Summary: Lessons we can learn about Walking by Faith from Peter’s experience of walking on the Water.
Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 23After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 24But the boat was already „Ta long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25And in the „Tfourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."
28Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.¨ 29And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said* to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly God’s Son" (Matthew 14:22-32)
In 1993 FBI agents conducted a raid of Southwood psychiatric hospital in San Diego, which was under investigation for medical insurance fraud. After hours of reviewing medical records, the agents had worked up an appetite. The agent in charge of the investigation called a nearby pizza parlor to order a quick dinner for his colleagues.
According to snopes.com, a site dedicated to sleuthing out urban legends, the following telephone conversation actually took place.
Agent: Hello. I would like to order 19 large pizzas and 67 cans of soda.
Pizza Man: And where would you like them delivered?
Agent: We’re over at the psychiatric hospital.
Pizza Man: The psychiatric hospital?
Agent: That’s right. I’m an FBI agent.
Pizza Man: You’re an FBI agent?
Agent: That’s correct. Just about everybody here is.
Pizza Man: And you’re at the psychiatric hospital?
Agent: That’s correct. And make sure you don’t go through the front doors. We have them locked. You will have to go around to the back to the service entrance to deliver the pizzas.
Pizza Man: And you say you’re all FBI agents?
Agent: That’s right. How soon can you have them here?
Pizza Man: And everyone at the psychiatric hospital is an FBI agent?
Agent: That’s right. We’ve been here all day and we’re starving.
Pizza Man: How are you going to pay for all of this?
Agent: I have my checkbook right here.
Pizza Man: And you’re all FBI agents?
Agent: That’s right. Everyone here is an FBI agent. Can you remember to bring the pizzas and sodas to the service entrance in the rear? We have the front doors locked.
Pizza Man: I don’t think so.
You know, sometimes we miss great opportunities, because we are unwilling to take a step of faith. In today’s Scripture reading, we find Peter ready, willing and able to step out of the boat; If you think about it, this was a tremendous act of faith.
One of the things that I find fascinating about this story is how quickly we are to criticize Peter. We look at the entire story and we think; "Yeah, Peter blew it again. He took his eyes off of Jesus - he saw the storm and waves around him and suddenly, he begins to sink; to drown." But, instead of looking at the negative aspect of this story, let’s dwell on the positive. After all, eleven of the men in that boat weren’t even willing to get out of the boat. Peter may have had his doubts when he got in the middle of the storm, but at least he demonstrated his faith. At least he was willing to ask Jesus the impossible and respond in faith - when Jesus told him to, he was willing to go for it.
I believe that there are a lot of us here this morning that truly desire to see God do the impossible. And many of us want to be involved. We want Jesus to use us. The problem is, we are in the boat. Although the storms may be raging around us, we find it much safer to be in the boat than out walking on the water.
Maybe its time we - like Peter - take a step of faith and ask Jesus to allow us to do the impossible.
This morning, let’s take of couple of minutes to learn some very important lessons from this story.