Thursday, January 19, 2012


My first attempt to walk on water was when I was about 8 years old. Our family was camping along the Little Deschutes River. My Dad and I were fishing—he was a ways downstream from me. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but somehow I fell into the river. I can vaguely remember still how I frantically tried to resist the current—but I didn’t know how to swim. Fortunately, my Dad wasn’t too far away and he somehow managed to pluck me from the river. I wasn’t really trying to walk on water, but that experience comes to mind as I read this account. Generally speaking, human beings sink in water.

The disciples were in a boat and quite a distance from land. The wind was contrary and the waves were battering their vessel (Matthew 14:24). In the wee hours of the morning Jesus came to them, “walking on the sea” (14:25). They, being fishermen, had no doubt seen a lot of things in their days at sea—but they had never before seen anything like that. They were frightened, thinking Him to be a ghost, and they cried out in fear (14:26).

“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” He said (14:27). So many fears come our way and in so many ways. They are “God-sent” inasmuch that we might “heart-sent” to find courage in the Courageous One. He knew no fear. He was strong and brave in the face of every challenge. He has unlimited resources and compassion to grant courage to our timid hearts. If it is courage we need, then it is to Him we must go.

Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water” (14:28). Peter was typically the one who was first to speak. His request was immediately granted: “And He said, ‘Come!’” (14:29). And Peter walked on water. He was enabled by Jesus to do what he otherwise could never do. Human beings generally sink. Peter was walking on the water without sinking. Jesus is able to empower us to do things that we could never do otherwise. Apart from Him we are bound by natural laws and can only rise to the limits of our human potential. In Him there is supernatural power that transcends our understanding. That power is at work in the life of the believer: “He is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Ephesians 3:20; Cf. Philippians 4:13).

“But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” (14:30). It is at this point in the account that Peter’s actions give rise to criticism. He started out to well, but then he faltered. But Peter’s actions are to be commended, not condemned. He is, after all, the only disciple who was willing to get out of the boat. He began to sink as he took his eyes off the Lord. And so it is in life. We are left with two choices in the midst of our trials and troubles. What will keep our focus—our circumstances or our Lord? Big waves and contrary winds are ever apparent. They threaten to undo us. They sometimes overwhelm us. They cry out for our attention. Left to ourselves we have not the resources to make our way through them. If we are to make our way we must make our way by faith. Trust in Jesus is the only way. He has resources that far outweigh our own. Peter made progress as long as he kept his focus on the Savior. We must do the same! It is as we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, that we endure (Hebrews 12:1-2). Lord, put blinders about my wandering eyes that my gaze might be affixed on You!


O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Pastor Jerry

No comments: