Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowds. And after He had dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.
But when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear.
But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered Him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
So, Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33
One of the most tiring experiences I ever had was my first deep sea fishing trip celebrating my father’s birthday. I can recall the misery of waking up at 3:00 in the morning to get to a dock, spending 3 hours traveling on the sea to our spot, spending 6 hours on the water, traveling 3 hours back, and getting home at 10 at night. It was an exhausting, fun trip!
We were all safe despite having some rough weather along the way. I love a good storm when I am on dry land and in a building of sorts, but storms gain a new level of intimidation when you are out to sea. On land, a storm does not feel as though it is shaking you. When you are on the water in a boat, you feel every single bit of it.
In our passage today, we get a glimpse of how intense storms on the water can be. The disciples were trying to cross the water when a storm came out of nowhere. They were terrified and for good reason. Boats have come along way for us today, but back during those times, boats were simple. With the waves crashing, and the wind blowing, the disciples knew they were in big trouble. Then, the disciples saw a ghost walking on the water. I imagine the disciples thought at this point, “A storm is bad enough, but now a ghost!”
Thankfully, it was not a ghost. It was Jesus. Jesus was walking towards them on the water, and Peter did what any person would do if they saw a human walking on water: bargain. Peter asked Jesus, “If it’s really you Jesus, let me walk on the water with you.” Jesus tells Peter to come on out, and sure enough Peter walks on the water. We know the next part; Peter takes his eyes off Jesus and begins to sink. For years we have heard this story utilized in church to remind us to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and not our circumstances. This is a great reminder and it is an important truth for our lives.
But I have noticed every single person is similar to Peter in this particular situation. We all have moments when we take our eyes off Jesus. The most seasoned believer will have moments when they take their eyes off Jesus, even if just for a second. When we do sink, Jesus pulls us up out of the water just as He did for Peter.
One truth I have learned from this encounter is everyone takes their eyes off Jesus but not everyone gets out of the boat.
We give Peter flack for taking his eyes off Jesus and sinking into the water, but Peter experienced something no one else has - walking on water. Peter got out of the boat. A lot of us wonder why we do not get to “walk on water” and it is due to our fear. It keeps us clinging to the boat and our life jackets. Jesus promises when we get out of the boat, He will still pull us up if our eyes drift from Him.
We have the promise that when we take a risk for Jesus like Peter did, Jesus will be there for us even when we are sinking. For those of us stuck in the boat, we are possibly missing out on the chance to experience something new with Jesus. Our hope should be to be on the water, seeing the power of Jesus, rather than watching on the sidelines.
What keeps you from getting out of your boat? What thoughts come to mind when you think about stepping out onto the stormy waters?
Hear Jesus telling you to, “Come.” What is the first step you could take to get out of the boat?
Father, thank you for calling me out of the boat. I pray against the fears and worries the enemy tries to put in my life to keep me in the boat. I not only believe You call me out of the boat, but I know You will be there to pick me up if I begin to sink. Your hands are strong enough to stop my sinking. Thank you for being there for me, I love You Father, and I pray this in Your holy name, Amen.
PC3 writer Davy Nance wrote today’s devotional.