Matthew 14:27-29 (NIV)
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said.
Matthew 14:27-29 (NIV)
I wonder if you have ever had a go of something quite courageous, but half way into it you decide it’s too frightening and you want out. However the trouble is you have to see it now till its completion. Perhaps you’ve ventured out into the middle of the iceskate rink and literally “walked on water”, frozen as it was. Then you lose your balance and want to get back to the safety of the rail but there is a long way from the centre to the edge. Your friend that’s reaching out their hand to you seems too far too.
Peter went through this very thing. But the “walking on water” that he was doing was walking in Jesus’ miraculous footsteps. The stories that we have heard growing up, this one included sound all very nice on paper. This one can fill us with courage to face the storms in our life. We all have them. Yet I think something much more confronting is going on here. We are faced with the Jesus who acts beyond our rationality and not only that, but he invites us to join in so we end up doing things that clash with all that we think is possible.
Some of you who are reading this may have grown up in a non western culture where the supernatural was more common place. So when you came to faith in Christ and Jesus started displaying signs and wonders in your midst, you didn’t freak out totally. It’s harder for us who have grown up in a Western European culture such as colonial Australia. We have been taught since we were very small that rationality and reason are what is real. We can have our faith in God, but that’s separate somehow. We aren’t taught that God can break through and do things that defy all thinking right into our everyday life. So when it happens we end up very afraid, and not a good fear such as the “fear of the Lord”. It’s a sort of fear that keeps God quite at a distance, thank you very much. Or perhaps we are like Peter and begin to question. It’s always good to test the spirits. Not all spiritual powers are good. In fact only the Holy Spirit. Peter knew something supernatural was happening, but he wasn’t interested in joining in unless it was the Lord. This is a very good model to follow. The only thing was that he lost his nerve halfway out. His eyes went to the strong waves instead of being fixed on Christ and he began to sink. But Jesus is the one who meets all those who venture out when he calls. It was Jesus who called the disciples to get in that boat without him, and it was Jesus who called Peter to come to him even though a water expanse separated them. And he met them all with grace, but also with challenge. Not one sank, not even Peter. But despite Peter’s courage he challenges him “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”.
The faith that Christ is looking for is faith that can not only walk on water, but faith that has such utter confidence in the Lord that we keep on walking on water, no matter what’s happening around us.
Heavenly Father, Thank you for your son our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for the trust he had in you and the power that you gave him over creation. Forgive us when we place our spiritual life in another category and think that science is all that can teach us of what is real.
Help us not to get so frightened when you break through in our lives with miracles in our lives that defy all reasoning. Grant us the grace, not only to not run away, but to have the wonder of joining in with you and to keep on “walking on water”. All for Your Glory. In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen..