Remarkable Faith

Peter walked on water.  But he sank so big deal right?  Well, he did get out of the boat so that’s got to be worth something right.  But he sank so whatever. But at least he tried, didn’t he? But he sank so let’s move on.

I’ve recently been preaching in church from some of my favorite stories in the bible.  These are some of the stories that we’ve learned in Sunday School since we were old enough to walk.  As a result, I tend to shy away from these stories because I’ve preached them before. In addition, there’s a good chance the people I’m ministering to have heard them before and we’re always supposed to have something new and original to share right?  Wrong. So I’ve been taking a fresh look at some of these stories that I have overlooked.

Who isn’t familiar with the story of Peter walking on the water?  No hands? For the purpose of this blog I’m not going to retell the whole story in great detail.  Suffice it to say that Jesus came to the disciple walking on the water. Peter asks if he can come out of the boat and also walk on the water to which Jesus says, “yes”.  Peter actually begins walking on the water but when he sees that he’s surrounded by a storm he begins to panic and starts to sink. He cries out to Jesus who comes to his rescue and then asks Peter why he doubted which was apparently the cause of his failure.  Poor Peter.

Here’s are a few reasons why I think that Peter is a pretty remarkable disciple.  First of all, he asked God for something insane! Who thinks about doing something so miraculous just because Jesus is able to do it?  The utter imagination that it takes to think of such a request is nothing short of remarkable. Remember, they were in the midst of a storm and had it been me I would have asked Jesus to stop the storm.  I would prayed for safety rather than asking Jesus to enable me to do something that puts my life in greater jeopardy! But this is just the kind of prophetic imagination that we all ought to have. We serve a creative God and yet we tend to only ask Him to do what He’s already done.  If He can truly do more than we can every ask or think then we’ve got to ask or think better. Because remember, none of the other disciples asked and none of the other disciples got to walk on water even if only for a moment.

Secondly, Peter actually got out of the boat.  He called God’s bluff and proceeded, at God’s allowance, to do something that hadn’t been done by anyone else.  Can you just imagine the willpower it had to take for him to something that with every step his mind was telling him that this was impossible and yet he would find himself standing on a firm foundation.  However, that fear would have to be overcome each time he placed all of his weight on the the front foot to take another step on a this moving water and yet still finding the a solid foundation to land upon.  It had to be a stressful exercise in faith. Each step required greater faith than the former. The faith required to get out the boat was one thing but every moment of this experience challenged Peter’s belief in everything he believed was true and to continue to believe God’s word over rational thought.

Finally, he begins to sink.  When he saw the storm it became too much for his mind to overcome.  Walking on water in the middle of the night in the midst of a storm.  But we should give some credit because at least he gave it a shot right?  Right. We should cut him a break but not just for his getting out of the boat but for what he did when he began to sink.  He cried out to Jesus! Now at first glance we may think that calling out to Jesus was his only option but remember, he also had the disciples and the boat that he could have turned to.  But he understood that it was better to be with Jesus, even on the water in the midst of a storm, then within the safety of a boat.

Choose Jesus.  Always. Above all other options always choose Jesus.