Jesus walked out on the water,
said take courage, it is me.
Peter trusted and he wanted to go further,
so he stepped out on the sea.
If I keep my eyes on Jesus, I can walk on water.
Just like Peter I want to go further,
tread on the sea and walk on the water,
step where He steps and go where He goes,
side by side when the sea billows roll,
it’ll be all right when the wind comes,
be all right when the waves come crashing,
I’m not afraid, no, no,
for this is my Father’s world.
Audio Adrenaline “Walk on Water”
To me, this is the basis of the Christian life. If we keep our focus on Jesus, we can do anything. We are safe, whether the sea billows roll, wind comes, waves are crashing, nothing matters if we are focused, intently focused on Jesus.
“The boat was by this time out on the sea, many furlongs (a furlong is about 1/8 of a mile) distant from the land, beaten and tossed by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch (between 3:00 and 6:00 a.m.) of the night, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified and said, “It is a ghost!” And then screamed out with fright. But instantly He spoke to them, saying, “Take courage! I AM! Stop being afraid!” And Peter answered Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” He said “Come!” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and he came toward Jesus. But when he perceived and felt the strong wind, he was frightened, and as he began to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me (from death)!” Instantly Jesus reached out His hand and caught and held him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat knelt and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God!” Matthew 14:24-33
There are times in my life when I feel like my boat is being tossed by the waves and the wind is against me. When struggles come, it is never just one thing that I have to deal with, it is always several. Just like the disciples, they were being tossed around and the wind was against them, but on the 4th watch Jesus came walking across the water to their boat. What strikes me, is that Jesus waited until the 4th watch, He had been on the shore praying, He knew what the weather was like and yet He waited until the 4th watch to go to them. We need to never give up hope, Jesus will come to us, but it will be in His time. His time is perfect, there are times that He allows us to be in the storm for awhile. I imagine that the disciples were not just sitting in the boat and waiting for Jesus to come, I think that they were busy trying to save themselves. Busy trying to steady the boat and to navigate through the waves to shore. Probably by the time the 4th watch came, they were pretty exhausted, they had been fighting this storm for quite some time, and the waves were beating against them.
We need to remember that right before the disciples got into the boat, they had just witnessed and been a part of a tremendous miracle. Jesus had just fed 5,000 men, not including women and children with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish and they had 12 baskets full of the broken pieces left over! Now, here they are, many hours later and they are fighting the weather in the boat.
When the disciples saw Jesus coming toward them on the water, they thought that it was a ghost. They didn’t even think that Jesus could possibly be out there walking, they thought that it must be a ghost, it couldn’t be a person, they started screaming! Jesus called out to them to calm them and told them to take courage, I AM! Well, it seems that they still had some doubts, so leave it to Peter to speak up. Peter called out to Jesus and asked Jesus to make it possible for him to walk out to Jesus. Sure enough, Jesus commanded Peter to join Him on the sea.
The words of the song, “Peter wanted to go further, so he stepped out on the sea”. I love that, I want to go further, but it’s not going to happen in the safety of the boat. The other disciples, even though the boat was rocking and they were afraid, they chose to be in the boat rather than take their chances on the water with Jesus. Like the title of John Ortberg’s latest book “If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have to Get Out of the Boat”. Jesus calls us to go further, to come out on the water with Him. It requires trust and faith to take that step, a knowing that anything and everything is possible if we are in joint partnership with Jesus.
When we do muster up our faith and step out of the boat, just like Peter, we still need to keep our eyes on Jesus, more than ever we have to hold that focus. If we don’t, the things around us may appear very large and frightening. Peter looked around, he lost his focus on Jesus for just a moment and that’s all it took. He saw the large waves, he felt the strong wind, he was frightened and he began to sink. That’s what will happen to us if we break our focus on Jesus for just one moment, we will start to sink.
Jesus is there for us when we sink, and all we have to do is get our eyes back on Him and call out to Him and He will stretch out His hand, catch us and hold us. For it is a promise that when we seek Him, and we seek Him with our whole heart, we will find Him. I find much comfort in that.
(C) Deb Nelson
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