Summary: Peter was the only one who got out of the boat.
Walking on Water
Romans 1:17 – “The righteous will live by faith.”
Hebrews 11:6 – without faith it is impossible to please God
While on this earth, Jesus was amazed by one thing – people’s faith.
While on this earth, Jesus was limited by one thing – people’s faith.
They were fighting heavy waves
I think it’s interesting that the disciples didn’t recognize Jesus.
It seems that in the midst of trouble the last person they expected was Jesus.
I wonder if it’s because they were fishermen. They were probably used to this kind of weather and figured they could handle it themselves. The last thing they needed was some carpenter/teacher.
Isn’t that the way it is with us? We get into trouble we think we can handle and the last thing we are going to do is ask for help. What do we need faith for anyway?
Then we get so into trying to solve our problem ourselves we are oblivious to anything around us.
Then when God shows up we’re surprised.
So Peter went over the side
Peter took three steps.
Peter wasn’t willing to stay in the boat; and neither should we.
Of course the usual comment right here is a commentary on how Peter should have kept his eyes on Jesus, how he didn’t have enough faith, how he failed.
Did Peter fail? Kind of.
But it was the men still in the boat who were the biggest failures.
Only one man got out of the boat. There were eleven more who chose to stay in the relative comfort and safety of the boat instead of walking out in the storm with Jesus.
Americans today are obsessed with comfort.
According to John Ortberg, the best selling chair in America today is the La-Z-Boy.
And the ones they sell now have convenient little storage compartments for our remote controls.
Left to ourselves, most of us would like to live life the way we watch football, in our La-Z-Boys with our remotes in our hands.
I think that the remote control is one of the biggest barriers to commitment ever invented. When I watch TV I have to have my remote control in my hand. That way I can “channel surf”.
Without the remote I am ‘stuck’ watching the same channel no matter what’s on. (You don’t expect me to actually get up to change the channel do you?)
Of course many of us go through life that way.
If we had it our way we would live life with a remote control in our hand.
- Job getting a little too demanding? Click - New job.
- Relationship getting a little too close? Afraid the other person might get to know the real you? Click – New friends.
- Preacher used the F-word (finances) too many times? Click -New church.
- Afraid your friends or the church might not accept you if they knew about your past? Click – Hide behind a mask.
- Got burned at the last church? Click – Stop going. Stop trusting. Stop trying.
In our story here, we see that Peter opted not to settle for comfort. He opted not to give in to his fear. He put down his remote and Got out of the boat.
In the Gospel of Mark, one phrase is added to the story: “He was about to pass by them2”. There are two other times this same language is used.
1. Moses wanted to see God so God put Moses in a cleft in a rock so that Moses could see “while my glory passes by”.
2. God said to Elijah, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”
It seems that when Jesus came walking on the water, His intention was to reveal something of Himself to His disciples. When Mark records that Jesus was about to “pass by them”; he tells us that Jesus was intending to show them His glory.
The disciples then had a decision to make. They could see Jesus’ glory, or they could participate in it.
Only Peter and Jesus know what it’s like to walk on water. Well there’s that chick from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon but I’m pretty sure that was special effects.
Only Peter knows what it’s like to be lifted out of the water by Jesus Christ.
Only Peter knows what it’s like to walk on water side by side with God Almighty!
All the others just got to watch.
As we think about this. As we talk about taking risks. If we decide to take Bruce Wilkinson’s challenge and “attempt something large enough that failure is guaranteed…unless God steps in”3, then we can’t miss one important detail of this story.