Right then, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead to the other side of the lake while he dismissed the crowds. When he sent them away, he went up onto a mountain by himself to pray. Evening came and he was alone. Meanwhile, the boat, fighting a strong headwind, was being battered by the waves and was already far away from land. Very early in the morning he came to his disciples, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified and said, “It’s a ghost!” They were so frightened they screamed. Just then Jesus spoke to them, “Be encouraged! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” Peter replied, “Lord, if it’s you, order me to come to you on the water.” And Jesus said, “Come.” Then Peter got out of the boat and was walking on the water toward Jesus. But when Peter saw the strong wind, he became frightened. As he began to sink, he shouted, “Lord, rescue me!” Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him, saying, “You man of weak faith! Why did you begin to have doubts?” When they got into the boat, the wind settled down. Then those in the boat worshiped Jesus and said, “You must be God’s Son!” (Matthew 14:22-33, Common English Bible)
As Simon Peter stepped out of the boat and onto the water I have no idea what he would have said, at least not in the vernacular of his day. After all, unless we can read the original Greek texts we don’t really know anything about their vernacular. We only know what a translator tells us.
Still, when I read this story in my mind’s eye I can see it play out. As Peter steps out of the boat and begins walking on the water I can hear him say (in contemporary English of course), “Wow, this is so cool! I don’t really know how I’m doing it, but I am actually walking on the water!”
Of course, by reading the story we really knew how he did it. He maintained a focus on Jesus.
As I see the story unfold, he couldn’t have said much more than that because just about as quick as he got out of the boat he felt the wind hitting his face and the water splashing on his feet and he lost that focus he had on Jesus. When he started thinking about the external things instead of the things of his faith, the things of the Christ, that is when Peter really started to get into trouble. When he kept focused on Jesus, everything was fine. When he shifted that focus, he started to sink.
That is the truth for you and I as well. We may not be walking on the water and sinking into the stormy sea, but we do walk in a world overcome by the storms of life. When we keep our eyes on Jesus everything is just fine. But, when we get distracted by the storm, we start to sink. Why? We are focused on something besides Jesus.
For his part, Peter called out for Jesus to save him. We need that saving power too. More on that tomorrow.
When was the last time you stayed focused on Jesus? What distracted you? How did you call for Jesus to save you?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Peace,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved