Matt. 14:28-30. “And Peter answered [Jesus] and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
This is a great story! It has all the ingredients of a growing relationship with Jesus. Everybody knows that Jesus walked on water. There are three times in the Bible that mention Jesus “walking on water” or “walking on the sea”. Often people use this as ‘best evidence’ of Jesus deity, that He was able to walk on water, when no one else could. But this was Peter, just a common, ordinary human, like you and me. They didn’t wear pants in those days, but if they had, he would have put his pants on one leg at a time, just like you and me. Peter did a lot of good stuff in his time on the earth, but he also did some bad stuff, and occasionally some really stupid stuff. But Jesus chose him, and Jesus loved him. And Peter walked on water.
There had to be something going on in Peter’s heart (and imagination) for him to even think to say, “Lord, if it’s you, make me walk on the water.” He must have already figured out that Jesus really was special, extraordinary, even supernatural. It must’ve already registered in Peter’s heart that Jesus was able to do a whole lot of things that no one else could do, that He had power; power to do things in and through others. ‘Course I doubt Peter thought about all that just then. He probably said that without thinking, just on the spur of the moment, he just blurted it out, because like a little kid, he wanted to see what would happen. It might be fun. It might be a buzz to walk on the water. I betcha it was too!
I’ve often wondered what Peter thought afterwards, when he was sitting in the bottom of the boat, soaking wet after sinking into the sea and being rescued by Jesus. Guess you’d call it ‘mixed feelings’. On the one hand, I’m sure he was a little embarrassed that he got scared and sank. (Nah. Peter? not for long) I imagine he was thinking, “What a buzz!!! For a minute there I was actually walking on the water. Bet that really freaked those other guys out! (and me too!)” I imagine everyone there (except Jesus) was in a state of shock over everything that happened in that 2 or 3 minutes. If you could go back in time that’s something I’d really want to see. After it was over, and you had a chance to settle down, it would make you want to laugh for joy.
OK, but what is the point of this story? I’ve heard teachers and preachers say this is about keeping your eyes on Jesus; ignore the wind and the waves and the problems in your life, keep your eyes on the Source. He’s the only one who can and will save you. That’s all true. Peter definitely trusted Jesus; he knew Jesus was the Source of the Power; and he knew Jesus would save him if something bad happened, or he wouldn’t have even asked. Also, some say this is about ‘Expecting a Miracle’. I like that too!
What I really like is that ole Peter had a sense of adventure! This relationship with Jesus is not just about righteousness and obedience, it’s also about adventure! Down in his heart, Peter knew that. That’s one of the most attractive things about Peter. If you look at David, he had that same sense of adventure, because they both knew, down in the bottom of their hearts, that they could trust God to take care of them, so they really could live life to the fullest. For me, that is one of the main points of this story.
For me, this story is a symbol of our journey with God, from being a new believer to being a mature, surrendered, loving, humble, grateful, trusting, obedient servant of God and others. It’s not just about being good, it’s also about having fun, experiencing the Power and the Glory and the Presence of God in our lives. It’s about feeling the touch of God in your heart and knowing it’s Him. It’s about trusting Him through all the fear, and the anger, and the depression, knowing that God really is with you, He really is taking care of you, no matter what it looks like on the outside. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!