22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” - Matthew 14:22-33
This passage has always fascinated me.
So many times when we hear this story we focus on how Jesus is walking on water, and then Peter sinking. We see Peter’s doubt, yet we miss Peter’s amazing request and also the step of faith that allowed him to experience what no other human being has ever experienced.
I think this may be a bit of self protection on our part. We try to keep the realms of what is possible with God to things we can understand. So we shift from asking “how do we walk with God in unexplainable ways” to instead focus on “don’t doubt in hard circumstances”. They sound similar, yet by omitting Peter’s step of faith out of the boat, we remain like the other disciples, safe and comfortable with what we know although we could ask God for so much more.
Peter was a bit of a spit fire, he didn’t really think things through. Perhaps this is why he makes the request of Jesus. He gets caught up in the magnitude of Christ and longs to be a part of it. I really think he forgot about all the other guys in the boat because he could only see Christ. How often instead of looking to Christ, I look around at the other passengers. How many times do I sit comfortably amazed instead of getting caught up in trusting God for new things that require crazy steps. Peter didn’t focus on what he knew (people sink, this shouldn’t happen), instead he focused on what He was seeing God do right in front of him (I don’t understand it but I want to be a part of it).
Perhaps this is what Christ is calling us to when He ask us to have faith like a child. Where imagination and reality intertwine or more specifically, where faith and action take flight.
Peter did doubt, he got scared when the wind picked up and he realized what was going on. Yet even then, he experienced Christ in ways that no other person ever has before or since.
Lord may you teach us to see you and not our circumstances. May you help us to remember that faith in you turns promises into prophecy.