Jesus is absolutely stunning. One of the things I’m always left with when I read the Scriptures is how amazing He is. He isn’t just awesome for the fact that He is God. He isn’t just incredible because He lived the perfect life none of the rest of us can. All those things are true. But what is more mind-boggling are the numerous opportunities He gives us to be part of something great, with the heavy lifting being done primarily by Him. He trusts us when we don’t trust ourselves. He has confidence in us when we are bundles of nerves and unsure of anything. He encourages us; He pushes us forward; He supports us. And that’s what we see in today’s miracle:
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
– Matthew 14:22-33, ESV
My immediate reaction would have been similar to the disciples. If I saw something walking on the water, I wouldn’t have guessed it was my mentor and leader. I don’t believe there is another instance of walking on the water throughout all of Scripture. So it would not been something to which I would have said, “Oh, yeah, that must just be Jesus.” I would have been just as fearful as the guys in the boat. However, notice that Jesus comforted them. He announced Himself and asked them to not be afraid. All better, right? Put yourself in their shoes. Would you have immediately believed it was Jesus? Likely not. Neither would I. So Peter finds a little courage. Look at his request. And look at who must do the heavy lifting. Peter put the onus on Jesus to make it happen. God walking on water? Okay, that’s fine. Man walking on water without special gear? Are you serious? Absolutely. If the figure was Jesus, He had the power to make Peter’s water walking happen.
Jesus’ response is simple and to the point, “Come.” That’s all He needed to say. He was telling Peter he could do this. He was telling Peter that this seemingly impossible task was very, very possible. He was telling Peter to try something Peter knew he couldn’t do on his own power. That meant Jesus was confident about providing the rest. Peter bought in, if only for a few steps, and he walked on the water. Why? Because Jesus was there to encourage him and to give him the ability to do it. Jesus offers us the same thing. He can and will call us to things bigger than we are, if we are yielded. If we trust Him and depend on Him, not only will we be called, but we will be also able to see whatever it is to the completion of our parts. It may not be something we can handle on our own, but we can be sure that even if it isn’t, Jesus can and will help us.
But Jesus didn’t stop there. Peter stopped focusing on Jesus and got caught up in the power of the wind. He began to sink and cried out. What did Jesus do? He reached out and took Peter’s hand. And then the two of them walked back to the boat. Now Peter got a gentle rebuke. But it wasn’t a tongue lashing. It was a simple question that pointed to the issue: Peter lost sight because he needed more faith. That statement was bigger than this one event. Jesus knew the role Peter would play in the formation of the Body of Christ. Peter needed more faith. But with the simple question Jesus was done with the rebuke. God is the same way with us. When He calls us to His work, He gives us a chance. if we look away, if we don’t depend on our faith in Him, we may falter, just as Peter did. But Christ deals with us gently. He wants us to grow in faith. He wants us to understand that truly nothing is impossible with Him. What is in your life that looks like a huge mountain that you know Jesus? Has Jesus asked you to tackle it? What’s holding you back? If Jesus is wanting you to go after it, He will be there encouraging and supporting you the whole time.