This week I was teaching Sunday School, and the lesson was based on the story from Matthew 14:22-33. This is often a story titled ‘Jesus walk on water’. I have to be honest, here: it isn’t that much of a shock that Jesus walks on water. He is the almighty and certainly can challenge the laws of physics – he created them, he knows how to utilize them to the fullest!
No, the incredible thing that so often gets overlooked is:
Peter walked on water.
Verse 29 says ‘He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.’
Peter was one of the most obviously human (ie: fallible) disciples – constantly getting into trouble and failing. He rebuked Jesus and denied knowing him.
Yet, here we have the ultimate story of Peter asking if it was Jesus’s will and then carrying out that will. God can and will use all character types, impulsives and planners, stoics and enthusiasts, and more. He can use you and me, just as we are. See, Jesus didn’t wait for Peter to get on board, clean up his act and stop being so impulsive. He didn’t even ask him to straighten up. Jesus only asked Peter to follow Him. Jesus knew the Spirit would do the rest.
Funny, how the story doesn’t mention what the other disciples were doing during this exchange between Peter and Jesus. Cowering in fear of the waves and wind, apparently. What did they do when Peter begins to throw himself overboard? I’m sure today we would have all the nay-sayers: ‘Peter, no! What are you doing? Stay here in the boat where it is safe!’, ‘You’ll drown!’, ‘He’s coming this way, just wait.’ And on it goes. I seriously doubt that any of the disciples said an encouraging word or cheered him on, and likely were so shocked they stood fixed in place. I can imagine that once Jesus saves Peter from sinking, they walk on together hand-in-hand to climb in the boat with the others. Hand-in-hand, just as we too can walk daily with Him. I don’t want to sit on the sidelines like the others. I want to walk on water.
Once we become followers, disciples, of Christ, we are no longer our own, but His; and He will use us as we are. We can walk on water too. And being human, we will also fail, as Peter did. And just like with Peter, Jesus will be there when you do; holding your hand, cheering you on.
We are truly never alone and will never fail to such an extent that He cannot hear, or refuses to hear, our call. When we hear His call, we need only step out of the oh so very comforting boat, and walk, fixing our gaze on Him. Walk on.