YOU CAN WALK ON THE WATER
The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
You Can Walk on the Water
I love the old story of three preachers who went fishing in a large pond. They three got in a little boat and rowed out to the center. As soon as they arrived one of them said, “I forgot the tackle box. I’ll go and get it.” He jumped out of the boat and walked across the top of the water to the bank. As soon as he got back in the boat another preacher said, “Oh, no! We forgot the sodas and I’m thirsty. I’ll go get them.” He hopped out and walked back to the bank just like the previous preacher, pulled three sodas out of the ice chest and walked back to the boat. The third preacher was the youngest of the three. He had observed their actions and admired their faith. After a couple of hours of fishing, one of the preachers, said, “I’m hungry, let's row over to the bank and eat our sack lunches.” The third preacher saw this as his opportunity. “No, don’t row over there. I’ll go get them so we can keep fishing.” He stood up in the boat, stepped out onto the water and immediately went straight down into the water completely submerged. One preacher looked at the other and said, “I guess if he is going to keep fishing with us I reckon we ought to tell him where those rocks are.”
In the 14th chapter of Matthew, an incredible story of faith and trust is told. The Apostles had left Jesus on land and taken a fishing vessel out to sea. Jesus had told them to go ahead and he would meet them later. After time in prayer, Jesus walked across the water to the boat. As he approached the disciples cried out in fear thinking he was some kind of a ghost. Jesus called out to them, “Do not fear, It is I.” Peter told Jesus. “Master, if really you, command me to come out to meet you.” I wonder if Peter swallowed hard, when he heard Jesus’ reply, “Come!”
The text does not indicate any hesitation on Pete’s part. He got out of the boat and began walking toward Jesus. I wonder if the other Apostles may have become fearful that they too would have to walk on water after Peter.
Matthew’s account of this event tells us that while rowing out to sea a strong wind had come up and was holding the boat back while causing great waves. It goes on to tell us that Peter was doing just fine until he became distracted by the conditions around him. At that moment, Peter looked away from Jesus and to the waves and the sea. Immediately, he began to sink.
It took a lot of faith for Peter to even ask Jesus to call him out. Imagine the faith for him to get out of the boat and step into the water. I don’t know about you, but I’m awestruck by this moment of powerful faith. In spite of Peter’s initial faith, he began to sink because he could not keep his eyes and trust on Jesus. You can envision the thoughts that ran through Peter’s head as soon as he started looking at the waves instead of Jesus, “What am I doing here? Men don’t walk on water! How am I going to do this in the center of this storm? I’m sinking!
As soon as he realized the trouble he was in, he cried out, “SAVE ME LORD!” Jesus reached down, took Peter by the hand, and pulled him back to the surface. Jesus looked at his young follower and said, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?” It is interesting that the text does not record Peter’s response. I wonder if he was so awestruck that he was speechless. All I can say is that for Peter, that was a first. He was always the first to comment. But this time, no words came out.
When the two arrived in the boat the storm halted! The men in the boat began to worship Jesus declaring him to be the Son of God.
When we gave our hearts to Jesus, we stepped out of the boat of our old lives. We took the step of faith to depend on the blood of Jesus Christ to take us to save us from our sins and take us to heaven. However, we often begin to look around and take our eyes off of Jesus and begin to try to save ourselves, we get into trouble. We forget that our only chance of salvation is Jesus we begin to sink in our own sins. It is at that very moment that we must look back to Jesus and cry out for him to rescue us and bring us back into his saving grace.
If you are still in the boat, he’s calling you out to walk to him. If you have accepted his call, but have become distracted by your surroundings, he wants you to redirect your eyes to him. He will take you by the hand and pull you back to the surface.
You can walk on the water!
Last Sunday we began a series of messages about the life and ministry of Simon Peter, Jesus’ closest disciple titled, Rocky Road, If God can use Peter he can use you. This Sunday we will share in a message that we have called Duplicating Kingdom Leaders based on Matthew 14:22-33. I hope you will join us for this and every message in this series as we find God’s grace transforming this flawed disciple in the same way it can change you and me. See you Sunday!
Staying on top with you and Jesus,