Summary: To encourage brethren to exercise their faith.
“Where could Jesus be,” wondered the disciples. They hung on tightly to the tiny boat as it was being tossed about by a strong wind.
“He should have called to us by now,” said one of the men. “He was only going to send the people away and pray. That was many hours ago.”
In fact, that was while it was yet day, and now it was after 3 in the morning. “Perhaps we cannot hear Him call,- the waves have pushed us very far from shore,” said Nathaniel. “I doubt it,” Thomas replied. “I pray the Jews have not arrested Him,” said John, fearfully. Peter said nothing. He just continued to peer through the breaks in the fog, hoping to spot a signal fire from the Lord. Occasionally, he would tilt his ear in hope of hearing a distant call.
Suddenly, there was a terrifying cry of fear,- “I see a ghost!” “There, through the fog!” Immediately panic seized the hearts of the disciples, holding them in its paralyzing grip. Surrounded by a raging sea there was nowhere to run.
Through the fog they could see the ghostly figure moving across the churning waters toward them. Sensing the mental anguish of His disciples Jesus cried,- “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” His stunned followers continued to stare, but no longer from fear but in wonder. John said, “It is the Lord!” Thomas spoke up and asked,- “How can we be sure?!”
Then Peter turned back to the sea and called out saying,- “Lord, if it is really You, command me to come to You on the water.” Judas Iscariot immediately rebuked Peter saying,- “What are you doing? You will surely drown in these waves!” “Quiet Judas!” said Peter sternly. “If it is the Lord He will uphold me,- if not I will begin to sink immediately and you may pull me back into the boat.”
Then a familiar voice called out again,- “Come, Peter. Come to Me.” Peter felt sure now,- it was the Lord. But Peter had asked the impossible, and now Jesus was inviting him to do the impossible.
God had created the laws of science, including the law of gravity. Surely Peter’s own weight would pull him down into the sea. It was one thing to believe that the Lord could walk on water, but another to believe that a mere man could.
Looking down at the angry sea, Peter wondered,- “Should I dare the impossible?” Suddenly a comforting thought began to form in Peter’s mind. Something that he had heard the Lord say one day,- “With men, some things are impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
What an empowering thought! Peter’s faith began to rise up within him and he quickly leaped overboard. Peter found himself standing on the waters but he was not surprised. Quickly and joyfully, he began to walk toward the out-stretched arms of the Lord. Peter thought, “the Lord was right! We can do anything if the Lord is with us.”
As Peter came near Jesus he could see an expression on the Lords’ face that unmistakenly told him that the Lord was happy that he had overcome his fear, and had acted upon the invitation to walk on water. Then Peter remembered something Jesus had said when He was teaching them about the importance of faith. He had told them,- “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” “God is most pleased, when you step into the realm of impossibility,” - “the place where, with man it is impossible, but being assured, that with God all things are possible.”
Many thoughts began to race through Peter’s mind confirming what Jesus had taught. He began to remember the stories he had heard read each Sabbath in the synagogue. Stories of how ordinary men did extraordinary things when God was with them. When Moses stretched his arms the Red Sea parted. Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace could not harm the young Hebrew slaves who were cast into it because the Lord was with them. Faithful Daniel was safe in a den of lions. Young David killed the Philistine giant, Goliath with a single stone. Elijah prayed and shut up the heavens that it should not rain, and also called fire down from heaven. “God has always been faithful,” thought Peter. “Why should I doubt?”
Suddenly, Satan, the prince of the power of the air, seeing Peter’s shield of faith growing large and strong, sent a mighty gust of wind to break his concentration. The wind blew up a wave that slapped hard against Peter’s leg. Suddenly, Peter took his eyes off Jesus and looked down. Seeing the angry sea, feeling the power of the wind and hearing Satan whisper - “You are not able!” into his consciousness, Peter began to sink into the deep. “Lord, save me!” he cried. Jesus stretched forth His hand and took hold of him saying, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Lack of faith was the problem.