25And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
Matthew 14: 25-31
This is one of my favorite New Testament stories. I have long drawn strength and comfort in its verses. In it I see seven principles worth learning.
1. “It is I; be not afraid”. In German there is an extra phrase at the beginning, “Hab vertrauen” – Have trust, it is I, Jesus the Christ, be not afraid. The first step in having faith is having a clear understanding of the nature of God. We need to come to know Jesus Christ and then we can build our faith, our trust in him. And when we know Jesus Christ, we will not be afraid, for we will know to whom we can look for remission of our sins, to whom we can look for comfort, solace, and hope in any hour of our lives.
2. Jesus said, Come. Jesus always says, Come. He invites us to come unto him, to learn of him, to become like he is. The gospel of Jesus Christ is an invitation to come unto Christ.
3. Peter walked on water. As impossible as it sounds, and as much as we remember the rest of the story, it is important not to forget that Peter actually did walk on water. With his faith in Christ he achieved what Christ had asked him to do.
4. “When he saw the wind boistrous” – that’s when Peter began to sink. Up to this point he had been walking on water, walking toward Christ, he was looking to Christ and that gave him the ability to do the impossible. But, when he lowered his eyes, when he ceased looking to Christ, that is when he was afraid and began to sink. The scriptures often talk about keeping an “eye single to the glory of God”, which in German is translated as, “having an eye concentrated on God.” That is a key principle to learn, to keep our sights on our eternal goals, having faith in Christ that we will achieve.
5. “He cried, saying, Lord, save me” – Peter knew where his salvation was, he knew how he could be saved. He didn’t try to swim on his own for a while, didn’t try treading water, he turned to the Lord with complete trust in him to save.
6. “And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him” — Immediately. Christ did not leave him in the water, didn’t let him almost drown before stepping in, it was immediate. He stretched forth his had. Look at a picture of Christ, in most of them he is reaching his hand out, inviting and assuring that he is there. “
7. “Wherefore didst thou doubt?” Do you hear the loving disappointment in his voice? Here was Peter, his chief Apostle, walking on the water. How proud he must have been, until Peter began to be afraid and doubt and sink. Why do we doubt? When called by Christ, asked to do anything, no matter how impossible, if Christ has asked it of us, he will provide a way to accomplish it. We need not doubt anything, if we have faith in Christ and the Spirit of the Lord in our lives.
Peter is a wonderful man, a wonderful example. I love the faith and the trust that he has in Christ that allows him to be who he is. We, too, can be as Peter, as we look to Christ, trust in him and follow his example. Because that is essentially what Peter is doing, he is following Christ, quite literally, on the water. We follow Christ a little less literally, but in a very real sense. We follow him and become as he is. That is the promise of the gospel, and that is its greatest blessing. Gaining that level of faith where it is possible to walk on water.