“Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” ‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down” (Matthew 14:25-32).

In our passage, Peter does something crazy. Instead of offering Jesus a ride to shore, he says, “If it’s you, call me to come to You on the water.” Peter wants Jesus’ presence in his problem. He wants to participate in the miracle. You can imagine Jesus smiling, “Come.” So Peter gets out and with laser beam focus on Jesus, walks on the water to his Lord. But then, a strong gust of wind and splash of water brings Peter back to reality. “I’m walking on water in the midst of a storm. This is impossible.” And the moment his eyes focused on the storm instead of Jesus, he began to sink. He cried out, “Save me, Lord!” Jesus stretched out His hand and grabbed Peter. This is all happening while the storm is swirling around them.
We criticize Peter for taking his eyes off Jesus and sinking, but at least he got out of the boat. This is challenging for Americans, where the #1 selling chair is the Lazy Boy. We like to “veg out” in front of the T.V. and we have a term for that: coach potatoes. The 11 who stayed in the boat were boat potatoes. They didn’t want to take a risk and trust their Lord. We have churches full of people like this: pew potatoes. They are people whose faith is little more than spiritual padding to add comfort to their lives. I’m sure your life is fairly comfortable, which is a gift from God, but we need some “water walkers” today.

Fear cripples us: fear of circumstances, people, the unknown. It holds Christians back, and so we live in captivity. Life is for living. Christianity is an adventure with the living God. None of the others asked to join Jesus. You never get what you want from God if you do not believe enough to ask for it. Others walk on water, experiencing amazing “God moments.” Step out with the Lord and see His power released in your life and all around us! Some point out that Peter sank. Yes, but Peter knows what it is like to be gripped by God when we are sinking. We all fail at some point. When Peter got into the boat, the wind died down. And the disciples worshipped Him: “Surely You are the Son of God.” Maybe it’s time we get our heads straight about Jesus. “He is the image of the invisible God, for by Him all things were created and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:15-17). You have been claimed by God, who loves you personally. If things are falling apart, He’s what holds you together.
So, who is in your boat? Jesus will climb into yours and bring peace to your worries, calm in your storms. We’ve all been in peril on the seas of life. Jesus calms the storms. You might be in some choppy waters and Jesus is asking you to step out. Don’t wait for your ship to come in; swim out to Him! God is with us—do not fear!

Adapted from “It Happened on the Sea” by Rev. Dr. William A. Lewis