Summary: Failure isn’t an event, it’s the reaction to an event
Let’s start off with talking about the boat. What is the boat? Well, it’s safe, warm, somewhat dry, but most importantly it floats. The comfort that the boat brings is priceless in a storm.
Secondly, the boat is where most of the passengers of this cruise had spent their whole life. Most of the men on board were fishermen … especially Peter. Peter owned his own crew of boat. (Jesus borrowed one to preach the sermon by the sea.) So these aren’t little wimpy, puny boys on this ship. They’re tough. I doubt there was any ‘n sync playing on board. These were men. Why is that important? According to these verses these guys, these fishermen, these boat handlers, these disciplined followers of Jesus, have been in the boat all day, at the very least 7-8 hours. Heck, they were only supposed to go to the other side. But here they are, 8 hours later still in the boat.
So there they are tired, wet, cold, frustrated, their pride is whipped (if a woman had been on board, someone would have at least had sense enough to ask for directions.) I think it’s easy to say that this is a bad storm, and these boys are scared. So scared that when Jesus shows, they think he’s a ghost! You see every time Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid” “Fear not” that meant that he had scared the disciples again. So Jesus shows up and they think he’s a ghost. Not the Holy Ghost either. Not even Casper the friendly ghost. They thought he was a real ghost. Because the first thing Jesus says is, “It is I, don’t be afraid.”
Why are the conditions of the storm so important? Because, it is in these conditions…that Peter gets out of the boat! I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t have gotten out on a beautiful day with the sun shining, much less in big, big storm. Peter kind of pins Jesus against the wall he says, “Lord if it’s really you let me walk on the water to you.” What’s Jesus going to say, “No Peter, it’s not me, never mind.” Jesus had to say “yes”.
Jesus says, “COME!” Now a lot of people when they read that word they say it kind of docile, “come. There’s a storm roaring, people, he didn’t say it, he shouted it, “COME! Church that’s how we know when the conditions are right when Jesus says “COME”. People are waiting around for the conditions to be right, they’re never right. If you’re waiting for the conditions to be right before you: get married, start a business, start a family, go to church, you’ll never do anything.
So here’s Peter he walks on the water for a while, as we all know, he takes his eyes off Jesus, and he sinks. That’s usually where the sermon ends. Yep, Peter’s wet, Jesus rebukes him, puts him back in the boat, the end, Peter failed the test of faith. But, did he?
You see church, failure isn’t an event, it’s the reaction to an event. Peter didn’t let this one thing ruined the rest of his life. He didn’t collapse and give up the ministry. Sure maybe he did fail, but there were eleven bigger failures, still sitting in the boat. He at least got out of the boat. Not only did he get out of the boat, he walked on water. That looks good on a resume’: “Healed some blind guys, preached at Pentecost, oh yeah, and I walked on water. P.S. asked John if he ever walked on water.” You see at the end of the day, Peter knew what if felt like to face public humility, he knew what it felt like, to fail in front of friends, and front of Jesus. But when he laid down that night to go to sleep, he was the only one that knew what it felt like to walk on water.