22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. 23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. 24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said.So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,”Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.
It’s here that we see the Redeemers response, as Jesus reaches out to save Peter. While Peter took his eyes off Jesus and started to sink, he still knew who to call out to as he says in verse 30: “Lord, save me!”At least he had the good sense to call for help when he needed it. Some of us wait way too long to ask for God’s help. I want you to see here that Peter was not disqualified from a life of faithfulness just because he lost focus. The same is true for you, just because you have allowed your fears to paralyze you doesn’t me that you can’t cry out to Christ. Look how Jesus responds:
- He rescues
Verse 31 says: “Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him.”Today some of you are drowning and you need to cry out to Jesus, only He has the power to reach out and rescue you. But its more than just asking Him to save you from your situation but from your sin. Your sin of doubt and disobedience, your fear and anxiety. Peter not only knew the joy of walking on the waves by faith, but he also knew the joy of being lifted up out of his failure. When Peter couldn’t walk to Jesus, Jesus came to him.
- He rebukes
Even though Jesus rescued Peter, He turned it into a teachable moment in the last part of verse 31: “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”Jesus is continuously asking that question of His followers today. Why did you doubt? Why don’t you trust me to do what I said I would do? Is there any area in your life where you are doubting Jesus?
- He restores
The reality is that because Peter was in a position to fail, he was also in a position to grow. I’m confident that he grew greatly in his faith as a result of this experience. It reminds me of the truth of 2 Timothy 2:13: “If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.”Jesus then returns Peter to the boat which results in two details that are often lost in the retelling of this water walking experience. First
- The storm dies down.
Verse 32 is really amazing: “When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.”As soon as Jesus climbs into the boat, He begins to restore peace to their lives. It is His presence that brings peace. When Jesus climbs into our life circumstances everything changes. So often what we want is a change in our circumstances, but what we really need is Christ in the midst of our circumstances. Peace is not the absence of problems but the presence of Christ. Not only did the storm die down but:
- The disciples bow down.
Think about all that the disciples experienced during this encounter with Jesus. They watched him feed over 5,000 people. They saw Jesus walk on water. They saw His glory when He passed by them. They heard Him boldly declare His oneness with God Almighty when He said, “I am who I am.” They saw Peter do something that was totally impossible. They watched as Jesus saved Peter. And they saw that the wind and the waves died down as soon as Jesus got in the boat. They responded the only way they knew how in verse 33: “Then those in the boat worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.”The result is rejoicing as the disciple’s worry is replaced with worship. You can’t focus on the faithfulness of Christ and your fear at the same time. Either you will focus on His faithfulness and get caught up in the worship or you will focus on fear and wallow in the worry. Impression must always precede expression. We don’t worship just to express ourselves. We worship as a result of being impressed with the awesomeness of God. Your expression of God will be the result of His impression on you. Some of you are not very impressed by God therefore you are not very expressive of God. The disciples bowed down in worship. We’re right back to where we started, this is what Jesus wanted to happen all along. He didn’t want them caught up in the praise of people he wanted them caught up in praising God. The way we live is a consequence of the size of our God, tragically, many of us have a small view of God. This storm just provided an opportunity for their faith to flourish. So, don’t get angry over the storms, because they will strip you of self and show you the Savior. Problems provide an opportunity to walk by faith. The truth is trials just reveal where your trust is really placed. Whether you are holding onto the boat or what you say you believe. So, let me ask you, what steps is Jesus calling you to take:
- Call out. Ask God to let you know what it is that He wants you to do.
- Get out. What fears are holding you back from a life of faith. Where is God calling you to get out of the boat? Ask yourself this question: What am I doing right now that I could not do without the power of God?
- Cry out. Who or what are you really clinging onto.
- Bow down. We can never forget that Christ’s church was birthed when believers were gathered together in worship. It was led by people full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and they received the power that God had promised. Never forget that the walls of Jericho came down as a result of worship. Where do you need to bow and submit to the supremacy of the Savior? Don’t let worry rob you of worship. Faithfulness comes from following Jesus, fear comes when we follow our feelings.