We continued our look at the life of the apostle Peter this evening, concentrating on the time when he walked on water – albeit briefly!
In Mt 14:22-33, we pick up just after Jesus had fed the five-thousand. He tells his disciples to go on ahead to the other side of the lake by boat, whilst he stays and prays. The disciples are doing as Jesus says when they find themselves in difficulty. A storm has developed and the parallel account Mk 6 tells us they were struggling.
Eventually Jesus goes out to them walking on the lake, startlingly them at first, but calming them with his words. Even though they had only recently seen Jesus It is Peter who asks Jesus to prove he is who he claims to be. At this, Jesus tells Peter to come to him, at which Peter trusts Jesus and gets out of the boat and approaches him – getting out of the relative comfort and safety of the boat and walking on the water. For a moment, Peter’s faith in Jesus is unwavering, and then he is distracted by the wind, the wind which has been there all the time. Peter loses his focus on Jesus and starts to sink.
Jesus see Peter’s faith wavering, but his ability to save isn’t dependent on the strength of Peter’s faith. Jesus reaches out and stops Peter from sinking. They climbed into the boat, and the storm subsided. At this, some of the disciples began to realise who Jesus was, but looking at what happens later on, they still haven’t realised the implications!
As Christians, we must remember that life will not always be a bed of roses, or even a box of chocolates. Even though we trust Christ, bad things will still happen to us. Usually, these bad things have a purpose. They are God’s way of making us sit up and pay attention to him, that we might know what he is saying to us. For he is in control of everything.
For the disciples, it was to show them to place their faith in him. In many cases God is saying the same thing to us. It doesn’t matter how strong or how weak our faith in Christ is, for he is able to save. It does matter that we fix our attention on Christ and place our faith in him and not in ourselves, for only he can save us. Ultimately, our faith will bring us to realise who Jesus Christ really is, implications and all.