Walking on Water

Searching His Word
 Seeking His Heart

Several months ago, we talked about the feeding of the 5,000. Let’s look at the wild adventure of that evening and on into the night.

The day had been long and exhausting. Jesus taught and healed many. How many? Well, out of 5,000, you can only imagine. Then came the great miracle of blessing the five loaves and two fish with the disciples organizing and helping feed the crowd.

Jesus tells the disciples to push out in the boat and meet him on the other side. He opts to walk up a nearby mountain. For what?

After he dismissed them, he went up on the mountainside by himself to pray. Matthew 14:23

Many times in Scripture we see Jesus going off alone (a rare delight) to pray. I always think, if Jesus had the need for prayer, most assuredly I do too.

        

While He’s refueling himself, the boatload of disciples are a good ways from shore. The wind begins to blow across the water and soon, it is so strong the waves beat against the boat. The howl of the wind, the rocking of the boat, and the slaps of water in their faces cause great alarm for these twelve sailors.

Sometime between 3:00 and 6:00 A.M., the fourth watch, one of them suddenly points out toward the water and shouts, “Look!” They see a figure coming toward them and it’s on top of the water. 

“It’s a ghost!” one of them cried out in fear. Matthew 14:26

Jesus, who is walking toward them—yes, walking ON the water—yells out to them over the wind and waves.

“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Matthew 14:27

Impetuous Peter jumps up and calls out.

“Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” Jesus said.

Peter does three positive things. He gets out of the boat in faith, walks on the water, and keeps his eyes on Jesus. However, things go downhill when he takes his eyes off Jesus.

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Matthew 14:30

Jesus rebukes Peter for having little faith and doubting.

In some ways, it seems that he actually demonstrated amazing faith, but Peter still has much to learn about trust. Jesus grabs his arm; they get in the boat, and the winds die down. The disciples fall before Him in worship. They say,

“Truly you are the Son of God!” Matthew 14:33b

Did they not already know that after their incredible journeys with Him? After the day they had just spent with Him? 

But their eyes had never been blind. Their limbs not withered. While they absorbed the teachings, they weren’t in fearful places. But this time they experienced fear themselves. It was personal. Greater fearful times were ahead. This was training ground for learning to trust more and more.

Lord, help us keep our eyes fixed on you. Build our trust in the storms-of-life training ground.

~ Joyce ~

 

 

Peter – Walking on Water

            Searching His Word
                       Seeking His Heart

As we come to that familiar passage where Peter walks on the water, we must remember that he has come a long way in his experiences with Jesus.

Peter has watched Jesus heal many—the demon possessed, a leper, the deaf, the blind, a centurion’s servant, even his own mother-in-law. 

When Jesus sent the disciples out two by two to preach, He empowered them to heal. Excitedly, they came back to report in, but their report took a back seat as Jesus dealt all day teaching a large crowd. 

At the end of the day, this crowd of 5,000 was fed by two fish and five loaves of bread. 

After this miraculous feeding, Jesus sent the disciples out in a boat while He dismissed the crowd and stayed on shore to spend quiet time in prayer.

After meditating for a while, Jesus looked up to see a storm brewing. The disciples’ boat rocked back and forth in the wind and waves. In His humanity, Jesus walked to the shore, but the divinity of Jesus took over and He walked on the water toward the boat. 

When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 

At this point, spontaneous Peter sprang into action.

“Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” 

“Come,” Jesus said.

That was all he needed. Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. Yeah, Peter, you did it!

Uh-oh, here comes the “but.”

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Happens to us all, right? When he saw the wind, he took his eyes off Jesus. How often have we done that? We get all hyped up about doing something important, even something spiritual, and walk toward Jesus, but then get distracted. We begin to doubt. We lose faith. The very things Jesus told Peter.

“You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:26-31

Jesus caught sinking Peter and they climbed in the boat. In spite of Peter’s actions, two things happened;

… the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” 

We can feel for Peter and say, “At least he tried.” That’s true, but my take-away from Peter’s experience is remembering how I can get so entangled by distractions, that I take my eyes off the main source of my strength.

When we take His outreached hand, two things happen, the winds of doubt die down, and we worship Him in awe.

~ Joyce ~

 

 

Peter, the Up and Down Disciple

As we move toward Easter this month, we will look at events through the eyes of Peter. We saw him begin this journey by confessing his sin to Jesus. (See last week’s post – Simon Peter, at the Sea of Galilee.)

Peter had much to learn, but eventually he became a “fisher of men.” When all four Gospels give a list of the disciples, Peter is always listed first. He was a part of the “inner circle” of disciples, along with James and John. Peter was bold and burly before his conversion and that same personality came through afterward. It makes me think of how the Lord takes our personalities and gleans the best to be used for his purposes.

Like the other disciples, Peter had a plethora of exciting experiences as he followed Jesus.

He saw Jesus:

  • heal his mother-in-law
  • heal the paralytic man in Capernaum
  • restore the demon-possessed man on the other side of the sea
  • raise Jairus’ 12 year-old daughter from the dead

Peter heard the teachings of Jesus:

  • words of challenge, fulfillment, and warning
  • messages of belief, trust, and humility
  • teachings about dependence on God, the love of God, the justice and mercy of God

Peter heard the parables of Jesus:

  • weeds and seeds
  • pearls and nets
  • lost things and found things

Now he was rarin’ and ready, but Peter did have his ups and downs. Jesus had miraculously fed 5,000 people on the hillside. Each disciple had collected a basket of the left-overs. (12 disciples—12 left-over baskets), but they still had lessons to learn. Jesus told them to get in the boat and go to the other side of the sea, while he went up the mountain to pray. Into the night , the wind picked up and the men had to fight the waves with their oars.

25 During the fourth watch of the night 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 said to them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Matt. 14:25-27

And now, bold and impetuous Peter was ready.

28 Lord, if it’s you, ” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 Come,” he said. (with a smile?) Then Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. Matt. 14:28-29

You’ve got to hand it to Peter. It was indeed a bold move. He had great faith to even try, but why? What was the point? Was he taking things into his own hands? Testing Jesus? Or just being unbridled Peter?

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?” Matt. 14:30-31

It was quite an emotional scene for all of them. Jesus and Peter climbed in the boat, the wind died down, and the waves of their emotions settled to the point that they could grasp all that had just happened. Their response?

33 Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

How often have I thought, what do I need to do? And I take  things into my own hands rather than asking Him what I need to do or I brood over an issue or decision without asking Him to intervene. Yes, like Peter, we have our “ups and downs” too. Are you thinking of a circumstance in your life when you have failed to put things in His hands? Reach out. He’s there to take your hand. He loves you so much that he offers his nail-scarred hand of sacrificial love to you.

~ Joyce ~