Imagine the fear of the disciples when the storm started. They’re on the boat, their teacher is on dry land somewhere in the mountains praying, there seems no hope. This could be it. Suddenly, they see something coming towards them on the water. Yes, ON the water. Terrified is how the Bible describes their feelings but I do not think that word justifies the truth. “IT’S A GHOST!”, says one of the disciples. They all start running towards the other end of the boat away from whatever it is that is coming. But in an instant, they hear a recognisable voice; “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid”. Peter’s eyes lit up! He knew that voice. It’s the only person that he knows who could save them. The only person who could deliver them from this storm. Peter says, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”. Bit of an interesting thing to say, especially in a moment when you’re in danger. Would you not want to ask Jesus to save you? Nevertheless, Jesus tells Peter to come. Peter takes those first few steps on the water and, believe it or not, Peter too is walking on water! However, Peter is suddenly reminded of the storm and he begins to sink. “Lord save me!”, he cries. He feels the water on his upper body now and realises he’s in serious danger! A hand then grabs hold of his arm and pulls him back up. “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”, Jesus tells him. He helps Peter back on the boat and he too gets on and in that moment, the wind stopped. The disciples suddenly realise the power Jesus has and worship him saying, “Truly you are the Son of God”.
I love this story. If you want something to remind you of the difficulties of life, then look no further. We’ve all heard this story being told in Sunday school or even in school itself. If you haven’t then I’d recommend reading it, it’s great! I was reminded of it today when walking along the coast to Broadstairs and was blown away (no pun intended) by the strength of the wind causing waves in the sea which was crashing against the cliffs. It was a great sight! This must have been similar to the situation the disciples were in when this happened. The only difference was that it was dark so I am sure the disciples were scared!
What struck me the most in this story was not the fact that Jesus walked on water, but instead, Peter’s first question. “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water”. When in danger, my first thought is not to endanger myself even further, but instead, to cry for help. Peter’s response shows his trust in the Lord. The wind may have billowed and the waves may have been crashing against the boat, but Peter’s eyes were fixated on Jesus. The wind was no longer a danger until he remembered it. When he took his eyes off Jesus, he entered back into the danger and needed rescuing again. I would love to dive further into this theologically but instead I want to leave your thoughts lingering on this passage and see what you get from it. It can be so easy to go straight past this story having heard it many times. Why not read it verse by verse? This story has so many hidden gems!
And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God” – Matthew 14:33