Summary: The first of a six-part series ‘Get Your Feet Wet.’
(Slide 1) I have shared elsewhere about my later in life triumph over my fear of water that has enabled me to swim. For others, it is an-going fear that has yet to be resolved.
Some people are sacred to death of flying. To think of getting on airplane and taking off at 150 MPH, climb to an altitude of 30,000 feet and go 400 or so MPH, is a bit much.
Reminds me of the story told years ago about a flight of a four-engine jet plane. It was a lengthy flight and it got lengthier when the co-pilot came on the intercom and said, ‘Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, we have lost power on our number two engine. So we will be an hour or so late. Sorry for the delay.’
A hour later the pilot came on the intercom, ‘Well, folks, we have lost power in our number four engine. But nothing to worry about, we still have two engines that work. Sorry for the delay again but it we will be at least two hours late to our destination.’
A short time later, the now nervous co-pilot announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, I hate to inform you but we have lost number one engine. Now our plane is built to fly on just one engine. However, we are projecting a three-hour delay to our destination. We are very sorry for the inconvenience.”
With a nervous cabin now coming to life, one passenger exclaimed, “If we lose that last engine, we are going to be up here all day.”
(I did not help anyone whom has a fear of flying, just now, did I?)
Fear is a very real thing. Max Lucado writes, ‘Fear it seems, has taken a hundred-year lease on the building next door and set up shop.’ (Source: Max Lucado, Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear.) We have financial fears, we have occupational fears, we have relational fears, we have personal fears, and we have safety fears – personal and national.
Today we begin a six part series called, “Get Your Feet Wet.” Our text for the series is Matthew 14:22-33. It is, as I said last week, the story of Peter walking on the water and it has come to represent in many peoples thinking the tension and the decision between fear and faith.
For this morning though, I want us to concentrate on verses 28 and 29:
(Slide 2) Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you by walking on water.” “All right, come,” Jesus said. (NLT)
Now recalling the four Bible study questions that I shared a few weeks ago, I ask, ‘What does this passage say?” It says that Peter asks for Christ to tell Peter to come to Him by walking on the water as proof of Jesus’ identity.
In the preceding verses, the disciples are scared to death at the sight of Jesus on the water thinking it was a ghost. But Jesus assures them that it is Him not a ghost and to not be afraid. Well, Peter then makes this statement, which appears in our main text, and it is a statement, a declarative statement. It is a request of, almost a command to Jesus to call him “to come to you by walking on water.” It is not a question, it is not, it appears to be, a request but a command to Jesus: “tell me” not ask me nor should I, but “tell me Jesus to come to you by walking on water.”
What does this passage, therefore, mean?
In the context of a very scary and fear filled situation, it seems to mean that Peter is asking Jesus to tell him to do something that required an extreme act of faith. Last week, I mentioned that only Peter asked to come to Jesus, not the other eleven. Why?
A couple of things coming to mind. First, our series main passage begins with the phrase, “Immediately after this…” (verse 22). Immediately after what? What does ‘this’ refer to?
It refers to the previous segment of chapter 14, verses 13 through 21, which tells us what? The feeding of the five thousand. A miracle story.
“Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”
“That isn’t necessary—you feed them.”
“Impossible!” “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish!”
“Bring them here,”
And a miracle took place.
Then, “Immediately after this, Jesus made his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake while he sent the people home.” He then goes off to pray.
It seems to me, as we read further, that Jesus has another miracle planned. Or, another faith development experience.