When I think of different sermons I’ve heard about Peter’s getting “down out of the boat” in Matt 14:22-33, they tend to focus on the fact that Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, the source of his faith and in this case miraculous abilities and even chastise him for doing so. We usually teach or are taught about the need to keep our eyes on Jesus in the hardest moments, the ones where we can’t do it on our own and need faith to pull us through in miraculous ways.
It occurred to me that we have missed something powerful about this story.
I’m not sure if you noticed but Peter was the ONLY disciple who stepped out of the boat, he was bold enough to ask Jesus to call him out but didn’t stop there. He could have questioned Jesus’ call and said, “you’re a ghost, I don’t believe you” but instead he stepped out of the boat.
My point is this, Peter is the only human being in history to have walked on water! Have you ever considered that reality? He is the only human being to have been with Jesus in the midst of a literal storm and listened to his call and walked towards him – ON WATER! Even if it was just a few steps, he still did it!
We often look at the story and wonder how in the world Peter, after taking a few steps on water and seeing Jesus doing the same, could lose sight of Jesus at all. We may even find ourselves judging him saying things like “I would never do that – I would have kept my eyes on Jesus.”
Imagine how the others on the boat felt, do you think they were thinking about Peter’s lack of faith or wishing they had stepped out too?
I would ask you, would you have gotten out of the boat at all? Assuming all 12 of the disciples were in the boat, only one stepped out, asked Jesus to show himself and trusted enough to leave the safety of what he knew.
So, rather than judging his lack of faith, I’ve found reason to admire the incredible amount of faith he did have. Take the story and apply it to ourselves, are we willing to ask God to call us out of our comfort zone?
It seems to me that Peter questioned his ability to walk on water, what Jesus had called him to do NOT Jesus himself. He never questioned Jesus’ ability to save him from that water, he didn’t turn and jump for the boat but cried out to Jesus for help. Peter knew that Jesus would be there for him or he wouldn’t have gotten out of the boat at all.
I wrote previously on the way God develops a foundation of trust in us as we take smaller steps outside of our comfort zone, leading to bigger ones as we experience his provision and direction. Click here for that post
Peter took an INCREDIBLE step of faith because of a history of little steps.
No one else will ever be able to say they stood on water next to Jesus, at least in a literal sense.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to say that I stepped out of the boat. I might need Jesus to pull me out of the water at some point, but fortunately if He calls me out of the boat, He will be there to save me, especially at my weakest points.
I’m impressed with Peter’s faith, and believe we are called to the same.
Developing trust and relationship with Jesus includes asking for Him to call, and taking steps towards where He has called.
I’m envious of Jesus’ words spoken to Peter because in them I see growth, a willingness to go farther than anyone else would go, and a developing trust in His savior.
Let’s be like Peter and get out of the boat.