by Jesse L. Smith
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“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes…” –Romans 1:16
The disciples were helpless to make any progress on the sea of Galilee as the wind blew contrary to the direction they were sailing and waves knocked the small ship back and forth. Mariners have often been prey to various superstitions as life threatening conditions like these only serve to amplify their fears and over sensitize their perceptions. There as the waves sprayed onto the ship’s deck the disciples discerned a lone figure slightly luminous standing out in the darkness of the waters. Seized with terror they screamed ‘it is a spirit!’ Seeking to ease their apprehension, Jesus spoke to them from the water in His reassuring way, ‘Be of good cheer; It is I; be not afraid.’ Peter had no doubts about the Power of the Lord Jesus, and decided that if it really was Jesus out there – then His power would keep him above the waves if He called him out onto the water. Peter answered Jesus, “Lord, if it be you, bid me come out to you on the water.” When Jesus said ‘Come’, that was all Peter needed to step overboard.
When Peter stepped out onto the water he knew that no power of his own could keep him afloat – but his confidence was in the Power of the Lord Jesus. As long as Peter kept his eyes on the Source of that Power, the surface of the water beneath him remained taught and supported his weight. This didn’t come as a surprise to Peter because he knew that Jesus was the Son of God and could do anything He wanted to. Peter happily began to approach Jesus when a giant wave distracted him from Jesus and he thought in his heart, ‘what am I doing out here… I can’t do this!’ and immediately the water’s surface beneath him began to lose tension and gave way to Peter’s weight. Consumed with terror Peter cried out to Jesus ‘Lord, save me!’ Jesus grabbed Peter’s hand and a surge of Power brought Peter back to the surface like an elevator and He said, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’
The life of every believer is exactly like that of Peter stepping overboard to follow Jesus. Coming to Jesus we leave behind an old life that was previously our source of security. Like Peter we don’t step out to meet Jesus through confidence in our own power, but through faith in His. As long as we remain aboard the ship that was our old life His power is ineffective in us, but is activated the moment we decide to step overboard and do the impossible. Stepping overboard however is just the beginning of a life of faith, and it is out on the water where God teaches us to live by faith in Jesus. As long as we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, His power enables us to do what was impossible for us to do before – but every now and then we get distracted by big waves! Jesus is always there to rescue us when we turn our eyes away from Him, and He knows that we are weak and powerless ourselves. To repent from sin is to fix our eyes back on Jesus, and decide to keep walking on the water.
The Source of our power as believers is Jesus – and it is through Him that we learn to live every day of our lives. Growing in our faith is really about being continually captivated by the One who has saved us from an old unstable life. In Jesus’ days on earth there were many who were jealous of His Power and wanted to know how they also could do the things He did. They asked Him, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” They believed like many today that the power to work miracles is somehow innate in our fallen human condition, and that it could be activated through discipline. Jesus’ answer displeased them as he said, “This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he has sent.” –John 6:29 Jesus wasn’t some highly trained mystic whose powers we can all attain to by works – He is our Lord and Savior. The beginning and end of our salvation is only through faith in Him.
The power of the Lord Jesus is available to everyone who will believe on His name. Don’t be afraid that you will not be able to live the life that Jesus is calling you to – because Jesus already knows you can’t! Put your faith in Him, and like Peter you will find yourself walking on the water – and having the greatest adventure of your life.
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