is still there. But the temptations of the world assault me and I begin to sink.
Jesus grabs my hand, pulls me up and brings me back to the boat, to the Church! And we sail on together. He calms the storm – at least for a little while (remember, it will hit again, just as it did in Matthew 8).
But Jesus is always with me, strengthening my faith as He walks with me, leads me, through this life and into Paradise.