Verse: “Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water. And He said, ‘Come!’ And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’” Matthew 14: 28-30
I use to have a seminary professor that would say, “There is a Peter inside each of us.” Peter was daring. He often acted before thinking. He was enthusiastic, a common trait among those entering into ministry to serve the Lord. In the end, Peter also became a fearless evangelist (Acts 2:41-42). After Pentecost he exhibited a great passion for the Gospel, one all pastors should seek to portray.
However, there were plenty of downfalls in Peter’s life. The Apostle infamously denied Jesus three times before the rooster crowed (Matthew 26:34). Contradicting our Christian convictions is another commonality we are all guilty of. Yet even before his failure in not publicly claiming Jesus, Peter was selfish and often a coward.
Last night, we discussed the disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat, when a storm arrived. Jesus appeared to the men walking on the water approximately 3 miles out in the fourth watch, between the hours of 3 am and 6 am.
Here are a few facts you need to know concerning this passage:
- The Book of Matthew was written by Matthew for a Jewish audience, who believed in Jesus as the Messiah. Christ is King is a common main theme found throughout this book.
- The Book of Mark was written by John Mark, the cousin of Barnabas and close friend of Peter. This Gospel was scribed for a Roman Christian audience living in Rome. This book focuses on Jesus’ ministry and works through the three and a half year period. A primary theme throughout this text is Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Servant who performed miracles.
- If you ever wonder why one Gospel may contain info that another one leaves out, this is why. Each book is written to a different audience for a differing purpose; therefore, the critical ideas were prioritized for that appropriate culture the writer was addressing. Some audiences cared about certain things, others did not. Furthermore, the author’s purpose for writing varied. For instance Luke wrote to address the importance of prayer, generosity and ethical demands of Christians. Conversely, John analyzed the key events in Jesus’ life. His writings centered on Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Risen Savior, where eternal life is found.
Matthew 14:22-36 is the exact same story as found in Mark 6: 45-52. Except this passage records Peter’s attempt to step out of the boat. The Apostle boldly offers to walk on water to meet Jesus. “…Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’” (vs. 30)
However, in the end, his faith was lacking. “This is a wonderful picture of walking in faith, showing that Peter was able to do the miraculous as long as he looked at Jesus. When he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was troubled by fear and began to sink.” David Guzik
Too often, we scrutinize over the chaos in our lives rather than Jesus Christ Himself. Consequently, like Peter we begin to sink in the water. Where there is a lack of faith in God’s sovereignty, downfall will occur in the Christian life. Despite the winds or rains, a Christ Follower must focus on the Son of Man at all times. He is the Perfector of our faith who endured the Cross. As such, we can stay the course and not grow weary or fainthearted, (Hebrews 12: 1-3) when the storms arise.
Jesus reached down and grabbed Peter’s hand. He said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (vs. 31) This is a question that has been whispered in my ears too many times to count. I often recall the story found in Mark 9: 14-29. A father brought his possessed son to Jesus for healing. “All things are possible to him who believes,” Christ declared. I love the dad’s response. He was very genuine in saying, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” No fake piety there, only authenticity.
When fears arise and you begin to sink into the ocean waters, pray over Mark 9:24. “Father, I do believe; Help my unbelief.” Regardless of the chaos or turmoil stirring…gaze only upon The Cross of Christ, where victory can always be found.
Pentecost– This is a term which means fiftieth, applied to the fiftieth day after the Passover. In the New Testament this term represents the coming of the Holy Spirit and beginning of The Church (Acts 2 and 11).
Quote: “Faith, as Paul saw it, was a living, flaming thing leading to surrender and obedience to the commandments of Christ.” A.W. Tozer
Additional Readings: Matthew 14, Mark 9, Acts 2, Hebrews 12
Prayer: Father God I pray for a courageous faith. Help me keep my eyes focused on You even amidst the storm. Strengthen me Lord. I do believe Lord. Help my unbelief. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.