24 But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” 28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. (Matthew 14: 24 – 32 NASB)
Peter gets out of the boat, and starts walking on the water. He actually gets out of the boat. Out of all the disciples, he got out.
First of all, he either had some serious faith in Jesus, or he was just a crazy daredevil-type of guy who just wanted a thrill! I think it is the first option.
Peter seems to show the desire to do the impossible through the power of God. He didn’t just want to stay calm in the midst of the storm, when Jesus tells them all to not be afraid, he wants to take it a step further. He has his eyes fixed on Jesus so much that he forgets about the storm – the boisterous wind and waves. He gets out of the boat and starts walking, and then he SEES the wind and waves. He was focusing on Jesus, but he had a “moment” when he stopped looking at Jesus. At that point he cried out for Jesus to save him! Of course, Jesus puts out his hand and rescues Peter.
What principles can we glean from Peter’s experience?
One look away from Jesus in the storm can make the “wind” and “waves” of life suddenly appear to be the scariest thing ever.
What “wind” and “waves” do you have in your life that are trying to engulf you?
If we are bound up with fear, then our eyes are not on Jesus. We have to approach the throne of God and surrender all of our fear to Him. We have to think about what we are thinking about! We don’t have to think every thought that pops into our head. If our head is leaning towards the the negative, then we need to expose our minds to the Word of God and His promises. “Fixing” our eyes on Jesus means – fixing our eyes on God’s Word, and what He says about our circumstances.
I often take just one Scripture to meditate on in any given day, that helps me to combat any recurring negative thoughts that keep trying to pop into my head. Look at this one…
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 NASB)
The word “fixing” comes from a Greek word that means “looking away from all else, to fix one’s gaze upon“. Hello! Now, that’s the challenge! This is do-able, or why would the apostle Paul mention this?! It even sounds like a command! —- Fix your eyes on Jesus, or else you will sink!
I’ve been there. In fact, I’m really there every day. I start “sinking” every time I take my eyes of Jesus. The longer it takes me to focus my eyes back on Jesus, the farther I sink!
The good news is, when we do focus on our eyes on Him, He actually takes care of the rest – He perfects our faith. The perfecting of our faith is on the inside of us. The building up of our “muscle” of faith is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is about us “working” the Word. When we work the Word, the Word works!
Peter’s faith muscle was big enough to get him out of the boat, but it wasn’t quite built up enough yet to walk on the water for very long, so Jesus had to grab him. The moment Jesus grabbed him, the wind and waves stopped.
I have had so many moments like this in my life. I’m going along, stepping out in faith, doing some things that are risky, trying to walk on the water, and then “BAM!” all of a sudden I start focusing on myself and my ability or on the “wind” and “waves”. It might take me anywhere from a day or two to a couple of weeks to get myself to call out to Jesus in the midst of my “sinking” feeling. And then I see Him reach out and grab my hand and lift me out of the fear that is trying to take me under. Every time He does this, there is a calm that comes to my soul.
In this instance with Peter, the “wind” and “waves” immediately stop when Jesus pulls him up out of the water. In our lives the “wind” and “waves” on the outside may or may not stop when we call out to Jesus, but the wind and waves on the inside can always immediately stop!
We need to remember, too, that a little faith is all it takes to get out of the boat. Jesus can take it the rest of way. If our faith falters, Jesus can catch us. He truly is the perfecter of our faith.
Jesus asks Peter why he doubted Him, as if to say, “You don’t have to doubt me for a single second. I got you. My hand will always be here to save you.”
We can have full assurance that we CAN get out of the boat, and we CAN walk on the water. And one day we may just walk for a long distance without sinking at all! Hallelujah!
We have to believe that our day is coming soon to “walk on the water”. For now, we may just need to be like the other disciples and start with the “be not afraid” part before we step out of the boat. That’s okay if that’s where you are for now.
I’ve been one of the other disciples a lot in my life, but I would like to be like Peter, even if I start sinking sometimes. How about you?!
You can get out of the boat.
You can walk on water.