The story is recorded in Matthew 14. Peter and the others had seen Jesus weather one of the most difficult losses thus far in His ministry with the death of John the Baptist, but that is a devo for another day…
Having been dismissed by Jesus, the disciples were going to the other side of sea. It was now the 4th watch of the night, between 3am and 6am, that strange time that is not still night, yet not quite morning. The wind and waves were crashing down upon the small boat and of course, the disciples were afraid. There was more anxiety to come their way as, amidst the storm they saw a ghostly figure coming toward them, walking upon the water. Screaming in terror, they heard a familiar voice; their Friend, their Teacher, the very Son of God, bidding them not to fear.
Peter, my dear, verbose, step-in-it, put-his-foot-in-his-mouth, Peter spoke up above the roar of the waves. “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” (Matthew 14:28) I wonder why he did that…was he so frightened by the storm that he sought to get to the only safe place in his world, Jesus? I don’t know, but I do know he asked the Lord to let him come to Him.
And he did…rugged, earth-worn sandals met the water…and he walked on it! I wonder what was going through Peter’s mind as he took steps toward Jesus, walking on that turbulent sea.
Remember, by this time in Jesus’ ministry, Peter had already experienced more than a few faith building events: he had seen Jesus heal the man with the withered hand and make a blind man see. Peter himself had been sent out with a partner to heal the sick and proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom. He had seen Jesus captivate the crowds with His parables and just several hours before, He witnessed the Master feed 5,000 men (not counting the women and children) with only 5 small loaves of bread and 2 fish. He knew about miracles, he knew about faith…and yet…
After a few water-borne steps, it was no longer about all the crowds…and the sick…and bread or fish. It was just Peter…and Jesus…and the borders of trust between them. And as we know, Peter panicked and called out to Jesus as he was sinking, not only among the waves of water, but the waves of his own doubt and fear.
I give Peter major props for getting out of that boat as the other disciples cowered against the wind and waves and even while sinking, he knew on Whom to call…yet, what happened?
I think Peter, this soon to be great man of God ran headlong into his trust border and sank.
What are the borders of your trust in Jesus?
What is the Lord asking you to do that has caused you to get out of the boat only to later plead, “Save me Lord, lest I perish!”
You may walk upon the water of faith, you may sink in sudden doubt, but will you try to keep your eyes above the waves?
So right now…it’s just you…and Jesus…and your personal trust border…
What boat is He calling you to leave today?
(Kathy A. Sprinkle)
“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.
I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine”---“Oceans” by Hillsong United