Our scripture this week is Matthew 14:22-33. I usually remove the verse numbers to make reading easier (I think), but this week I’ll leave them in for comparison. Let me know what you think – numbers or no?
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Our friend Peter is known for being hot and cold – he’s either all in for Jesus or failing miserably. Most of us aren’t 100% either way, but we can certainly identify with Peter’s ups and downs. That is why Peter is such a great example for us. We all know the feeling of winning or losing.
In this passage, the disciples are frightened by Jesus coming to them walking on the water. Only Peter has the courage to try and for a little while, he too walked on water, headed out to Jesus. However, his fear overcame his faith and he began to sink.
I can just hear the disciples later on – “Hey Peter, remember that time you tried to walk on water and sank?” – and Peter can truthfully reply “Yeah, while all of you were still huddled in the boat!” We’ll never be able to walk on water, to do the hard things Jesus asks of us, if we don’t overcome our fear of failure or our fear in general. Jesus tells us all “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Dear Lord, we hear Your call but we are timid when we should be bold and we stay in our safe places, afraid to go out in Your name. Help us to be strong in our work for the kingdom, sharing the Good News with all the world. Amen.