Have you ever stopped to really think about this passage in scripture? I believe if we do, we can find ourselves hidden away in the experience of Peter more often then not.
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
Sometimes familiarity with a verse such as this can cause us to overlook the message that God wants us to gain insight to. Not only insights about Him, but about ourselves too.
So let’s take a look at this familiar passage and place ourselves inside the boat with Peter. Let me set the stage in order to bring us to the same choppy waters that Peter and his boat mates found themselves in. And when we are done, hopefully we have gained a refreshed understanding on how to navigate the choppy and stormy areas in our lives.
Matthew 14:22-33 Takes place directly after the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 (five loaves/two fishes).
Scripture translation is from The Message – Matthew 14:22-33
Verse 22 – As soon as the meal was finished, Jesus insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people.
So why do you think Jesus insisted that his disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him? Well we don’t know because we aren’t told, however, we do know that Jesus was intentional about the things that he did. So let’s consider that he sent them ahead because he was preparing them for a lesson in faith.
- Navigational Truth We can choose to mentally and spiritually accept the storms in our life as an opportunity to grow our faith.
Verse 23 – With the crowd dispersed, Jesus climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night. After Jesus sent his disciples to get in the boat and go ahead of him, Jesus climbed a mountain and prayed.
What do you think he prayed about? Well, It could have been about various things but what if we suppose that he was praying for his disciples to have the strength, trust and faith that they would need while they were out upon the water?
- Navigation Truth: We can be assured that Christ has already interceded on our behalf before any trials in our life begins.
Verse 24 – 26 – Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.
Because of our humanity – fear, uncertainty, and a lack of confidence is a reality. These emotions can distort the facts and distract us from the truth that Christ has gone before us and has prepared a way to lead us through it. We are, in a sense, stuck in the boat being tossed back and forth.
Verse 27 – But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
- Navigation Truth: Jesus stands in the middle of our storm. Ready to comfort, encourage and restore us to peace and a sound mind.
Verse 28 – Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Lord, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”
Here is where I find myself relating to Peter more then I thought I would. He says, ” Lord, if it’s really you…” which is much the same as me saying …”God if you’re there…” We are both expressing the need for Christ, but our fear holds our faith in bondage. Then the next thing Peter says is…”call me to come to you.” This is interesting to me because he basically is saying….command me to exercise my faith, which Jesus instantly did.
Verse 29a – He said, “Come ahead.”
- Navigation Truth: To move through the trails and storms in life you are called to exercise your faith.
Verse 29b-30 – Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”
I love this part. Did that surprise you? It demonstrates that we are very much like Peter. We desire to move forward in our faith but due to the overwhelming circumstances created by trials or persecutions in life, we succumb to fear, lose sight of hope, and sink into despair. But here is the part I love….all we need to do is cry out to God for deliverance and He is there.
Verse 31-33 – Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?” The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down.
- Navigation Truth: When you call out to Christ for help, He will not hesitate to keep you from sinking into the depth of despair. He will join you in your trial and restore hope, provide strength, increase your faith and deliver you from the storm.
No matter the size or severity of the trials that we endure we can be assured that they did not catch God by surprise. He stands solidly in the heart of the storm offering us His hand of deliverance. Our part is to exercise our faith and ask Him for help. When we do, He will not hesitate to give it.