Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water. ”So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. (Matthew 14:28-29, NKJV)
Outspoken, impetuous Peter. He had numerous faults, but he was also committed to the Lord and quick to repent when he failed. He seemed to be the unofficial leader of the twelve. Because of his impulsive nature, it isn’t surprising that Peter was the one who asked the Lord if he could walk on the water to meet Him.
It had already been a long day when the disciples got into the boat to cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had ministered to the multitudes and then fed them by multiplying five loaves and two fishes. He sent the disciples on ahead while He remained behind to disperse the crowd and then spend time alone in prayer. Now, the evening is past and it’s the fourth watch of the night (between 3:00 AM and 6:00 AM). The disciples have yet to reach land because “the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary” (Matthew 14:24, NKJV). After many long hours of struggle, the men were exhausted and frightened.
Then, Jesus came walking on the water toward them. Now they were really afraid and thought He was a ghost until He called out, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
Impetuous Peter threw out this challenge, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And the Lord said, “Come.”
Remember, conditions were not the best.
- It was night.
- It was stormy—frighteningly so.
- Humans aren’t known for their water-walking ability.
- Water-walking causes wet feet.
None of this stopped Peter. He clambered out of the boat and began to walk on the water. (Wouldn’t you love to have seen the expression on the eleven’s faces!) Take note. Jesus was nearby, but the storm still raged. (That happens.) Peter was not walking on water as smooth as a sidewalk. This was moving, churning, wind-whipped water. He must have struggled to keep his balance as he moved across the angry waves toward Jesus.
And then he looked down at his wet feet!
Peter’s faith failed him; fear overwhelmed him. He cried out to Jesus as he began to go under. “And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’” (verse 31). When Jesus and Peter stepped into the ship, the wind immediately ceased.
Sometimes, to get to Jesus we must get our feet wet. We’ve got to step out of the boat, and that’s scary. It takes faith. It means we look up to Jesus, not down at our feet. It means trusting He will catch us if we begin to flounder. Fear will get more than our feet wet. We will become completely drenched if fear takes over.
Faith means taking the first step. And the next. And the next. Faith moves us forward one step at a time. At least Peter got out of the boat. The others didn’t even attempt it. Fear held them back from a great adventure with the Lord. God has great things awaiting each of us if we are willing to get out of the boat and take that first step of faith. And then another, and another.
Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet. Just keep your eyes on Jesus as you walk.
Lord, give me the boldness to step out of the boat and come to You! Let my faith overcome my fear.