Peter responded and said to Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ And He said, ‘Come!’ And Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and when he began to sink, he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’
– Matthew 14:28-30
John the Baptist was dead.
When Jesus learned his cousin had been beheaded, He took a boat to a secluded place to mourn. The crowds discovered His whereabouts and tracked Him down, waiting on the shore for His return.
They didn’t care about His pain. Probably no one asked about His loss. As always, the Savior put the needs of the people before His own and healed them.
As the day dragged on, the crowd refused to leave. The disciples asked for permission to send them away, citing the late dinner hour. Jesus instead challenged them to feed the people themselves.
We all know the story. The disciples brought what they had to Jesus, and He multiplied their meager offering to feed the crowd. He sent the people away, commanded the disciples to cross the sea in the boat, and withdrew to pray.
But the day was not done.
While he prayed on the mountain, the weather turned foul on the sea. The boat carrying the disciples was battered by the storm, and the disciples were afraid. Jesus perceived the danger and went to them.
As the wind whipped around them and the waves pitched their boat, Jesus emerged out of the tempest, walking on the water toward them. Not expecting to see Jesus crossing the sea without a boat, the disciples thought He was a ghost.
Jesus called to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter, always the brash one, asked Jesus to call him out upon the water.
Jesus replied, “Come.”
Peter climbed out of the boat and joined Jesus on the waves. But the storm raged under their feet.
What was Peter expecting? Did he think the sea would simply calm because Jesus was with him?
Why had they encountered such fierce weather, anyway, when they were only following Jesus’ command to cross the sea? Not only had the storm not calmed, Peter put himself in danger by obeying the Lord.
Didn’t the crowd receive their miracles? Sure, they did, and so did Peter.
But Peter also learned a lesson.
When Jesus granted his bold request, He knew Peter was unprepared for all that it entailed. Overcome with fear and doubt at the waves, the disciple began to sink into the sea. The Lord pulled him to safety.
The disciple’s mistake, of course, was to take his eyes off Jesus when he realized he had stepped out of his comfort zone. But still, by believing and obeying, Peter did the unthinkable. He walked on water. When he was overcome with doubt, he called out to God and was saved out of his own failure.
Jesus took him back to the boat, stopped the wind, and took them safely to the other side.
What was the lesson Peter learned?
Find the Savior in your storm, and never look away.
The applications for our own lives are many:
- Don’t let our own sorrows keep us from seeing the needs of others.
- Seek God in prayer always.
- Dare to pray bold prayers but be prepared for all that the answer may bring.
- Obedience doesn’t always mean the journey will be smooth.
- Don’t let fear warp our vision of the Christ.
- Never take our eyes off the Savior.
- Be assured we will always reach the other side safely.
What storm are you facing today? Are you content to stay in the boat and wait for deliverance? Or are you willing pray a bold prayer and walk upon the waves?
Whatever you do, keep your eyes on the Savior, always.