About a month ago, my mother-in-law gave my son Isaac an animated movie about the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We sat down to watch it together, and while after only a few minutes Isaac was distracted, watching it off and on while playing with his trains and cars and chasing our poor dog all around the room, I was absolutely riveted. I found myself soaking up every word and action, especially the part where Jesus walks on the water toward the disciples’ boat and calls Peter to come to Him.
If you’re like me, you’ve grown up hearing that particular Bible story in Sunday school and church over and over. You’ve heard it preached a thousand times, could probably quote it verbatim. After all, it’s hands down one of the coolest Bible stories ever! It was astounding to me the first time I heard it, and remains fascinating to this day. That amazing moment that Peter, a mere human just like you and me, actually defied the laws of nature and WALKED ON WATER. Awesome! Thrilling! Captivating! Hard to believe it really happened. But it did. Jesus and His disciples had just finished feeding 5,000 men, plus women and children, with only 5 loaves and 2 fish (another amazing story for another time!) and Jesus had just told his disciples to get in the boat and go to the other side while he sent the people away and went up the mountain to pray.
Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. (Why, I wonder, do we humans fear so easily?) But immediately (notice He didn’t wait – He calmed their fears right away because He who is perfect love casts out ALL fear!) Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered and said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” (I read this and think…what WAS he thinking?) So He said, “Come.” (Oh, okay. Here is where I would be like, “Ummm, Jesus, are you sure about this?” Can you imagine Him saying that to YOU???) And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. (Wait…he did WHAT?)
But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately (again I notice He doesn’t hesitate) Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Why? Humanly speaking it’s easy to see why. But according to the God who does the impossible? Indeed, why?) And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:23-33)
*Tune in tomorrow to read the second half of this article. Same Titus time, same Titus place!