Stepping out with Peter:
Peter was always such a wonderful disciple. He showed fervency for the faith that a lot of the times would leave him red in the face but it is also that same fervency and passion that enabled him to become a rock for the early church. Often times, he is referred to as the messenger of the disciples. While the other disciples are either not sure what to say or too scared to present their questions before the Lord, we find Peter’s voice interrupting the silence. His passion was present in not just words either. When Christ was being taken in the garden of Gethsemane, it is Peter that we see draw his sword and strike out to protect his Lord. Obviously, Christ’s response shows that this is not what he wished but we do learn something about the boldness of Peter. There is also another such instance where we get a strong glimpse into the boldness of Peter. After the feeding of the five thousand, Christ dismissed the crowd and slipped off on his own to pray while his disciples ended up drifting on a boat across the Sea of Galilee. This is where our story takes place. While they were traveling across the Sea, the waves began to pound on the boat. And the disciples began to get scared. Now remember these were not land lubbers. They were professional fishermen. They knew exactly what kind of danger they were in and they also knew where they were on the lake. So when they began to see the shadow of a man walking toward them in the water they were terrified. Their first thought was that this must be a ghost. Their cries for fear were answered by a gentle voice.
“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” The disciples no doubt recognized the voice of their Lord, but this was not something any of them had been expecting. No doubt they were still not sure what to make of it when the boldness of Peter came forth. Immediately, Peter spoke out.
“Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” And it was at this point that the most amazing thing happened. Christ responded “Come,” and Peter did what very few people would probably do. He got out of the boat. He stepped out onto the water and started walking toward Jesus. This was right on top of the waves. This was right on top of the Sea. This was amazing. Only two people in history have ever stood on water. First it was Christ, who by his own power, power over all the elements of the world, walked to the boat where his disciples sat. Second, it was Peter who seeing his Lord had the courage and the audacity to ask of his Lord, “Permit me to join you on the water.” And through the power of Christ, Peter did just that. Interestingly, the story takes a twist. Because we find Peter take his eyes off the Lord and focus them on the waves. Wherein, he begins to get scared and begins to sink. “Save me,” he cries out and Christ does just that. Actually, he always does just that but that is a story for another day.
A lot of times, we harp on Peter’s lack of faith in this passage. He took his eyes off of Jesus and then he sank but that is not what is so amazing about this passage. What is amazing is that Peter got out of his boat at all. This was all because of his boldness for the Lord. Peter was the only disciple that got out of the boat and because of it he received a great reward. He personally witnessed the power of Christ. He also got to be personally involved in this miracle.
Unlike Peter, we may not have an opportunity to walk on water, but Christ still asks mighty things of us. If we are bold enough to get out of the boat then we can be involved in the miracles that God is doing around us. Whatever the boat may be, will you have the boldness to step out when Christ tells you to. What is Christ asking of you today.
Written by Pastor James. [original release August '08]