As you might know from Matthew 14:22-32 (just click on the link and read it, if you’re not familiar with this account), when Jesus walked to His disciples on the water across a wind-buffeted lake, Peter (one of the more impulsive disciples, it seems) offers back a sort of challenge to Jesus.
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Matthew 14:28-30 NIV
While sometimes I feel like Peter, speaking too often without thinking or knowing what I’m saying, I don’t always know what was going through that guy’s mind. For some reason, this fisherman seems to go from fighting the storm to asking for instructions to walk on water (like his rabbi is doing).
In the same way, I don’t always know why Jesus accommodated Peter, even when Peter said the wrong thing at the wrong time. (I am glad that Jesus does that, though, since I need the same grace and mercy sometimes when I say dumb things.) In this case, Jesus called to Peter as he had requested. And, Peter obeys.
At this point, I think that it’s good to remember that God’s power is available to all of us, when God wills it. When Jesus said that we could command a mountain with a little faith (see Matthew 21:18-22, Mark 11:20-25), I believe that He meant it. When God told Peter to do something, God gave Peter the ability to follow those instructions, even if obedience didn’t seem logical at the time. Likewise, when God tells us to do something, He has more than enough power to provide a way for us to follow those instructions.
However, as Peter starts to doubt, he loses that “connection” (we might say) to God’s power. To be frank, I’m not exactly sure about how God’s power and our faith work together, but when we fear the storm more than we trust God, we seem to slip away from His power to work in our lives. He doesn’t become any less able to help us, but it seems like we are the ones letting go of His hand. (As a reminder, though, we do not get to judge anyone who is struggling for their faith. Although we might see evidence, we can’t say for sure whether their heart is far from God, or whether they are in a situation like Job, who endured trials because of His faith.)
Even when Peter starts to sink, though, Jesus catches Him (see verse 31). Peter’s lack of faith may have separated himself from God’s power in this particular situation, but it did not cause God to leave Him.
Where are you, today?
- Are you rowing against the waves, trying to keep from capsizing? Look to see that God is right there, ready to help.
- Are you in the boat, hearing God’s call to do something, but you just don’t know how it’s going to work out? Trust Him – both His power and His love – that He can provide a way for you to follow His instructions.
- Are you out on the waves, starting to sink? Look back to Jesus, and remember how much He loves you. He is still available to lift you out, even if you feel like the mess that you’re in was your own fault.
Don’t take on God-sized storms yourself. He is near to us if we will seek Him.
From Sunday School lesson prepared for December 11, 2022
- The Lookout, December 11, 2022, © 2022 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- The College Press NIV Commentary – Matthew, by Larry Chouinard, pages 342-349. © 1997 College Press Publishing Co.