Immediately after Jesus' miracle of feeding five thousand people with only five loaves and two fish, He sent the disciples back to their boat instructing them to go on ahead of Him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. After Jesus dismissed the crowd, He went up on the mountain alone to pray.
Matthew 14:24,25 tells us that by the fourth watch of the night (3-6 A.M.), the disciple's boat was far away from land and was being tossed around by the wind and waves. It was during that late hour that Jesus went out to them walking on the water.
In the pre-dawn darkness, Matt. 14:26-29 goes on to say that the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water near them. They had never seen anything like that before and it scared them half to death. The disciples cried out in fear, for they thought they were seeing a ghost.
In order to soothe the frazzled nerves of everyone on board, Jesus quickly called out to them. The conversation went something like this: "Hey guys, calm down! Don't be afraid! It's Me ... Jesus!" At that point Peter said, "Lord, is that really You? If it is, then tell me to come over where You are on the water." Jesus' reply to him was, "Sure Peter ... come on over here."
Obedient to his Master's call, we can visualize Peter in our mind as he quickly sat down on the side rail of the boat. Then, with absolutely no hesitation, he swung his legs over the side and jumped down onto the water not into the water, but onto the water! With his eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, Peter began walking toward his Lord - leaving behind only shallow footprints on the water's surface.
Now, what do you suppose the other disciples thought as they watched that miracle take place right in front of them? Perhaps their eyes were as big as saucers when, instead of seeing their friend jump to a watery death as they had expected, they saw Peter land softly on the water and begin to walk leaving a trail of footprints as he responded to Jesus' call.
Just try to imagine the unwavering faith that Peter must have had in Jesus to do what he did. The obedience and trust shown by him at that moment is almost more than we can imagine. How genuine and sincere is our faith? Like Peter's footprints on the water, is our faith a visible and evident testimony of our daily walk with the Lord to all those who are watching us?
It would have been impossible for Peter to walk on the water using his own determination. He had no power over the water. Peter's ability to do what he did could only come from the Lord. Through an extraordinary measure of faith and trust, Peter received a victory in Jesus that he could not have achieved by himself. When he responded to his Master's call, he didn't hesitate, he didn't question it, he didn't think about it, and he didn't assess the danger. He never said, "Wow, I sure hope I can do this." His focus was clearly on Jesus, and on Him alone. As long as Peter's eyes were intently fixed on his Savior and Lord, the raging sea with its dangers all around him was simply not an obstacle.
However, Peter was only human and, therefore, was vulnerable to many of the same fears, doubts, and temptations that we face each day. During his walk on the water, Peter became distracted by the storm around him and took his eyes off Jesus. He had suddenly become aware of the strong wind producing angry waves that churned all around him on the dark water. Peter felt insecure and threatened by the imminent danger, and began to fear for his life.
During the brief moment when Peter's eyes were turned away from Jesus, his focus was on the world around him. He had failed to continue leaning on the Lord for strength and guidance when confronted with adversity. Peter's faith and trust in his Master had wavered. His once clear footprints of faith had vanished swallowed up by the swirling waves. As a result of Peter's distraction, doubt, and mistrust, Scripture records in Matt. 14:30 that he began to sink into the watery depths. Realizing that he was about to perish in the storm, Peter reached out to Jesus and screamed, "Lord, save me!"
The Bible tells us in Matt. 14:31 NKJV that Jesus immediately stretched out His hand and caught Peter saying, "O You of little faith, why did you doubt?" Matthew 14:32,33 goes on to say that when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God."
Attempts by us to leave faith footprints on our pathway of life will be futile until we repent and allow Jesus to come into our life - placing our complete faith and trust in Him. Ephesians 2:8,9 teaches that it is by grace through faith alone we are saved, not as a result of anything we might do to merit salvation. Hebrews 12:2a says we must look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 11:6a reminds us that without faith it is impossible to please Him. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 5:7 that we walk by faith, not by sight.
When Peter's faith and trust faltered, he reached out in desperation to the only One Who could save him the One Who could lift him up and out of the raging sea. As it was with Peter, we also must realize our hopeless condition, and cry out to Jesus for our help and strength. We must say, "Lord, help me! I'm lost without You! I'm so sorry for all I have done! I need You in my life now! Lord, save me!"
Just as He has promised, Jesus will reach out with His loving arms to take us by the hand and bring us safely to Him. When we place our complete faith and trust in Jesus, we will have a personal relationship with Him. We will pray and find comfort in Him. He will provide a safe haven for us during the times of storms in our life. Through His Word and by His Holy Spirit indwelling in us, our faith will be strengthened and will grow. Jesus will be our friend, our guide, our Savior, our Lord and Master, and our Blessed Hope.
Although we may never be called to walk on the water in faith as Peter did, our walk with the Lord from day to day will leave visible footprints of our faith as a witness to others all for His honor and glory. We are saved by faith alone, we live by faith in Him, and by faith we will have everlasting victory in Jesus!
Father I thank You for this powerful account from Your Word of Peter's faith and the lessons to be learned from it. There are many times that I also have taken my eyes off You. Lord, forgive me for doing that. Forgive me for not always relying on You for my strength, knowing that You are the source of my strength; for not always trusting in Your promises, knowing that Your Word is Truth; and for not always depending on You in all things of my life, knowing that You alone are able to provide abundantly. Help me Father, to always keep my eyes focused on You and Your Word. Help me to erase any doubts from my mind, and to not be distracted by the world around me. Instill in me a measure of faith that is unshakeable and pleasing to You. I long to do Your Will and be closer to You, O Lord, for I love You. I pray this and ask it in the precious, matchless Name of Jesus Amen!
During retirement, my prayer is that I might serve the Lord by sharing the Gospel through my writing. As the Lord leads, my work will inform, challenge and encourage. I also enjoy Biblical theme woodcarving, Bible studies and Christian music. Watch, pray and keep looking up!
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