Out of the boat
Most of us know the story of Jesus walking on water found in Matthew 14:22-33. We know that Peter joined him and also walked on water. Usually when we are listening to a sermon about this story or reading about it, we concentrate on how Peter got distracted with what was happening around him, doubt set in, and he began to sink. Jesus lovingly caught him and everyone was safe. This is an AMAZING lesson about distraction and doubt and should not be taken lightly. But, can I dare take a moment and bring to light something that captivates me with this story?
Let me set the scene…
After the miracle of feeding the five thousand, Jesus needed some alone time to pray. He must have been exhausted… preaching, healing, doing miracles, etc. And just before that, John the Baptist had been beheaded and because of the crowds following him, Jesus really hadn’t had any quality alone time to pray, mourn and spend time with his Father. So, he told the apostles to go on ahead of him. Jesus dismissed the crowd, and went up on a mountainside to pray.
When he was done, he realized the boat was a “considerable distance from land.” Now, Jesus could have chosen to get to the disciples by any means. I love that Jesus never let an opportunity get wasted. He chose this to be the scene of his next miracle. And just like that… Jesus decided to take a stroll right on the top of the water. The waves were kicking up and it was shortly before dawn so it must have been fairly dark, with possibly a hint of light on the horizon. But there he was, walking calmly on the water, heading towards the boat.
When the disciples saw him approaching, they thought he was a ghost. But Jesus announced himself and told them to “not be afraid.” What happens next is what captivates me. Peter’s reply to seeing Jesus walking on the water was this: “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Wait... what??? Ok, let’s pause the story right there. Walking on water is something NO ONE in the history of mankind had ever seen or experienced. I think to myself, what would MY reaction possibly have been? Maybe something to the effect of:
Oh my goodness, Jesus, please come into the boat. Take my hand!
Jesus??? (mouth hanging open speechless)
Brothers...LOOK! Our Lord is walking on the water! That is SO awesome!! Whoa...
I just love Peter so much for his reaction. “...Tell me to come to you!” He wanted to join Jesus in the impossible. He wanted to be a part of the miracle. Jesus was his Lord but was also his friend and he wanted to experience this part of life with him!
So, it makes me stop and wonder… Am I an active part of what Jesus is doing in my life or am I sitting in the “safety” of the boat being a cheerleader, or maybe just sitting there silently? When I pray, am I asking God to show me how to be an active part in the miracles around me? Am I daring to request to do the impossible?
At this point, let's recall the rest of the story. Peter DID get out of the boat. Then he doubted and fell but Jesus caught him. It's with this in mind that we want to remember that when God says “Yes, get out of the boat,” we have to be ready for the impossible. We have to be ready so that when the miracle is happening, we become a living testimony, which will advance the kingdom and truly make our God smile. And isn't that the ultimate goal anyways? I can only speak for myself but my renewed life purpose is to not let one single day slip away without making my Father proud!
Prayer Prompt: Oh God, my heavenly Father, maker of the heavens and earth. You are the same now as you were then and always will be. Your goodness NEVER fails. Thank you for gifting me with your word, the Bible. I love to see how you deal with people of the past who in some ways are a lot like me. We doubt, we stumble, we struggle and we sin. But you love us anyway and grant us your unfailing mercy and grace every single day. Abba, I humbly request that you give me unshakable faith, strength and the desire to get out of the safety of my boat and walk to you, daring to take part in your miracles and never doubt. And when I falter, because we both know I will, I thank you in advance for lovingly continuing to lift me up as I try, try and try again. My hand is out, I am your child, lead me Lord. I choose to follow you all my days. I pray I have made you smile today... somehow, someway. In Jesus name. Amen!